Monday, January 19, 2009

First Novel Word Count

Marsha's comment on my post on maximum word counts for first novels proves that I wasn't alone in my ignorance. Of course, nothing is set in stone here, just solid recommendations for an easier (if it can ever be easy) path to an agent's door.

The following two blogs are worth reading: Blood Red Pencil and Fiction Factor.

For a very detailed account of all things related to this, along with hundreds of other tips for making your manuscript agent-worthy, you must read Author! Author! Anne Mini's amazing blog. You name it, she covers it. You can spend hours poring over her postings, but every one of them is a gem. I challenge you to find one thing that you didn't find of value to your writing journey.

I set my Word Counter to show the maximum 90,000 words as the goal, and my newly reducing word count which results from the daily pruning. So now I still show 100% complete, but each day the current words will be getting lower and lower.

Did you know that an italicized word or words should always be underlined in the final manuscript? Apparently italics don't show up well in Courier or Times New Roman, which is the font you should be using for submission. This is just another little thing I'd overlooked through all my research.

And one more that I missed: when you want to show a true paragraph break, where you include an extra line space, you should include the Hash or Pound sign # as a clear indicator for the copy editor, because if your break comes at the end of a page, where an automatic break can occur anyway, you need to be clear that this is, or isn't, a true break point. Hope that makes sense.

Stay well, out there - especially all you folks hanging around in Washington over the next day or so. Poor Kit in England still has the dreaded cough bug. When I read her posting today, I developed one, too, out of sympathy.


Kit Courteney said...

Stop coughing.

I'm doing enough for several people.

Believe me :0(

Kit Courteney said...

I've given you an award. If you want to display it and take part, please do, but don't feel you have to - it can be a little time-consuming, depending how many you pass on!

Su_H said...

Hey Fran, you think you have a problem? My WOTR novel weighs in at just over 400,000 words, which is shorter than War and Peace and shorter than Mists of Avalon, I only look at what its shorter than lol. That's how long it took to reach its natural conclusion (in my humble opinion. Only time will tell, but I can give examples of first novels almost as long as that. :-)