Monday, February 23, 2015

How Important is Word Count?

When I write, I tend to keep an eye on the word count. If the word count is going up, I’m feeling great about making progress. If it isn’t moving or even going down I’m like “Oh no, no, no!” Yes, it can go down if I edit out unnecessary words or even entire scenes. I’ve also noticed a trend on Amazon where customers give low ratings to books they felt were too short. Today’s e-reader seems to always want more. That’s good in a lot of ways. Yet, it’s also bad because it influences authors to only write big.

However, here are some famous novels that are short.

17,084 - Macbeth - William Shakespeare
25,204 - I Am Legend - Richard Matheson
26,602 - The Old Man and The Sea - Ernest Hemingway
28,944 - A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
29,160 - Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
29,996 - Animal Farm - George Orwell
30,644 – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
35,968 – Old Yeller – Fred Gipson
36,363 – Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
46,118 – Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
47,094 – The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
47,180 – The Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane
48,523 – The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton
56,695 – As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
59,635 – Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
59,900 – Lord of the Flies – William Golding
63,604 – The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
66,556 – The Color Purple – Alice Walker
66,950 – Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
67,203 – The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

When I came across this list, I couldn’t help thinking that quality over quantity is something that should be appreciated. I love and admire these classic stories, but they were written in a pre-ebook era. Yet, this list made me feel like I’m more productive than I realize. What do you think? 

Writing Update:

My blogging goal is to post once a week. I sighed up for the  A to Z blogging challenge this year and joined the Reveal Blogfest and will announce my theme on March 23rd. My theme isn't that big of a deal, but I do feel confident because it's so easy.  

I’m still editing Rebel Shifter and not getting it done as fast as I had hoped. I have a cover and blurb ready, but I have to be closer to publishing before I post it.

Meanwhile, Amazon has managed to delay me from filing my taxes. I can only think they send their 1099’s by the slowest snail mail possible because it arrived almost two weeks late. Then I got an email saying it’s wrong and to disregard it. This email came a week later, and some authors filed already. Thankfully I didn’t. Then they mailed another one out February 13th, and it finally came on the 21st. I can only imagine the millions of 1099’s Amazon has to send out and, no doubt, the potential for errors is great. I’m sure they must’ve considered having these 1099’s available online, but perhaps they don’t feel safe doing that yet. 

And now….back to writing. Have a great week! 


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Frustrating when you're just trying to finish your taxes I'm sure.
Glad you signed up for the Challenge.
I don't mind shorter books. I can read more stories that way.
And so far my own have come in around the 75,000 mark.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I can't believe you didn't include every novel by Kurt Vonnegut. Seriously, short novels with one page chapters that pack a huge punch. My favorite? Cat's Cradle.

Pat Dilloway said...

Everything I've written in the last year has been short. When it comes to gender swap erotica, shorter is better.

Cherie Reich said...

Some stories can be told with less words than other stories, and that's okay. I think it's worse to pad a story with unnecessary words just to make it longer.

Good luck with Rebel Shifter!

Ugh, taxes! I hate having to do them. I usually procrastinate until late March or so before I get around to doing mine.