Writing Books/word count and book length
QUESTION: I am working on a novel and haven't really paid attention to word count until recently. Suddenly I've discovered that my 186 page novel has 152,217 words in it, and I'm not done telling the story. I've looked on line and am finding that a lot of popular current books are only half of that word count. Yet I think that to cut the story in half would destroy the flow. What should I do?
ANSWER: Hi, Joy!
First, if you have 152K words, and only 186 pages, you must be single-spacing your manuscript. An agent or editor will want to see the manuscript double-spaced, so you might as well get accustomed to typing that way. You'll discover that your manuscript will be around 420-450 pages, which does make it a long book. But much depends on the genre. Fantasy novels can easily be 120K, which wouldn't make it that much to cut. Historical romance and some thrillers is often a long book as well, so there is hope! What genre are you writing?
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QUESTION: Thank you Cathy.
The book I am writing is fantasy. I took the first 12 chapters, which I consider to be only the beginning of the story, and set them into a font size that I found suggested for average page length. This turned 148 pages into 516 and brought my word count to approximately 121,000. But yes, it is single spaced. I'm not entirely sure what you mean when you say double spaced though. Should there be 2 spaces between each word, or just at the end of each sentence?
I think at this point I am just going to keep writing the whole story and not worry about length until it is done. I'll have to get an editor anyway, and I guess it would be better to let them or the publisher make a decision about if it should be cut into half. I think I may be too close to the story to be able to make that choice for myself.
ANSWER: Hi, again, Joy!
Double spaced is the space between LINES, not words. What word processing program are you using to type? I'll tell you how to put it it in double spacing.
I agree to not worry about it until it's done. Once you're completed, pop back here and I'll tell you more about the process to move forward toward publication. :)
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QUESTION: Thank you so much again Cathy.
I am writing with Microsoft Works Word Processor from Vista. Right now its just set on the standard that it normally runs on. My pages have been written on font size 10, which is why I didn't realize I had written as much as I had.
I haven't taken an English course in 14 years, so I'm sure I'm making all kinds of errors that will frustrate me later.
Here's how you change the line spacing.
For NEW text (since Works is like MSWord in that commands are "from here and after" and won't affect what you've done already.)
1. If you go to the top bar, look for "Format". Click on it.
2. Look for the word "Paragraph...". Click on it.
3. Click on the top tab that says "Spacing".
4. The third line is "Line Spacing" Click on the arrow next to "Single"
5. Move your mouse down until "Double" is highlighted. Click on it.
That's it! Future text will be doublespaced.
Now, if you want to doublespace what you've already done, go to the very top of the document, click until your cursor is at the very top left corner and press down on the 'Shift' key on your keyboard. While holding down the 'Shift' key, use your down-arrow key to scroll down to the very bottom of the document. While still holding down the 'Shift' key, put your mouse cursor at the very last character of the manuscript and click. It will cause all of the text to be highlighted in blue. This is known as "select text." Then, follow the steps above for NEW text, and all of the previous text will be doublespaced as well. :)
Hope that helps! Good luck, and let me know if you have any other questions.