The Importance of Word Count

Why is there so much talk about how many words a writer writes?

Because words have meaning. They carry weight. They paint pictures, but they can also bog the reader or the story down.

Word count determines how long your story will be and that will determine whether it is a piece of Flash Fiction, a Short Story, a Novella, or a Novel. Yes, each of these has a range of acceptable word count.

So, should you write 1,000 words or less, 3,000-5,000 words, 30,000-45,000 words, 65,000-120,000 words? That depends on which of the items above you want to write. It may also depend on your genre or whether your are writing for Silhouette Romances or a Fantasy Novel, etc.

I have had people praise my writing. Several have told me, “You are a good writer. You don’t waste words. Every word you use counts.” Of course, that made me feel good. However, because of that, I have to be sure that I work hard to include the things my readers want in my writing as well as maybe include a few more scenes, which means coming up with a few more conflicts, in order to produce the proper-size novel.

What do I mean “what my readers want in my writing”? Well, my critique partners say I do not include enough description of things like the weather on a particular day or what a place looks like nor do I include enough of my characters’ internal thoughts.

Therefore, while others may have to cut words when they do their revisions, I will most likely have to add words/scenes.

What have you learned about your writing in regard to word count?

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