Mastering Novel Word Count: What Is Novel Word Count And What To Consider

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mastering novel word count

Novels have captivated readers since their conception centuries ago and they remain popular today due to our collective subconscious desire for innovation and discovery. 

As writers, it’s up to us to craft stories that will both engage readers and challenge them in equal measure – all within the confines of a desired word count! 

But as any experienced novelist knows, mastering your novel’s word count is key to crafting a compelling story. So how do you go about doing that, it’s not just the task of creating something out of nothing, but also having to commit to a certain word count.

In this article, we’ll dive into what exactly novel word counts are and what considerations should be taken when writing one.

Let’s explore how understanding these limits can help you create masterful works of fiction.

Understanding Novel Word Count

When it comes to writing a novel, word count is an integral part of the process. It’s important for all authors to understand how many words should be included in their manuscript, and why this really matters when it comes to publishing and marketing your book.

The average length of books these days ranges from 50,000 – 100,000 words. A novel that falls within this range would be considered an “average” size and could fit with most publishers’ guidelines. But there are also other factors such as genre (see list towards the end of this article) or targeted audience that can influence what kind of word count you need for your particular project.

For example, children’s fiction typically has shorter novels than adult fiction and romance novels tend to be longer than fantasy stories. 

So while there are some general rules about word counts that apply across genres and age groups, it’s worth doing research into the specific expectations related to yours before starting out on your journey towards becoming a published writer.

Having said that, even though having a good idea of the ideal word count for your story is helpful – especially if you plan on submitting directly to agents or publishers – you don’t necessarily have to stick rigidly to any one number. 

Word count is simply one of many elements involved in crafting a successful piece of literature; creativity and quality take precedence over quantity every time!

Setting Word Count Goals For Your Novel

When it comes to setting a word count goal for your novel, it’s important to consider the plot and pacing. If you have a complex plot, you may need more words to convey it effectively.

On the other hand, if the plot is simple, you may be able to get away with fewer words.

It’s important to find the right balance between plot and pacing, so look at examples of successful books in your genre to get a better feel for what’s appropriate. That way, you can make sure the novel you write is just the right length.

Determining Appropriate Word Count

You want to make sure the length of your story has enough words for a satisfying read, but not too many that it becomes laborious or tedious.

It all depends on the genre and intended audience; a romance novel might have an average word count of 60,000 – 100,000 words while more action-packed stories tend to lean toward 100,000+.

Analyzing the plot and pacing can also offer insight into how long your book should be – if you’re writing a fast-paced thriller with plenty of dialogue, shorter chapters, and quick transitions between scenes then fewer words may do.

Finally, consider seeking feedback from beta readers or professionals who are familiar with fiction novels – their advice will prove invaluable in helping you nail down an appropriate word count for your novel!

a guy counting words in his novel
A guy counting words in his novel

Plot & Pacing Considerations

When it comes to setting word count goals for your novel, plot and pacing considerations are key.

Many words can make a book longer in length, but not all of them will matter; often times the number of words per page or how many scenes you have is more important than just hitting a certain total word count.

It’s essential to consider these things when deciding on how many words your story should be because too few may mean leaving out crucial details while too many could become laborious for readers.

Novelists need to create an engaging narrative that moves at the right pace with enough detail – neither too much nor too little – so that their audience remains interested without becoming bored or overwhelmed.

To get this balance right, they must also think about if there’s any extra material such as dialogue or description which could be left out without affecting the overall flow and impact of their story.

Ultimately, authors should strive to find a sweet spot between brevity and depth where their reader has access to the necessary information without being bogged down by superfluous content.

This way they can craft stories that are enjoyable no matter what genre they write in!

Utilizing Digital Tools To Track Progress

It’s easy to get bogged down in the details, especially when it comes to keeping track of your novel’s word count and ensuring each scene has just the right amount of words.

But tracking progress isn’t as difficult as you think; with tools like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, it’s easier than ever to keep an eye on how many words are in a book so far and make sure your story is staying on track.

