Word Count Addiction

Hello, my name is Lydia, and I’m a word count addict. The first step to beating your addiction is to admit it. Or at least that’s what I saw on television. I seriously am addicted to checking the word count on my manuscript though.


When I finished my first draft, I was around 45,000 words. I felt these words conveyed my totally awesome plot to resolution at a good pace. There was a lot of action, romance, and things really moved. My manuscript was like a John Woo movie. It moved. Apparently it moved too fast. It lacked substance. Or as one of my friends, who was kind enough to read and edit my manuscript said, “it has good bones.”

Hello there, my name is Hell HIgh

Hello there, my name is Hell High. I have good bones. Can’t you tell?

Now I’m trying to add flesh to my boney book. I’ve looked at a number of resources in an effort to gauge how long my book should be. Keep in mind, I am aware that in some alternate universe a book should just take its own shape regardless of industry standards of length. I tried that. It didn’t work. Therefore I will bow down to the Man, even though my inner Rage Against the Machine fan says not to cave, and edit my manuscript. Naturally my less rebellious self realizes there is a reason works of fiction are expected to be a certain length, and I am now truly understanding that as I realize how much stuff I could add to my manuscript.

From what I’ve found, my manuscript is too short at 45,000 words (although with my most recent edits, I’m up to 49,854 words). Still too short. Here are some of the recommendations I’ve found (keep in mind my manuscript is a quasi-fantastical YA novel):

The Writer’s Coffee Shop – the independent publisher that first published EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey asks for works of “General Fiction” to be 60,000 to 120,000 words. Writers Coffee Shop on Submission Length

Writer’s Digest writer Chuck Sambuchino recommends 55,000 – 69,999 words. Writer’s Digest Word Count

Jennifer Laughran, an agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency who specializes in YA recommends 65,000-85,000 words on her blog. Jennifer’s Blog Post on Word Count

BookEnds, LLC agent Jessica suggests 50,000 to 75,000 for YA, but also says 80,000 is a good ballpark estimate for most types of fiction. Book Ends Word Count. On a side note, this blog is no longer active. Gotta love validation of my “Blogging is Dead,” post!

Long story short – I’ve got some work to do, and my addiction to the Word Count button will continue!


2 thoughts on “Word Count Addiction

  1. Pingback: Word waterboarding! Less may be more | Gary Heilbronn

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