What’s the Ideal Word Length for a Novel and Each of Its Chapters?
So, you have a fantastic idea for a novel and you can’t wait to start getting your ideas out on paper. However, if your goal is to sell your book, there are a few things that you are going to want to take into consideration before you start writing.
In addition to a developing catchy title and, a really compelling plotline, and characters that your readers will be able to relate to, there’s something else that you are going to want to pay attention to: the word length.
If your novel and its corresponding chapters are too long, you run the risk of boring your readers and losing their attention. If the word count is too short, you readers might end up saying, “That’s it?”
In other words, if your book and the chapters it contains have too few or too many words, there’s a good chance that your novel won’t have the success that you hope it will.
So, how long should your book and each of its chapters be? – It really depends on the genre.
Below, we offer a general recommendation for the average word count for different genres. While there are certainly exceptions to these word count rules, they severe as a handy guideline, as they’re the approximate word count that the intended audiences of each genre are looking for.
Middle Grade Fiction
This genre is for readers between the ages of 9 and 12. The attention span of this audience is relatively short, so if you’re writing a novel for in this genre, you’ll want to stick write between 30,000 and 55,000 words. For word counts of each chapter, divide the total number of words you intend on writing by the total number of chapters you intend on writing.
If you’re writing the next “Twilight” or “Hunger Games” saga – or even if you have a completely new and fresh idea that you definitely think will appeal to young adults, if you want to hold their attention, pay close attention to your word count. On average, a young adult novel should be no less than 55,000 words and no more than 80,000 words.
Again, you can divide those numbers by the amount of chapters you plan on having in your book and you’ll have an approximate for the word count in each chapter.
Whether you’re writing a thriller, a romance, or any other type of adult fiction, the average word length should be about 100,000 for your novel. If you go too far beyond this, it could seem too cumbersome to your readers, as well as agents and publishers.
To figure out how many words you should have in each chapter, divide 100,000 (give or take) by the number of chapters you plan on including in your book. Of course, some chapters may have more words and some may have less; just make sure each chapter has a good flow.