Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Gearin Up to Get an Agent Blog O Rama 2011

Week 1- Writing Questions:
Is there a word count range for each chapter of a YA novel?
Is there a word count range for the total word count in a YA novel?

Kathy Stemke's websites:
Moving Through all Seven Days link:
Follow me on twitter:
Follow me on Facebook:!/kathymarescomatthews.stemke?ref=profile
Follow me on LinkedIn:
Add to Technorati Favorites


Emily Rittel-King said...

I have heard different ranges: 50,000 words to 80,000 words and 70,000 words to 90,000 words. I think it depends on the publisher. I do know that you don't want to exceed 90,000; I've been told so by several agents and publishers. This is particularly important if it's your first (published) book.

Angelina C. Hansen said...

I've never heard a word count range for chapters. In the thousands of YA novels I've read, there have been chapters with one sentence and chapters with twenty pages.

60,000 to 90,000 words for a YA novel seems to be within average range.

kathy stemke said...

Thank you Emily and Angelina. I'm nearing the end of my first YA-just want to make sure the word count is right.

Lora R. Rivera said...

Chapter WC? I don't think there is one, not really. I think in general the chapter lengths get shorter as you moved down from adult to YA to MG to chapter books. And I've found myself that my MG chapts tend to sit around 10 pages, give or take. But I agree with Angelina that chapter length will fit the book.

But WC for YA sits at 50-90K, with genre fic (sci-fi/f) taking the upper range. Stick to 70K to play it safe.

anthony stemke said...

My spouse is a budding YA author. As to how many words, 50,000 sounds about right, except for her work. She has read it to me so many times it feels like 50 million words. cm
But I certainly do not mind as it is a fabulous historical YA with fascinating characters and a great rolling narrative that grips the reader.

Michelle Fayard said...

Hi, Kathy,

I don't think there is a word count range for each chapter of a YA novel. Some of mine are quite short, while others might 2,500 or more words. I let the rhythm of my book guide me, always ending on a suspenseful note to compel readers to turn that page. I just make sure the chapters never are too long, as I think people like seeing that white space.

Regarding the total word count, I agree the range can be anywhere from 50,000 to 90,000, with genres such as science fiction and fantasy getting away with the longer lengths. I'd say 65,000 to 75,000 words would be excellent, as long as they're all solid words and not padding. As the king said in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, "Begin at the beginning and go on 'till you come to the end: Then stop."


Laura Barnes said...

I've never found a word count for chapters. I wouldn't worry so much about that until after your entire book is done and then go back and see if you can spot the best breaks. For total books, I use this is a great link:

McKenzie McCann said...

Well, I think most young adults don't want to read a REALLY long book. It's intimidating. I'd think shorter rather than longer.

As far as chapters go? Psht. I don't think it matters.

Amanda Milner said...

Chapter length will vary with the flow of your story. I try to not go into a new scene in the same chapter and hopefully end each chapter with a hook to get the reader to read the next. ;)
MS word count, like everyone is saying should stay somewhere between 60,000 to 90,000. ☺

Siv Maria said...

Ooooo, Great question, been wondering the same thing!

JRo - Jaye Robin Brown said...

I think Angelina has it right - with some falling near the 50K range and the higher range (90k) being for fantasy and books with more world building. There is a site - the one for AR reading where you can look up the word count for most books:

Just type in the name of the book and it pulls up all sorts of info including the word count on the right hand side of the list. Very interesting.

And one of the things I think so unique about YA is the chapters themselves can be used as writing devices. I just finished reading Laurie Halse Anderson's WINTERGIRLS and one entire two page chapter is the words "I MUST NOT EAT' (or something like that - it's about eating disorders) in caps repeated across those two pages.

Good luck with your YA!

kathy stemke said...

Thank you all for your great input.

Deana said...

I've not heard about a chapter word length but mine seem to be around 10 pages.

As for the novel, it looks like you have your answer 50-90K. 90 for more world building sci fi and lower for MG kind of stuff. I try to play it safe in the 70ish range.

Melodie said...

Thanks for asking this question! I assumed what the other posters have said but it's good to know I was right. My WIP is currently 83K but I plan to edit down to 75K at least. Good luck with yours!

Kate Larkindale said...

I've never heard of a chapter word limit. I think you need to write the chapters the length you want to write them. Or don't use chapters at all, which I've done with two of my books.

As for total word count, I've heard that around 70K is about right, but anything from 50K - 90K is fine, depending on genre.

Theresa Milstein said...

Good question! I've heard that even 50k is okay. I've also heard not to go too high unless it's world-building.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I've heard a couple of authors talk about it. Some want to keep the chapters short enough the reader thinks as s/he looks at the late hour that s/he can read just one more chapter (because they're short).

Christina said...

good question.. thank u to all ur input...
web design

Anonymous said...

Hi Kathy,

Here is a great website I found by agent Jennifer Laughran. It walks you through what she believes, as an agent, the word counts should look like. There is nothing on chapter word count. I had been wondering the same thing. I saw a few post 10 pages or so is their average. I'm wondering how many words make up a page for a novel? I'm guessing it's not the same as in Microsoft Word?? I have no idea on this.. Haha! Hope this helps!