All my books are available from:

About Me

My photo
I am a writer - late developer since I wasn't published until I was 50. I have now written 23 novels, numerous short stories and articles.


Blog Archive

Powered by Blogger.
Friday 8 January 2010
This is turning into a bits and pieces sort of week. Janice asked a FAQ -how long should a novel be? The true answer is how long is a piece of string? The genre will affect the length, thrillers tend to be shorter at around 65-70,000. Literary ones also tend to be about the 70,mark. Below 60 and you are straying into novella land. When I started you could safely say that a book has a natural length. But, times have changed and these days very large books are not encouraged, by that I mean 190,000 +. My first novel came in at 225,000 which was cut to 200,000 approx. For several books I was contracted to present with 160,000. This, I think, was done because the books were sold on an idea. Now between 70,000 and 130,000 seems to be the norm. BUT and this is important, if a book is outstanding then there is unlikely to be any quibble over length. My advice would be to forget the word count, write the first draft to its natural length then cut or increase as required which is much easier to do on a finished novel. Then Mary Jon told of reading that “He quoted several agents as saying that having short works, fiction or not, published would help your cause.” This filled her with horror and I can’t say I blame her. Presumably this is to show that you are serious but since most YUPs have to work to write when are these short works to be fitted in, let alone the submitting rituals? He makes it sound as if doing so is easy, it isn’t, ask any short story writer. However, if you’ve had anything published there is no harm in mentioning this but I would avoid proclaiming you write for the Parish Magazine!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the sound advice on book length, Annie. That has cleared up a grey area for me.