Word Count

MS Word for Writers Intermediate Skills You Wish You'd Known Before You Started Writing Your Book
5 minutes
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Word count is something we're very conscious of as writers, we're usually aiming for a certain amount of words in our finished document, or perhaps even per chapter. And Microsoft Word makes this very easy to keep track of. So, from your document being open, look down into the lower left hand corner for the easiest way to locate this, you'll not only see the word count of the entire document, which in this case is 56,993, for a novella, but you'll also see the page number that your cursor is currently located on and the total page count thus far. And bear in mind, that's page count of the size of document that you're working on right now. So if you're writing in letter size, that won't be your finished trim size, so they're not quite equivalent. If you perhaps want to know just the word count of a section, maybe what you wrote today, highlight that small subsection, and you'll See in that word count area at the lower left, just that portion of words first out of the other total.

So you could do word count for what you wrote today, perhaps per each chapter to make sure you have a balanced length in your finished novel, or nonfiction work. But there are also some other elements you can determine if you want to buzz over to the review tab here. And in the left hand corner, click on word count. It will give us a few additional details. In addition to the pages and the word count that we saw before, perhaps you're writing for Twitter, or a blog that has a specific character count limit, it will, this feature will also give you those counts with and without spaces. And be sure and ask which one you're writing to.

Because you'll see it does make a huge difference the number of spaces there in the words. This is also a way that you could find out total number of paragraphs in your document or line numbers, which becomes more interesting in poetry, I think for total line numbers of a work. Now, you may also be interested in, you may have tapped into this lesson to learn about word count in your various writing field. So I've put together a quick and dirty list of word count that agents and editors will often be looking for. Just know that it's the Wild West out there right now, and you will find a wide variety of word count in actual practice, but this is just to get you started. So if you're writing adult nonfiction, in mainstream traditional publishing, you're probably looking somewhere in the 50 to 80,000 words and I'd usually advise on that higher side if you're submitting to agents and editors.

However, I've seen many authority building business books, works created by entrepreneurs and business leaders simply to elevate their position and standing as perhaps a coach if they're going to launch a video courses or something and want to use a book as a lead generation for that weighing in at only 30 to 50,000 words. So just know that there's a variety possible, even within these large genres. So, in adult novels and memoir, literary mainstream women's fiction, romance, mystery, suspense, even thriller and horror, we're typically looking for works around 60 to 80,000 words after editing. So just note that you're probably going to start with significantly more words 70 to 90,000 is very common in first or even polished drafts that are submitted that will go through professional editing process. In science fiction and fantasy, however, that word count goes way up, because readers in that genre expect a larger book often there's world building involved and that can take up a significant portion of the writing time.

So 100 to 115,000 words. They're westerns, though, are typically shorter. So something in the 50 to 80,000 word range will put you in good stead. Now, if you're writing for younger readers, young adult novels, typically we'll begin about 55 to 80,000 words, you'll notice that they are very similar now to adult novels in length and scope. That area has blossomed in the last 10 to 15 years or so after Harry Potter because many of the Young Adult Top hits were Top hits because not only young adults were reading them, but also adults and even older adults. So that word count can be just as long as a regular novel in the adult realm, middle grade readers, these are the younger crew so typically I would say first through third grade you're looking for lower word count.

Those first grade often are known as easy readers. So probably beginning the age 10 to 12. readers, we're looking here at 20 to 35,000 words, and the later middle grade. So third through fifth or even sixth grade expands in length 35 to 55,000. Words, be sure and browse the bookshelves at your local library or bookstore when you're beginning to write and have a look and see what's contemporary, what's going on right now, in terms of manuscript length, and that will be just as good a guide as word count as you begin to write. When you get closer to the end, then you'll have a even better idea of what's going to work out for your particular work with your set of characters and plot. And just try to say in the norm for your genre that should get you started.

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