Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wordcount Dilemma

It seems as though I've been writing this novel forever. Still not finished, but at least I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Yesterday was so beautiful outside and we've waited so long for warm weather that I abandoned the computer and puttered in the garden all afternoon.

Back to the computer today and on with the novel. A quick word count told me that I've written 83,440 words. Yikes! Last time I checked, the word count was 65,000. I still have 15 chapters to write, albeit short chapters, but now I'm worried that I'll end up with 100,000 words.

I've read several articles by agents who claim that 85,000 words is the golden number, especially for first time authors. Some writers don't seem concerned about word count and a few genres do have larger word counts. Historical, horror and fantasy are a few. Fortunately thrillers can go over the 85,000 word count and my novel is a psychological thriller.

The point is, why spend years researching and writing a novel that agents and publishers will trash simply because it's too long? Here's where self-editing skills come in, but it's hard to edit your own work so it's a good idea to have another editor/writer read it through. Someone who isn't as emotionally tied to the work as the author.

My plan is to keep writing the novel, get my outline down in first draft and then I'll start editing out the weak parts, repetitions, cliches, etc, and aim for around 90 to 95 thousand words.

That's the plan. Just keep on writing, one word at at time.



  1. Sounds like a plan! Wonderful post, Cynthia.

    That's basically how I'm approaching my novel, I'll look at paring down the word count once the first drafts complete. Until then, I'll keep hammering away.

  2. I used to worry about what agents thought, until I stopped worrying about it. Trying to second-guess is a mug's game, because even when they state word count, it refers to what they want to end up with after editing, prior to publishing. I agree: that should be the last consideration, both from the writer's point of view and the agent's.