They both have running word counts that can either be permanently displayed or with in a few button presses.

Tips For Hitting Your Word Count Goal

tips for hitting your word count goal
Tips For Hitting Your Word Count Goal

It helps you set realistic goals and deadlines for yourself, as well as prevents (you the writer) from getting distracted with unnecessary filler content.

The average book is between 50,000 – 100,000 words long – but some famous authors have written novels that are much longer or shorter than this; JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was only 76,944 words long while Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace clocked in at over 587,287!

So if you want to publish your book then it’s important to aim for an ideal word count range that works best for you as an author.

In addition to working out what kind of page count works best for your story based on genre expectations, there are other factors to consider when figuring out your target length. For example: What type of font size are you using? How many chapters does the structure of your novel require? Can any scenes be condensed further without losing their impact?

These questions will help determine how close (or far) away from the expected norm you can deviate when deciding upon a word count goal before beginning to write.

Once you know where you stand in terms of the total word count target, it becomes easier to break down each chapter into manageable chunks that won’t leave readers feeling overwhelmed.

From there it’s all about mastering pacing and flow so that readers stay engaged until they reach the end – which is why tracking progress towards hitting those targets is essential throughout the entire process.

Editing strategically also allows writers to make sure they don’t go too far beyond their intended limit either!

Editing Strategically To Stay Within Word Count Limits

Editing strategically to stay within word count limits can be a challenging task. But with the right approach, you can hit your target without sacrificing quality.

Here are some tips for keeping your story on track and meeting your word count goals:

  1. Aim for a specific word count range as you write and edit – it’s easier to add words than trim them down if necessary.
  2. Use a minimum word count limit when editing; this will help ensure that all of the important points have been adequately covered in each scene or chapter.
  3. A good rule of thumb is to aim for around 250-350 words on average per page; this way you won’t get bogged down by details but still provide enough information to draw readers into the narrative.

By following these simple guidelines, you can keep focused while writing and make sure that your story fits within its required boundaries. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed; instead use strategic methods like setting achievable targets or limiting distractions to complete your work successfully!

Avoiding Distractions And Writers Block

avoiding distractions and writers block
Avoiding Distractions And Writers Block

What if you find yourself stuck at a certain point? And how do you ensure that those words are used effectively throughout your story?

Whether you’re just starting out or hitting writer’s block during production, there are several steps you can take to help keep your word count in check.

First off, it’s important to have an idea of where you want your story to go so that every scene has purpose and contributes to the overall plot.

Additionally, avoid getting bogged down by unnecessary details since this can lead to an increase in word count without adding much substance.

Finally, be sure not to get too deep into any particular character or event as it may also result in extra unneeded text.

With some creativity and focus, even seemingly daunting tasks like producing high-quality content become achievable goals when considering how many words fit into a novel.

Knowing When To Stop Writing

Writing a novel is an exciting venture, but it can be difficult to know when you’ve reached your desired word count. Knowing the average length of a novel and total word count will help you gauge how many pages you’ll write, and therefore understand whether or not you’re on target for your goal.

While a typical novel runs between 50,000 – 100,000 words in length, anything shorter than 50,000/60,000 words would generally be considered a novella; anything longer than 120,000 words could become unwieldy if not well written. 

Many publishers have specific guidelines as to what they consider ideal for different genres. For example, fantasy novels typically run much longer than romance novels and are often closer to 120,000 words or more.

But why does this matter?

Word count matters because it helps set reader expectations as far as how long the book may take them to read. 

It also impacts formatting decisions like page size, font sizes and other elements which influence design costs. 

Additionally, editors need some level of guidance from authors so that their books fit into appropriate categories with regard to pricing structures and shelf placement within bookstores or online outlets – all based upon anticipated word counts!

What Are The Average Word Counts By Genre?

word counts by genre
Word Counts By Genre

The word count of a piece of writing can vary greatly depending on the genre. 

