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Author Archives: vistula7000

Until Camp NaNoWriMo…

Pen is at the ready!!


Stacy, Ann and I made it to Apple Blossom and had a reasonably productive meeting. ๐Ÿ™‚

We discussed our respective worlds –

Stacy confessed she has detailed maps of hers (I’m so jealous). Pages and pages of them she puts together like a puzzle and which she would like to eventually put together on a whole wall.

I discussed my difficulties in designing buildings in my new world. I did find a free online program called Floorplanner <http://www.floorplanner.com&gt; which I am playing with right now. It is pretty cool and reasonably user friendly.

Discussed the merits of computer versus notebook and pen/pencil writing.

Goals obtained:

Stacy came close – she only fell half a chapter short, but did do one mammoth chapter so we decided it should count as 1.5.

Ann got Stacy to the meeting, which is her standing goal (since she is not a writer but “writer support” person)

Michele wrote every day and since no one posted the official goals, I’m not sure if I had any others. Didn’t do them if I did!

Goals set:

Same as last time – hey, we’re Solame… what can we say. Our only other goal was to NOT have goals. <BSG>

We ended the night with about half an hour of writing. Woo hoo!!

That is all… not too bad for not having an agenda.

Yeah, here I am…blogging!!


Below is the list of story lengths that I researched for the reference enjoyment of the group. This excerpt is from “The Swivet” blog by Colleen Lindsay. For the complete piece you can find it here: http://theswivet.blogspot.com/2008/03/on-word-counts-and-novel-length.html


Word counts for different kinds of novels vary, but there is are general rules of thumb for fiction that a writer can use when trying to figure out just how long is too long. For the purposes of this post, I’m only talking about YA, middle-grade and adult fiction here. And bear in mind that there are always exceptions, but good general rules of thumb would be as follows:

middle grade fiction = Anywhere from 25k to 40k, with the average at 35k

YA fiction = For mainstream YA, anywhere from about 45k to 80k; paranormal YA or YA fantasy can occasionally run as high as 120k but editors would prefer to see them stay below 100k. The second or third in a particularly bestselling series can go even higher. But it shouldn’t be word count for the sake of word count.

paranormal romance = 85k to 100k

romance = 85k to 100k

category romance = 55k to 75k

cozy mysteries = 65k to 90k

horror = 80k to 100k

western = 80k to 100k (Keep in mind that almost no editors are buying Westerns these days.)

mysteries, thrillers and crime fiction = A newer category of light paranormal mysteries and hobby mysteries clock in at about 75k to 90k. Historical mysteries and noir can be a bit shorter, at 80k to 100k. Most other mystery/thriller/crime fiction falls right around the 90k to 100k mark.

mainstream/commercial fiction/thrillers = Depending upon the kind of fiction, this can vary: chick lit runs anywhere from 80k word to 100k words; literary fiction can run as high as 120k but lately there’s been a trend toward more spare and elegant literary novels as short as 65k. Anything under 50k is usually considered a novella, which isn’t something agents or editors ever want to see unless the editor has commissioned a short story collection. (Agent Kristin Nelson has a good post about writers querying about manuscripts that are too short.)

science fiction & fantasy = Here’s where most writers seem to have problems. Most editors I’ve spoken to recently at major SF/F houses want books that fall into the higher end of the adult fiction you see above; a few of them told me that 100k words is the ideal manuscript size for good space opera or fantasy. For a truly spectacular epic fantasy, some editors will consider manuscripts over 120k but it would have to be something extraordinary. I know at least one editor I know likes his fantasy big and fat and around 180k. But he doesn’t buy a lot at that size; it has to be astounding. (Read: Doesn’t need much editing.) And regardless of the size, an editor will expect the author to to be able to pare it down even further before publication. To make this all a little easier, I broke it down even further below:

—> hard sf = 90k to 110k
—> space opera = 90k to 120k
—> epic/high/traditional/historical fantasy = 90k to 120k
—> contemporary fantasy = 90k to 100k
—> romantic SF = 85k to 100k
—> urban fantasy = 90k to 100k
—> new weird = 85k to 110k
—> slipstream = 80k to 100k
—> comic fantasy = 80k to 100k
—> everything else = 90k to 100k



Separate source from above:

Science Fiction and Fantasy lengths for the Nebula awards

Novel โ€“ over 40,000

Novella โ€“ 17,500 to 40,000

Novelette โ€“ 7,500 to 17,500

Short Story โ€“ 7,500 or less

Sorry but I won’t be making it to the write in tonight. *sigh* I’m battling a vicious case of hives…

I will write with you in spirit however, by doing writing at home (complete with applications of calamine lotion, antihistamines, and loose clothing) from 6:30-7:30p and posting my page total when done. Good luck everyone!!

Well, I managed to complete the short story (just under 10,000 words) I was writingย  for my friends’ anniversary gift AND did so with even a couple of hours to spare. I even crafted an illustrated cover page for it.

Woo hoo… *pumps fist in the air* One mission accomplished!!

Don’t know if I’m the only one who struggles with the punctuation and quotes dilemma, but I found a nice rule in a nutshell from Grammar Girl:

In American English, periods and commas always go inside the closing quotation mark; semicolons, colons, asterisks, and dashes always go outside the closing quotation mark; and question marks and exclamation points require that you analyze the sentence and make a decision based on context. If the ? or ! goes with the quoted part, put it in. If it goes with the whole sentence, leave it outside.

Wow, I miss one meeting and you all get ambitious on me. ๐Ÿ™‚

I did send a “Five Things…” assignment, hope it’s not too late. I also do not want such assignments as that posted on the site. I’d be really ticked if my idea got pinched.

Please include me if you e-mail assignments. I’m pretty good about checking here too, so if you posted it here that would be good too. I’ll be more diligent if I know something might be posted too…