Sunday, November 8, 2009

MG and YA Word Counts

I was just browsing through the archives of the Guide to Literary Agents blog and discovered this post on Word Counts for all sorts of novels and seeing how Word Counts can be an issue when it comes to YA and MG and I figured you all may enjoy a peek. Even those of you who don't write YA or MG...he has a list of different genres and word counts. I'll just give you the gist of what he said.

First off for Middle Grade(ages 8-12): 20,000-40,000- BUT if your novel is geared toward say 12 year olds and you have a 13 or 14 year old protagonist then the book should be between 32,000-40,000 instead of the low 20k.

Now YA: 55,000-69,000 he says is a great range. I know there are many writers that pull out the Harry Potter card, stating that it was over this word count. Well yes, but the first book wasn't all that long and by the time the others came out Rowling made her publisher A LOT of money.

Here is the exception. Fantasy. I can just see you fantasy writers jumping for joy. Fantasy can be longer because it involves world-building etc. But not much longer-

Be careful because extremely long novels make an agent think that a writer does not know how to edit themselves. We wouldn't want that now would we?

Also, for YA try not to go lower than 47K...and yes WAKE was 32,000k but it was an exception.

You can try to be the exception, but if you follow these rules for your first novel-you give yourself a better shot at breaking into the business. Check out his post if you want more, but I'm pretty sure I summarized the gist of it.,category,Word%20Count.aspx

Good luck fellow writers!


Amber said...

I posted that pic for YahooAnswers, but no one answered it. It has dust spots on it. I didn't know that until my dad read a little more into my camera's manual. It's relieving, but also frustrating because, either way, it's going to cost me money to get the dust removed. I'll either have to do it myself (shudder) or pay the Canon company 50 bucks to remove it. I'm thinking of doing it myself, but I'm scared to mess with the sensor because it's extremely sensitive. Right now I'm going to have to use the Dust Delete Data with a combination of the clone tool in photoshop to get rid of the spots until I can come up with 20 bucks to buy the cleaning kit, which won't be long.

Amber said...

Go fantasy! In any case, I'm not too concerned about Witch Tourniquet's word count. I'm not trying to play the exception card or anything, but I know Nathan Bransford doesn't have a particular word count, even when it comes to YA. Crazy as it sounds, he doesn't care, long as it doesn't go over 150K, which I wouldn't try with YA. It really depends on the literary agent. I think they're a bit more lenient on word count than editors though, as agents usually do want you to do editing before they send it out. Then again, you'll be reading Witch Tourniquet soon, so you can tell me. Far as I know, Nazarea has no beef with the 93K word count, and I actually had to make one of my chapters longer because it moved too fast.

Amber said...

And I was striving to be short with this new novel I'm working on, the one with the ending problem. Anyway, I cheated on that one. I totally skipped over the action scene (not fully, but I messed it up, as I figured out at the last minute just how I wanted it to be. I didn't want to go back and restart it. So, I skipped all that and went directly to the very end). Therefore, I estimate to be done in two days, and I can incubate on it and figure out what's really going on. This, frankly, is the worst rough draft I've ever done, but it's because it's my own personal NaNoWriMo. With my other rough drafts, I usually take long. I didn't want to this time.

Amber said...

58K right now. Fantasy. YA. It's going to be much longer when I re-write. Unlike Witch Tourniquet, I want to give myself more words to write with, not less. I want to give myself about 20,000 words to work with (might not even need that much). It's a new approach for me, but I'll see how it goes.

For me, I can only work on one novel at a time. I tried doing what you're doing, and I can't. Simply can't. I can do a short story and a novel, but not a novel and a novel.

Amber said...

I've been working on it for a month. I just really want to get to re-writing it. I'm so tempted to stop right now and get re-writing it, but the reason I did my own personal NaNoWriMo was to prove that I could still write a rough draft and finish it. I hadn't finished a rough draft since finishing Witch Tourniquet back when I was a freshman in high school. I started other novels thereafter, but Witch Tourniquet always sucked me back in. Of course, I'm going to start those unfinished novels over again, but it'll have to be later.

As for teaching you to stay focused, it takes will power. But I think what really matters is simply finishing the manuscript, regardless of how long it takes.

After I'm done with the rough draft, I'm going to start on the query letter for WT, even though the beta reading isn't halfway done. Hopefully I'll be getting back the edits soon...