I always have been. When teachers asked us to write stories for class, most of the kids were asking how long it HAD to be, but my question usually was, "How long CAN it be?" I'm not a short story person. I have long plots that occasionally don't quite have an ending, but generally there's a vague idea in there.
So, when I was writing this most recent book, I was trying to figure out the stopping point for the first book. I wanted it to have a good conclusion, so if people wanted to stop after the first one, they would still feel like there was a resolution to conflict. However, I wanted the book to be really exciting, and, in my head, the real excitement only began after a certain point.
However, when looking up the word length for Harry Potter to see how long J. K. Rowling's first book was, I came across the following article that made a huge impact on my decision:
|Word Count and Story Length|
Basically, the article states that a huge reason that many stories are rejected by publishers and agents is the simple fact that the stories are too long.
He gave this simple guide for story length:
- Short-short stories are under 2,500 words.
- Short stories can range from 2,500 to 7,500 words.
- Novellettes are from 7,500 to 20,000 words.
- Novellas are from 20,000 to 50,000 words.
- Novels are from 70,000 to 90,000 words.
Reading that, I quickly looked at my word count.I was at about 55,000 words. I was close to long enough where I was. That helped me pick my stopping point, and it wasn't where I had originally expected it to be, However, the more that I am writing to that goal, the more that I like this new stopping point.
It makes the first book about character development and relations while still providing plenty of action. I'm really enjoying how it is going. I'm not finished yet, but the goal is not too far away.
If you're struggling to publish, take a look at your word-count. As the author of the article says,
Beginning writers usually create a story that's just too long for a novel. But rejection letters rarely explain the reason the agent isn't interested in representing your work. Writers usually forget to think about how long the story needs to be. After all, agents won't bother trying to sell something that the publishers won't buy. Most of the time, the manuscript is too long.There are exceptions to this, of course, but in general the first novels of established authors are much shorter than their subsequent novels. After they're established and have an audience, then they can go longer.
Hopefully this helps someone else. It sure helped me.
Good luck, writer friends. I'm praying for you!