How many words is enough?

Published July 18, 2013 by claire2903

I was reading this blog

http://authorsalcove.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/the-start-of-something/

And thought 1700 words over 2 chapters, and 75,000 words seams not enough. So I did some research into this.

The information given to me is that an Epic book would have 120,000 words and 300 pages as standard, this equals 400 words per page.

I then looked at some of favourite books to see how they measure up.

The Name of The Wind – Patrick Rothfuss has 255,000 words, 662 pages and 92 chapters. This comes in at 2772 words per chapter and 386 words per page.

The Wise Mans Fear – Patrick Rothfuss has 380,000 words, 1000 pages and 153 chapters. This comes in at 2484 words per chapters and 380 words per page.

The Hobbit – J R R Tolkien has 95,674 words, 274 pages and 19 chapters. This comes in at 5036 words per chapter and 350 words per page.

The Lord of the Rings – J R R Tolkien (as a total) has 525,405 words, 1347 pages, 66 chapters and three books. This comes in at 175,135 words per book, 7961 words per chapter and 391 per page.

So it would seem my initial thought of 75,000 words is not enough would be wrong. This has forced me to re think just how many words is enough, and further more how many is too many?

Or does it not matter?

What do you think?

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3 comments on “How many words is enough?

  • I don’t think the number of words in a chapter is particularly relevant, some chapters will be a lot longer than others, some will be shorter.

    There’s masses of “information” on the internet about the length of books, which is where I got an average of 75,000 from:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/09/book-length_n_1334636.html gives a run down of some popular books and their lengths. Looking at writers digest (http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/word-count-for-novels-and-childrens-books-the-definitive-post) my aim of 75,000 words might be seen as too short, but should be safe; though I should bump it up to over the 80k mark. However, when I’ve looked at http://www.writing.ie/resources/how-long-should-your-book-be/ and http://storytime.booklamp.org/2012/03/19/how-long-is-the-average-book-a-concrete-answer-to-a-longstanding-writing-faq/ I can see that for the sype of thing I am writing, I should be looking anywhere from the 90k mark up over.

    Time to revise my book length estimate, and probably add in more detail to the opening chapters.

    Thanks for keeping my on my toes 🙂

    • Your post was a good post! Its made me re evaulate how many words are really needed.
      Im mean of course all stories are as long as they are going to be, if that makes sense!
      But when starting out its good to have a goal amount of words then you can work out how much youve done in a session of writing.
      Like you said you’d done X percent of your book (sorry forgotten how much you said and im on my phone lol)
      Gives you a sense of achievement and motivation to carry on!
      Like you say your aim is 75,000 bit will more likely be around 80,000.
      So anyway thank you for your post. Its made me question how ai think about word content and also made me realise I dont need a million words for a good story.
      Ie I dont need to pad quite so much and stay true to the story 🙂

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