About Story Word Count

Today I’m going to talk about word length and how many words are required for each genre.

Whether you’re querying an agent or you want to self-publish, it’s helpful to know what readers will generally expect in regards to story length for a given genre.

Here’s a break down of story length (Taken from Writer’s Digest):

Scif-fi & fantasy novel – 100,000-115,000 

General fiction novel – 70,000 – 100,000

Western novel – 50,000 – 80,000

Cozy mystery novel – 50,000 – 60,000

Young adult novel – 50,000 – 80,000

Middle grade novel – 40,000 – 70,000

Children’s chapter book – 10,000 – 12,000

Memoir – 70,000 – 90,000

Novella – 18,000 – 40,000

Novelette – 7,500 to 19,000

Short Story – 1,000 to 8,000

Flash fiction – 500 words or less

You’ll notice that certain genres of novels either need more or less words. This isn’t to pigeon hold anyone! I consider myself to be a multi-genre writer and most of my books fit into more than one genre – my novel story lengths are usually around the 50,000 – 75,000 mark. It is helpful to know what the market looks for, particularly if you want to be represented by an agent. Certain genres attract readers who prefer longer or shorter works, so it’s a good thing to be aware of.

As you can see, there’s some crossover between word lengths. Certain agents will consider a novel that’s a bit shorter or longer for a particular genre. If you’re an indie author who writes in multiple genres, the story length isn’t as important. Sometimes it’s good to know what the rules are before you break them. 😉

I hope you found this informative. 🙂


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