The Last, Definitive Word On Word Count

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! For some reason, I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot of talk lately about word counts. Perhaps it’s to do with NaNoWriMo approaching and everyone focusing on that crazy 50K-words-in-one-month goal? I’m not sure. Whatever the reason for the sudden hype, I think discussing the subject of word count is important.

word-countNow, do I think watching your word count every second of every draft is necessary? No. In fact, I strongly urge you against it. The more you focus on your word count, the less you focus on your story. However, watching your word count at certain points during the writing process–particularly editing–is important. Why? Because you don’t want to try and pitch your 140K YA novel to an agent. That’s just begging for rejection.

So what should a YA novel’s word count be? Or a thriller’s? Or another genre’s? Find out in today’s gem, courtesy of literary agent, Janet Reid. She gives us a quick, general breakdown of word count expectations, and what you should aim for when finalizing your manuscript.

The Last, Definitive Word On Word Count

Here’s the rundown:
Sweeping, epic fantasy: 150K at a minimum. You can’t do it right in less.
Sweeping, epic, historical fiction: 120 at a minimum. More is better.

Science fiction novels: 75-125K

Romance novels:65-100K
Womens’ fiction: 100K and up

To read the entire article and see all the genres, click here!

For more useful advice, follow Janet Reid on Twitter!

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Guess what day it is? That’s right! It’s Flash Fiction Friday! And, as usual, this week’s challenge comes from one of my favorite blogs, Terribleminds.


Gander upon the list of 20 subgenres below. Roll a d20 or fiddle with your favorite random number generator and choose two subgenres.
From there, write ~1000 word short story that mashes up both.
Post at your online space. Link back here so we can read!
Due by next Friday, November 1st. Noon EST.

It pains me to pass this challenge up. But with NaNo and the second round of the Flash Fiction Challenge 2013 one week away, I’ve gotta conserve my energy and use all my free time to finish chores and eliminate distractions. If I have any hope of finishing November’s creative marathon, I need to prepare physically and mentally (aka, relax for a few days!).

But, as always, I strongly encourage you to enter. And if you want to share your entry’s link in the comments section below, please do! We’d all love to read it!

For more information about Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge, click here!

Confession: I don’t know what genre I write

Recently, I was talking to a friend about my writing and they asked me, “So, what genre do you like to write?”

And I froze!

funny-sarcastic-shirtsYeah, I know. It shouldn’t be that hard of a question to answer. But asking me what specific genre I like to write is like asking me what my favorite book is–it’s impossible to choose a single one. So, I told my friend that I like to write YA. And she accepted that answer, even though I knew it was a total copout response. YA is an umbrella genre that encompasses multiple sub genres: fantasy, sci-fi, comedy, drama, dystopian, new age, thriller, romance, suspense, historical fiction, horror…The list goes on and on.

And I get both exhilarated and overwhelmed by that list. There’s so many awesome topics to write about, so many interesting concepts to pursue, so many twists and turns to take! To pigeonhole myself into one specific sub-genre is unthinkable. Heck, even cornering myself into YA is alarming. What if I want to try writing a children’s book? Or what if I want to take a dip in the adult pool someday? It’s a long life. Things change. People change. Imaginations change!

4133e3820a69cbf65fc56f77d41b24a5A writer’s mind is like a jungle: untamed, tangled and adventurous. Ideas can come in the blink of an eye. Characters announce themselves without warning–some with a shy whisper, others with a victorious scream. Conflicts and solutions sprout up out of nowhere. Vivid scenes creep out of the dark. Brand new, unexplored worlds form, and those worlds come in all shapes and sizes: funny, tragic, terrifying or even confusing. All genres live in the wild mind of a writer, waiting to roar and spring forth!

93f86c08a7022e14e30bb2b2a6f72377Now, do I think most writers have a specific genre that they’re strongest at? Yes. And do I think those strengths will be the ones that lead to success? Probably. But, do I think any of that should stop a writer from exploring other genres? No! Writers are creative souls. We don’t just want to stretch our wings. We need to. And none of us should be categorized–not by others, and especially not by ourselves.

No matter if it’s a mystery, horror or romantic comedy, a story is a story. And when a story demands to be told, it’s the writer’s job to tell it (or rather, show it ;-)). We are the mind’s translator–the catalyst that unites imagination with paper. So, the next time you ask me what genre I like to write, I’ll likely tell you, “I write whatever my imagination tells me to.”

How about you? Do you consider yourself a one-genre specified writer? Or do you like the freedom to hop around like me?