How many pages should a novel have and how many words per chapter.

How many pages should a novel have and how many words per chapter.

I see this question a lot so here’s a quick answer:

Novels are typically 250 to 350 pages; with about 200 to 300 words per page.

This will depend on genre and word count.

Average novels are 75K to 95K, though some genres can go longer – still, it’s very rare for a novel to have more than 150,000 words altogether, and if you’re angling for a publishing deal, anything longer than 100K will raise eyebrows (in a bad way).

It has nothing to do with the book, it’s just about what can fit in a standardized product.

That said, longer word counts are often a sign of weak and amateur writing: they point to an author who hasn’t learned what to cut, or how to trim, so that the story is revealed without all the extra padding.

It’s about cutting the excess and leaving the core, like sharpening a knife.

Sometimes, fantasy writers will have written 300,000 words of an epic story, and insist that it’s *all* crucial and necessary. The easy advice is to split this into three books: not only to be able to package and market it as a series, but also because – with ONE long story, you won’t have the right turning points in each section, and it will be slow and plodding.

A 75K book, means that with my 24 chapter outline, each chapter is about 3000 words; and I have two sections in each chapter. Having more BREAKS is crucial, because a scene manifests until the point of change, when something new happens. Having more chapters and scenes, keeps you focused on what is actually happening, rather than backstory filler that isn’t active.

Moreover, if you’re using my basic Plot Dot writing formula, each major turning point happens in 25% sections, or 12.5% for the inbetween sections. That means, regardless of what’s happening in the chapters, you’ll reach big, pivotal, satisfying story progression markers every 9000 words or so.

If you just have one massive sprawling story, it’ll probably be missing these.

And the story has to have momentum and pacing, or readers will give up hope that it’s all leading them somewhere.

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