Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » length

   
Author Topic: length
MDBHarlan
Member
Member # 9557

 - posted      Profile for MDBHarlan   Email MDBHarlan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
At the risk of sounding like that kid in class who always asked "how long does it have to be?"....
Are there any general guidelines for getting published with regards to length? I write mostly YA and haven't yet taken to (the) plunge for sending things in. At what point is a story too short or too long to be considered?

Edited for punctuation because I forgot how to use a question mark
[This message has been edited by MDBHarlan (edited July 15, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by MDBHarlan (edited July 15, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by MDBHarlan (edited July 15, 2011).]


Posts: 55 | Registered: Jun 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
We're talking novels here, right?

There are few hard and fast rules.

For YA, I would usually shoot for around 70,000 to 75,000 words. (My SEVEN STARS is actually under at 67,000. How did that happen?) Middle grade, around 50,000 to 55,000. (My MAGE STORM is 56,000.)

But there are exceptions.


Posts: 4377 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
mrmeadors
Member
Member # 6378

 - posted      Profile for mrmeadors   Email mrmeadors         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Agent Kristin Nelson said in a workshop on writing YA sf and fantasy that YA, according to her, should be about 75k in length. That's about average.
Posts: 223 | Registered: Sep 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Wordcaster
Member
Member # 9183

 - posted      Profile for Wordcaster   Email Wordcaster         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is kind of lame advice, but questions of length seem to be the most popular.

Another thing you can do is think of maybe 2-3 books that your work is most like (modern titles). Then you can do a web search on the title and "word count." There are variations in word counts depending on genre and sub-age groups (e.g. middle grade vs upper middle grade).


Posts: 475 | Registered: Jul 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
axeminister
Member
Member # 8991

 - posted      Profile for axeminister   Email axeminister         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
These numbers are way higher than I've seen. This doesn't mean anything, as the numbers can very widely, but I thought I'd mention I've seen them lower.

The book Aquamarine is 105 pages. (My daughter likes this one, leave me alone.)
Here's what one Amazon reviewer had to say: "Though a bit too short and a bit too shallow, it's sweet."

However, it sold, and then was made into a movie, so are there "rules" as far as page count?

Nope.

Axe


Posts: 1543 | Registered: Jan 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
posulliv
Member
Member # 8147

 - posted      Profile for posulliv   Email posulliv         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've also found that going to Smashwords and searching for works similar to mine is somewhat informative. They list the word count in the summary information for each title.

Backlist works from traditionally published authors strike me as a good guide to acceptable lengths. A lot of these modern indie-published works seem much shorter than similar works from traditional publishers.

Hours of fun await the inquisitive.


Posts: 389 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KayTi
Member
Member # 5137

 - posted      Profile for KayTi           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hardest rule with YA is that unless you're an established writer or writing something pretty unique/not seen before/manage to break in, it's got to be under 100k.

My YA/MG novels clock in around 60k each time. It's a nice length, around 250 pages. I write at the young end of YA, borderline middle grade, so this length feels perfectly appropriate to me. I have decided to independently publish my books and nobody cares the length there (other than they'd feel cheated paying $5 for a short story of 8k words. I charge 99c for those.) In submitting through normal channels, though, I received no negative feedback reacting to length (for the 65k word YA sci fi novel I was submitting.)


Posts: 1911 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MDBHarlan
Member
Member # 9557

 - posted      Profile for MDBHarlan   Email MDBHarlan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks everyone. This has been really helpful.

I write at the young end of YA too, KayTi. I worry about it not being publishable because of that. My fairy tale characters get married at the end (older reader) but I think plot wise it is more simple (younger reader).

I have decided to twist a few more things into my plot to take it from the 49k that I have to the recommended lengths. Maybe this will help with the above mentioned problem.


Posts: 55 | Registered: Jun 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
micmcd
Member
Member # 7977

 - posted      Profile for micmcd   Email micmcd         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Meredith, I am so happy you answered with a version of my immediate reaction to the question asked, or else I would have been forced to make the same joke. Is it wrong that I'm worried your frequent (& awesome) crits of my books may have inclined you to such highbrow humor? If you ever accidentally drop an f-bomb in one of your YA works, feel free to blame me.

As to the subject at hand... the rule of thumb for word <==> page conversion is 250 words/page on average (and indeed that's what Scrivener uses). YA will be shorter, on average, than adult fiction. If it helps with a reference point, the "target" for adult fiction is 400 pages, or 100,000 words. No length limit is ever hard and fast, but it's one of those things that is nice to hit somewhere in the ballpark of. Write till it's done, then cut it in half, then cut it again. It should be just about tight enough then.

[This message has been edited by micmcd (edited July 16, 2011).]


Posts: 500 | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2