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Author: Subject: Word Count, Chapter length
BakedGoodies
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[*] posted on 7/2/2010 at 07:54 PM
Word Count, Chapter length


I'm on my first draft of a YA novel. I've searched around online and found that the major consensus for a YA novel is around 40k-80k words. But it is a paranormal/romance blend, which someone suggested should be around 100k (even for a YA!).

So has anyone had any experience with this genre? What should I aim for?

Also, on chapter length. Just to see my progress, I formatted my .doc as consensus mss format (Courier, 12pt, double spaced) and I've found most of my chapters falling around 8-11 pages. Is that too short? I'm thinking it is, but also assume that in my rewrite, they'll fatten out more.

Overall: How many words in a YA Paranormal/Romance novel and how many pages should a chapter aim for?

Thanks! :)




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Anita M Shaw
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[*] posted on 6/1/2013 at 10:39 PM


Okay, and old old post . . . Still . . . someone else might come along and need an answer.

I would check out other books like the one you're writing and see what their page count is. Probably they will be about 150-250 pages or so. That said, write until the story is done. My YA is at least 250 pages right now. Not a paranormal/romance, however. I'm in the process of final edits so we'll see what it is when I'm done. Could be more or less depending on what I feel needs to be done.

Your chapter lengths should be fine. No more than 12 pages is suggested. That said, sometimes they're longer, sometimes they're shorter--just depends on what's going on in that chapter, and how you want to convey it. Too, since your ms is double spaced, it stretches your chapters over more pages. Single spaced - which all books are finally printed with - will likely shrink your chapters considerably. Of course, if you're writing to be print published, by all means, follow the accepted format.

Since I self publish my work as ebooks, I don't double space nor do I use Courier. Actually hate that font! I don't think many agents/publishers ask for Courier nowadays. Most look for Times New Roman or a similar type font. I've used Bookman Old Style, Goudy Old Style, and Garamond. I like the first two best.




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[*] posted on 6/2/2013 at 01:36 PM


Twelve page chapters? Sounds like Patterson. :D



I seemed to be looking down from an immense height upon a twilit grotto, knee-deep with filth, where a white-bearded daemon swineherd drove about with his staff a flock of fungous, flabby beasts whose appearance filled me with unutterable loathing.

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MaryL
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[*] posted on 6/2/2013 at 04:07 PM


I think most anything goes nowadays. All three of my publishers use double-spaced TNR 12 for the editorial/submission phases.

Chapters are determined by the project and author. Patterson's YAs have even shorter chapters than his adult projects (which I didn't think was possible), many of them clocking in at 3-4 pages (750-1000 words).

My chapters generally fall between 2,000-3,000 words (8-12 pages). My adult projects tend to run longer per chapter.

My published YAs are 71k, 75k, and the longest, which is more literary and is an Edgar Allan Poe-based gothic murder mystery, is 102k. Evidently 50-80k is the commercial sweet spot for a traditionally published debut YA paranormal romance.

Again, there are no hard and fast rules with YA. Just when you think you've got it all figured out, someone does something crazy. :)

[Edited on 6/2/2013 by MaryL]




I write young adult novels for Penguin USA (Shattered Souls Series, Ashes on the Waves) and adult PNR for Entangled Publishing (Underveil series). http://www.marylindsey.com
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Nancy G.
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[*] posted on 6/2/2013 at 04:25 PM


Patterson's adult chapters are very short. It's not the shortness, exactly, that I don't like. It's that he (or whoever he has writing for him) could write longer chapters and it would be more interesting. It's like he leaves stuff out. But I really don't read Patterson any more.

My own chapters are short, so I'm not one to talk.




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MaryL
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[*] posted on 6/2/2013 at 04:30 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Nancy G.  
Patterson's adult chapters are very short. It's not the shortness, exactly, that I don't like. It's that he (or whoever he has writing for him) could write longer chapters and it would be more interesting. It's like he leaves stuff out. But I really don't read Patterson any more.


I totally agree, Nancy. I feel like many of his chapters could be combined in that they are not scene changes, only beat changes. I think it is to give the jerky effect of an old fashioned wooden roller coaster. I don't like wooden roller coasters, either. :frog:




I write young adult novels for Penguin USA (Shattered Souls Series, Ashes on the Waves) and adult PNR for Entangled Publishing (Underveil series). http://www.marylindsey.com
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chrisstevenson
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[*] posted on 6/2/2013 at 04:38 PM


My YA paranormal romance went about 95,000 words, only because I had no idea I was writing a YA. My chapters and those in all my adult books all fall into the 20-page area. I've always shot for 20 pages because it seems like I exhaust one or several scenes in it and the reader needs a breather.

However, my two most recent YA books, a SF dystopia and a fantasy, run about 68,000 words each and have 9 to 14 page chapters. I know this is right in the ball park (word-wise) but I feel I'm cheating the reader and myself because these books are so small. Yet they did have three complete acts and managed to contain a full and resolved storyline.

In the future, I'd like to shoot for at least 300 pages or 75,000 words on my next YA titles. Only because I want to be assured that I qualify for any type of minimum word count threshold for print.




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Anita M Shaw
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[*] posted on 6/5/2013 at 03:08 PM


The first chapter of my second romance novel is 30 pages or more. Takes place in a funeral home . . . just couldn't see how I could shorten it, or divide it. Well, I suppose I could've shortened it, but, I really didn't want to!

My first romance is 430 pages. About 250000 words. The second is half that. My YA is too. I can't seem to write anything less than that!

My boys all like long stories of 300 pages or more. They like a story to last, and really, so do I.

But, it seems like every writing course I took, I was told to keep things short. Short sentences, short paragraphs, short chapters--especially for the kids' books and YA, because they have shorter attention spans, or whatever. I don't always listen to that, either. Some of mine are short, some ain't. I agree, whatever it takes to get the job done.

I've never read Patterson, but my mother used to toss me a Barbara Cartland from time to time. I could see why she was reportedly banging them out, a new one every two weeks. Was like a skeleton . . . no meat on the bones. Her making Every sentence a new paragraph made me crazy. I quit reading them after a while.

I just edited a 34 page story for a client. Had fifty one chapters. Most were just a paragraph or two. I don't know what I ended up with, because I didn't number them or call them chapters even, just used her chapter titles, but it was way less than fifty one!





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Romance author site
http://www.NeenahDavisWilson.com

Kids' and YA Author site
http://www.AnitaMShaw.com

Writing is 3% talent and 97% not getting distracted by the Internet. --Anonymous
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Skwerly
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[*] posted on 6/5/2013 at 03:24 PM


That writing style isn't for me, I can tell you that. More chapters than pages! Oh, dear.



I seemed to be looking down from an immense height upon a twilit grotto, knee-deep with filth, where a white-bearded daemon swineherd drove about with his staff a flock of fungous, flabby beasts whose appearance filled me with unutterable loathing.

Just keep writing and the good stuff will come.
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[*] posted on 5/7/2015 at 05:43 PM


I've written three YA titles: one was 90,000 words, which was a paranormal romance. The two other titles ran almost exactly 67,000 words. Eight to 10 pages is safe, IMO.



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