word counts omg

This is a bit of an awkward question, but I’m sort of wondering if anyone else is as morbidly interested and curious about word counts as I am? I found this post here (sidenote: I really recommend this blog!) : http://nicolehumphrey.net/word-count-for-famous-novels/

and this author went through a lot of the more well-known novels and listed the word count. For whatever reason, I LOVE knowing exactly how long the Harry Potter books, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and other books I’ve loved, are. And I love the range. There are novels that clock in around 30,000 words, while others are monsters up around 600K (I can’t even imagine writing something that long O_o).

I’m the type who doesn’t plan through any of my writing before I start–I just begin, and the story takes me where it wants to go (yes, sometimes this is rough.) But I’m thinking, maybe the fact that I write this way has something to do with my fascination with word counts. I don’t plan; (most of) the content and the length are a mystery to me in the beginning. So, how long it takes me to get the story down, how many words end up being enough, is hard to predict. The shortest novel I’ve ever wrote is around 75,000 words. The longest is around 120,000. So, I really don’t have a gaping range (I’ve written six novels. Not all of these are final versions, obviously). The average novel is 80,000 words or so, so…I’m pretty predictable for an  unpredictable person. Another thing I like about the whole word count stats thing, is that it gives me an idea of how the book I’m writing will feel in my hand once I’ve published it–how thick, how many pages in a paperback format. It’s so different from how it appears on microsoft word.

I’ve noticed looking through the list on Nicole’s blog, that all of my favorite books are under 200K. Of course, most of the books on that list are under that number. It just leads me to pondering other questions, like:

~Is there a limit to how long a novel can get while maintaining the quality of the story and the writing?~

I’m tempted to say no to this. It’s my gut response, and maybe I’m right. I’ve read some good, LONG books (East of Eden by John Steinbeck springs to mind, as well as the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, as well as a lot of epic fantasy I’ve read) and I’m not sure whether such stories could be told as well if the word count were chopped in half. But then again, maybe this is because I’ve never been presented with a more concise version of a long and much-loved work.  Well, like many an author (I’m guessing this is a common, vague sort of dream a lot of us have : P) I’ve always wanted to write a whopper of my own; maybe I’ll find out ; ). )

~ C

beh 023

just for fun: the shortest book I own (40 pages) atop the longest (1,066 pages).

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