December 14, 2005

Word Counts and Book Length

Word Counts and Book Length - Novella vs. Novel, etc.

From Lori Copeland, an easy to follow word count listing:

20-25,000 words
80-100 pages
10-12 pages per chapter

Short Contemporary
50,000-60,000 words
200-240 pages
18-20 pages per chapter

Long Contemporary
70,000-80,000 words
280-320 pages
18-20 pages per chapter

Short Historical /Mainstream
90-100,000 words
360-400 pages
18-20 pages per chapter

Long Historical/ Mainstream
432-480 pages
18-20 pages per chapter

From another source, posting at Wikipedia:

Epic: A work of 200,000 words or more.
Novel: A work of 60,000 words or more.
Novella: A work of at least 17,500 words but under 60,000 words.
Novelette: A work of at least 7,500 words but under 17,500 words.
Short story: A work of at least 2,000 words but under 7,500 words. (1,000 words minimum by some definitions)
Flash fiction: A work of less than 2,000 words. (1,000 by some definitions)

What's the distinction?

Novellas and Novels and Novelettes are not only good names for cats, but labels for various types of books. This article at Wikipedia provides a good starting point if you're interested in studying the distinctions between them and say, the short story.... and for a list of novella examples to peruse:

Animal Farm (1945) George Orwell
Anthem (1938) Ayn Rand
The Beast in the Jungle (1903) Henry James
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958) Truman Capote
Cascade Point (1983) Timothy Zahn
Casino Royale (1953) by Ian Fleming
A Clockwork Orange (1962) Anthony Burgess
The Decameron (1353) Giovanni Boccaccio -- a collection of novellas; the novellas in it are generally recognized as the first novellas
Different Seasons (1982) Stephen King -- a collection of novellas
Four Past Midnight (1990) Stephen King -- a collection of novellas
Heart of Darkness (1902) Joseph Conrad
The Metamorphosis (1915) Franz Kafka
The Old Man and the Sea (1952) Ernest Hemingway
Oroonoko (1688) Aphra Behn
The Pearl (1945) John Stein****
Shopgirl (2001) Steve Martin
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) Robert Louis Stevenson
The Turn of the Screw (1898) Henry James
The War of the Worlds (1898) H.G. Wells
Young Zaphod Plays it Safe (1986) Douglas Adams
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