Word Counts

Day 23: #AtoZChallenge  

WORD COUNTSOne of the most frequent questions asked by writers is : “What is an acceptable word count for  _________” (fill in the blank). Most magazines, contests, or websites will define the type of fiction they’re looking for and the required word count or word limit. In my research, I found a number of sites with slightly different word counts, but all were generally within these limits.

Basic fiction classification and the associated word counts:

  1. Flash Fiction – under 500 but some accept up to 1000.
  2. Historical Fiction – 90,000-100,000.
  3. Literary –  80,000-120,000.
  4. Memoir – 80,000 – 90,000.
  5. Middle Grade Fiction – 25,000 -40,000.
  6. Mystery, Thrillers & Crime – 70,000 -90,000.
  7. Novella – 10,000 – 40,000.
  8. Novelette – 7,550 – 17,500.
  9. Picture Books – standard 32 pages (500-600 words).
  10. Romance Fiction– 50,000 – 100,000.
  11. Science fiction & Fantasy – 90,000 -120,000.
  12. Short Story – typically between 1,000 – 8,000.
  13. Women’s Fiction as low as 70,000. Standard is around 80,000.
  14. Young Adult Fiction – 50,000 -70,000.

Remember, it’s recommended not to rely on your software program for an accurate word count, especially when words are limited as in a contest.

Shortcut for determining word count: Change document to Courier with one-inch margins, count the number of pages, multiply by 250. This is the adjusted number of words in your manuscript.

Want more info on word Counts? Check out these resources:

I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story and look for me on Facebook at SheilaMGood,  PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilamgood, and Contently.

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So It Is With Writing…

Aw spring, my favorite time of the year is finally here. Budding new birth is everywhere you look; people are taking inventory, spring cleaning, clearing out cobwebs, and the clutter of their lives.

As a girl, we started every Spring by opening the windows and letting fresh air blow through the house removing the winter’s stale air. Then, we moved down mama’s list, decluttering closets, washing windows until they sparkled. We whitewashed scuff marks off baseboards, mopped, waxed, and polished the hardwood floors until they shined.

It was an exhausting time for my sisters and me, one we always dreaded, until lying on our beds late at night we inhaled the smell of a freshly spring-cleaned house as the breeze stirred the sheer curtains and the sounds of crickets serenaded us to sleep. Some things are worth the hard work.

So it is with writing …

You outline a novel and fill in the plot or as some do, fly by the seat of your pants until you reach the end of the story and a satisfactory word count. Of course, I’m over simplifying, but you get my drift. When things need to be done, you do them and cross them off your list. Not unlike when I was young and checking off mama’s spring cleaning to-do-list.

Perhaps you’ve wondered why no one was minding the Cow Pasture. Suffice to say; I was hard at work. Not writing, but working on something much harder so I could get back to writing – my health. In 1983, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, Sjogren’s syndrome and others, but over the last five years, things had stabilized.

I thought I had this plot figured out, so to speak, but then what’s a good story without a twist, right? After many years of being manageable, the sleeping giant began attacking my central nervous system. Talk about a twist I wasn’t expecting, this was it. I didn’t know how to talk or write about what was happening, even in the Cow Pasture.

Over the last six months instead of working on my novel, blog or writing short stories, I’ve been outlining a plan to combat this disease and improve my outcome. I’m happy to say things are on track.

Some things are worth the hard work. 

I’m writing again, not using many outlines or sticking to a strict schedule, but writing when I can. Musing from the Cow Pasture Chronicles may include exerts from my novels, Hello HellCall Me Florence, a short story, flash fiction, writing topic, an opinion piece, or a chapter from my memoir. Who knows what I’ll share, I’m pretty much a panster these days.

Some things are meant to be enjoyed.

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When You Can’t Think of a New Idea

working handWhen you can’t think of a new idea, and it feels as if your mind is running up against a blank wall,what do you do?

It happens to writers no matter their skill or level. There are a zillion reasons why it happens, but sometimes it’s as simple as life overload. It can be very distressing and if you allow it, take the joy out of writing. However, there are easier ways to find new inspiration and reignite your writing.

1. Sometimes reviewing the basics help me remember things I’d forgotten. After looking back over notes and articles important points about character, settings, or plot are once again fresh in my mind, giving me new ideas. Every Writers Resource is currently offering free online writing courses beginning with the basics. The lessons are brief and the assignments get you back to writing in no time.

2. Utilize prompts.Your choice. It doesn’t have to be a link-up or complicated, just write. I like using Oneword, a 60 second prompt with no link-ups, but there are many other sites where you can share the prompt with other writer’s. 750words.com is another site which encourages you to write by  keeping count of the number of words each day. It is completely private and worth checking out.

3. Join a writer’s group. The support you receive from your peers will be invaluable. Whether it’s a group for instruction, writing prompts, guest speakers, or critiques, the support you receive from one another will make you a better and more informed writer.

So, find a way to inspire yourself. This is your chance to tell your story, one word at a time. Happy writing.


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