I am in my sixth year of writing Pride and Prejudice variations, and most of my books would probably be considered novellas or novelettes. However, in doing research for this post, I found that the length required for each of these varies. Especially in the case of what constitutes a novel, the word count is quite different.
Wikipedia’s article on ‘Word Count’ brought out the following information.
Novelist Jane Smiley suggests that length is an important quality of the novel. However, novels can vary tremendously in length; Smiley lists novels as typically being between 100,000 and 175,000 words, while National Novel Writing Month requires its novels to be at least 50,000 words. There are no firm rules: for example, the boundary between a novella and a novel is arbitrary and a literary work may be difficult to categorize. But while the length of a novel is to a large extent up to its writer, lengths may also vary by subgenre; many chapter books for children start at a length of about 16,000 words, and a typical mystery novel might be in the 60,000 to 80,000 word range while a thriller could be well over 100,000 words.
|Novel||40,000 words or over|
|Novella||17,500 to 39,999 words|
|Novelette||7,500 to 17,499 words|
|Short story||under 7,500 words|
So, there are different opinions as to the length of each fiction work. Although some of my books are considered novels and other novellas, I don’t write to get a certain length book. However, I do write until I feel like the book is finished.
Darcy Chooses – The Complete Novel is the longest book I’ve written at 150,000 words which includes the prequel Darcy and Bingley at about 12,000 words and Darcy Chooses Parts 1 and 2.
A while back, Stephen King mentioned that novellas would become more popular due to the time constraints people have in their lives. By the time they work, raise their families, have a certain amount of recreation in their lives, and upkeep their houses, etc., there is not a lot of time to read. I’m fortunate that because I work out of my house, I can make a lot of time to read…if I wish to. Unfortunately, I love to read, especially Pride and Prejudice variations, and could read just about 24/7 if I wasn’t careful. 🙂
I must confess that lately I’ve been more inclined to read rather than write and must get back to work soon. What I have to consider is: Do I write novellas with less intricate plots that will have a faster pace and will be preferred by those who have less time to indulge in reading or do I endeavor to write lengthy novels for those who like a long plot and a lot of details?
However, there are problems that have appeared with both lengths of books. With the novellas, those who look for problems are critical of the length, the plot, not enough time between problems arising and being solved, and just not enough information in general to suit them. With the novels, the complaints might include it’s too long, it’s too repetitious, ‘I got bored’, ‘I didn’t finish it’, etc, etc.
So, what am I considering? Since most of my books tend toward 40,000-60,000 words, I will probably have future books at a novella length. But if a particular book requires more words, I will write more. Whatever the book needs to make it complete is what I aim for, and, hopefully, each book will be of a length that will satisfy its readers. 🙂
The question that arises is how many e-book or paperback pages is a novel for instance? Darcy Chooses is 552 pages and 150,000 words. Elizabeth’s Choice is 206 pages and 56,000 words, and Darcy Vs Bingley is 239 pages with 59,000 words. My Four Lords Books vary from 25,000-43,000 words.
Although the paperback and Kindle pages should be the same, sometimes the Word doc. pages only show if Amazon doesn’t update the pages when the paperback is published. Kindle and paperback pages are actually about 39% higher than the Word doc. pages because of the smaller size. i.e. Word doc. pages are 100. Then the Kindle and paperback pages total will be 139-140.
Please let me know whether you prefer novels or novellas and why in your comments below. Thank you.
Reference: Wikipedia Word Count