Estimating Novel Length

I spoke too soon when I said I have another 10 to 15000 words easily before the novel is finished. Well, as of yesterday, the novel is finished but it is just shy of 27,000 words. I’m not sure if my story is just a novella or if I’m just a really spare writer. I’ll need to read through to get a better idea. From what I can tell though, this is the opposite of the usual problem of 100,000 or 200,000 word novels that the authors have to pare down.  In any case, I need to get better at estimating how long a novel will be before I start writing or I need to write better (if the problem is the way I write). As I write more, either or both of these problems will go away. But until then, anyone have any tips for estimating how long a novel will be just from the number of clues and suspects? Of course, it depends on the author as well, but I’m looking for some personal stories and heuristics.


Day 27

Like I said, the novel is done. Lots of plot holes to fill. Protip: If you keep adding suspects as you write the book, you’re gonna have a bad time editing. 🙂 It’s not all gloom and doom though. I finished a NOVELLA! Just need to add more stuff to get it novel-sized. I think the biggest mistake I have made is the lack of a backstory in many places and adding those in should bring up the word count. I think I’ll keep tracking the word count so I have a better idea of how the novel size rises and falls as I switch over from writing to editing. It should make for a very interesting graph at the end of it all. This is also the first day that I have fallen behind in my overall word count. I had a zero day a few days back but I had enough of a lead that it didn’t matter too much. Besides, I have been traveling for the past four days, so that’s my excuse.

Time:  4:45p-5:30p

Word Count: 890 (26739)


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