Pursuing perfection is often a characteristic of the writer’s journey. Many writers get bogged down in the minutiae of being a published writer, such as worrying about the length of their work.
Most writers have a clear idea of the characters and the setting but might be overwhelmed by the task of determining how many words their story requires. Word counts can help writers stay focused and on track with their stories.
Determining pacing and flow from word counts is also possible, ensuring that the story progresses correctly. A writer can also plan out a story more effectively if they know the word count in advance.
I would also argue that you don’t need to know the typical word count for a specific form. What matters is that you write enough to convey your message. Ensure you don’t ramble on and on and only include the necessary details. Quality is more important than quantity.
So where do you start if you do want to know?
It’s not the be-all, end-all list. For example, Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure is one of my favorite books that I like to look at from time to time.
Word counts for various types of stories
This table gives you an idea of the different options.
|Short story||1 to 7,500 words|
|Novelette||7,500 to 20,000 words|
|Novella||20,000 to 50,000 words|
|Novel||50,000 to 110,000 words|
|Epics and sequels||110,000+ words|
The more creative you are with conveying your message, the more memorable your piece will be. It’s essential to ensure that your message is clear and concise, so your audience can easily understand it.
Ultimately, the form you choose should let you tell your story. Don’t try to cram an epic into a short story unless you can do it well. You should also consider your readers’ needs. Your message should be conveyed effectively in a form that is easy to read and understand.
Finding your voice is the most crucial part of the creative process, no matter how many words you write.