Writing Tips 101 by Darlene Foster
Many people ask me how long a book should be. It´s kind of like the question, “How long is a piece of string?”
Basically your book should be as long as it needs to be, as long as it takes for you to tell the story in clear concise language. But it doesn’t hurt to keep some general guidelines in the back of your mind. Remember these are guidelines only. My books are Middle Grade/Children´s Chapter Books and are about 20,000 words.
According to a combination of several websites, here are some average book lengths:
- Children’s picture book: 0 – 1,000 words.
- Children’s chapter book: 4,000 –10,000 words.
- Middle grade: 30,000 – 50,000 words.
- Young Adult (YA): 40,000 – 70,000 words.
- Flash fiction: 500 words or less. Depending on contest/publication, can be as few as 100 words or as many as 1,000 words.
- Micro-Fiction: 100 words or less.
- Short Story: 1,000 – 10,000 words.
- Novella: 10,000 – 40,000 words.
- Novel: 50,000 -110,000 words.
- Epics and Sequels: 110,000 words or more.
- Adult literary and commercial fiction: 80,000 – 100,000 words.
- Memoirs, Biography, and Autobiography: 80,000 words.
Then there are average genre lengths:
- Sci-fi/Fantasy: 90,000 – 120,000 words. Anything over 150,000 words might be testing for your readers.
- Historical: 90,000 – 120,000 words.
- Romance: 50,000 – 100,000 words. The wide range for this genre is because of the number of sub-genres available: supernatural, erotica, historical, ‘chick-lit’, etc.
- Crime/Mystery/Thriller/Horror: 70,000 – 90,000 words.
I hope these general guidelines help as you work on your manuscript.
Brought up on a ranch in Alberta, Canada, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world and meeting interesting people. Following her dreams, she’s now an award-winning author of children’s travel adventure books, short stories and travel articles. She lives on the Costa Blanca of Spain with her husband and dog, Dot. She is a member of Writers’ Ink www.darlenefoster.ca