- Short Story – 1,500 to 20,000 words
- Novella – 30,000 to 50,000 words
- Novel – 55,000 – 125,000 words
They say that the ideal average for a first-time novelist is between 80,000 and 100,000 words. One exception to the 100,000 limit is fantasy and science fiction. Even then, if they can be longer, maybe they shouldn’t be.
So here are AutoCrit’s tips on trimming—these are things I commonly do with my editing clients (I’m currently working on a 150,000-word fantasy novel):
- Look to shortening your sentences and dialogue, and removing unnecessary exposition.
- Are there any scenes that solely exist to highlight a certain part of a character’s personality or motivation, without actually moving the plot forward? If so, how could you inject this character beat into a different, existing scene?
- Are you running away with too many subplots that don’t have meaningful impact on the main story or characters? You might want to nix some.
- Be completely honest with yourself – if something isn’t crucial to keeping your story moving, chop it. It can be easy to trim 30,000 words from a manuscript when you’re ruthless about efficiency.
That last one is one of the best rules and the easiest to deal with—just use the delete key.
© 2017 Ray Rhamey
My books. You can read sample chapters and learn more about the books here.
Writing Craft Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling
Fantasy (satire) The Vampire Kitty-cat Chronicles
Mystery (coming of age) The Summer Boy
Science Fiction Hiding Magic
Science Fiction Gundown Free ebooks.