Knowing the approximate standard word counts for different genres can help writers better understand what is expected of them and plan their writing accordingly. See the list below for an average for various genres.

  • Novella: 20,000 – 50,000 words
  • Self-help: 40,000 – 60,000 words
  • Young Adult: 50,000 – 80,000 words
  • Romance: 60,000 – 100,000 words
  • Mystery/Thriller: 70,000 – 90,000 words
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy: 80,000 – 120,000 words
  • Contemporary: 70,000 – 90,000 words
  • Historical Fiction: 100,000 – 120,000 words
  • Literary Fiction: 80,000 – 100,000 words
  • Horror: 80,000 – 100,000 words
  • Memoir: 70,000 – 100,000 words
  • Biography: 80,000 – 150,000 words.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many words does a 300-page book have?

The number of words a 300-page book contains can vary, but as a general estimate, a 300-page book could have around 90,000 words in it. 

This means that each page of the book would have an average of 300 words.

However, it is important to note that this is only an approximation and the actual book word count may differ from this estimate. 

Authors and publishers use word count as a way to measure the length and complexity of a book. This helps them to determine the appropriate format, cover design, and price point of the book. 

Moreover, word count can also be used as a metric for pacing and storytelling. Shorter texts tend to be faster-paced and more concise, while longer texts are usually slower-paced with more detail and depth. 

Ultimately, word count can be an important consideration for both authors and readers looking for specific types of books or genres.

How Can I Effectively Set A Daily Word Count Goal?

Setting a daily word count goal is an important part of mastering novel writing, but it can be daunting. How do you determine the best target for yourself?

Consider both how much time you have available each day as well as what type of story or genre you are working on, then set realistic goals based on these two factors.

With this approach, you can create achievable objectives while still pushing yourself to reach new heights.

What Are The Best Ways To Track My Progress While Writing?

Writing a novel is an ambitious task and tracking your progress can be just as difficult. But there are plenty of ways to help stay motivated while you’re working toward that goal.

You could count the words you write in one day, or set yourself weekly goals; keep track of how far you’ve gotten through each chapter; or even use a spreadsheet to record all your accomplishments!

Whichever route you take, having clear milestones will make it easier for you to stay on track with your writing – and ensure you don’t get overwhelmed by the enormity of the project ahead.

a girl helping her friend with her novel word count
A girl helping her friend with her novel word count

Tips For Avoiding Distractions And Writer’s Block?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by distractions or writer’s block. Thankfully, there are lots of simple strategies that can help you stay focused and get the words flowing!

To avoid distractions, try setting a timer for yourself so that you only focus on writing during your designated time slot – no checking emails or social media in between!

If you find yourself blocked up with ideas, take a break to go for a walk or do something creative like sketching or painting.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment: if one way isn’t working for you, try another approach until it clicks into place.

With these tips under your belt, you’ll have those words down in no time!

How Can I Make Sure I Am Not Overwriting My Novel?

The key to avoiding this problem is finding a balance between writing with enthusiasm and being conscious of your word count.

A quote i once read that seems appropriate for this situation is: “The trick is in allowing yourself enough space for storytelling without falling into needless detail or repetition.”

This means giving yourself room to be creative while still staying within the boundaries of your goal word count—so you can avoid becoming overwhelmed by too much material.

With practice and dedication, you can enjoy telling stories without going overboard!


Writing a novel is not for the faint of heart. It’s an immense undertaking that requires dedication, discipline, and sometimes even fortitude.

But it can be done! By setting achievable daily goals, tracking your progress, and avoiding distractions you can ensure you are staying on track with your word count goal.

If all else fails, remember to take breaks, don’t over-write (or under-write!), and above all else keep writing until you reach ‘The End’.

Happy writing!

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Jessica started off as an avid book reader. After reading one too many romance novels (really... is it ever really enough?), she decided to jump to the other side and started writing her own stories. She now shares what she has learned (the good and the not so good) here at When You Write, hoping she can inspire more up and coming wordsmiths to take the leap and share their own stories with the world.