Friday, 4 December 2009

10,000 words!

The latest novel has now reached 10,000 words! Something about that number is special to me, and perhaps because it's a marker. 5,000 was okay, but now we're into double figures in terms of thousands and it feels more solid. I have a weird phobia, whenever I begin to write, of running out of words (it's never happened so far), and it's always reaffirming to hit the targets and know there's still lots of the story left to tell. The next major one will be 30,000, which should mark about half way, because Zack (working title) is a Young Adult novel.

Word counts vary with target audience genre. As a general guide, 80-100,000 words is the usual for an adult novel, while 60,000 is a common one for Young Adult. Mid-grade tends to be 30-50,000. The largest influence in terms of genre is fantasy, which increases the limits quite a lot. But even if you're writing an epic fantasy novel, it's probably safer to stick closer to the advised word counts, if it's a first time novel. Once you're published, you have a lot more freedom to write the length you want. J.K. Rowling is a good example: after her first two books established her, the later ones grew longer each time... (until book 5 was probably too long...)

I'm not sure if Zack will be the breakthrough novel. Although it has been quite upbeat so far, it gets much darker very soon and doesn't end in particularly pleasant ways... But we shall see.