Counting words


The Magic Number

In this case the magic number happens to be 50,000—the number of words that defines a novel and the difference between short stories, novelettes and novellas. According to reliable sources a short story is 7,500 words or less, a novelette is more than 7,500 and less than 25,000 words and a novella is more than 25,000 and less than 50,000 words. Personally, I’ve always defined novelettes as long versions of a short story and novellas as really long versions of a short story and novels as books.

I’m going to make a concentrated effort to write and publish novels in the Science Fiction genre. This comfort zone of weird concepts and bizarre ideas is the slot I can fit into. The current work in progress, Past Healers, is in first draft and approaching 12,000 words and the majority of those words are in the first four chapters. At this point 50,000 words seems to be a distant spot on the horizon.

Making Every Word Count

This is the problem—the plot must continually move forward and maintain the thread of the story. I have to reach 50,000 words without padding the story with nonessential elements.

Hammering and shaping the story into a cohesive flow from the beginning to the conclusion is the primary strategy and producing good words on a consistent basis is the primary tactic.

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