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 250 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.

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

Average novel page counts

How many pages should a novel have?

A 300-page book, with 300 words per page, has a word count average of 90,000 words

A 200-page book, would have about 60,000 words.

So that’s an easy way to estimate, assuming the industry standard of 300 words per page.

Here’s a list of classic and famous books, with their word counts and page numbers

Book TitleAuthorWord CountPage Count
The Grapes of WrathJohn Steinbeck169,481464
Catch-22Joseph Heller174,269544
The Fellowship of the RingJ.R.R. Tolkien177,227432
The Poisonwood BibleBarbara Kingsolver177,679576
Great ExpectationsCharles Dickens183,349544
Little Women (Books 12)Louisa May Alcott183,833759
Jane EyreCharlotte Brontë183,858532
Wuthering HeightsEmily Brontë107,945416
Pride and PrejudiceJane Austen122,011432
FrankensteinMary Shelley73,804280
Moby-DickHerman Melville206,052625
The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnMark Twain110,000366
The Scarlet LetterNathaniel Hawthorne63,604238
1984George Orwell88,942328
Animal FarmGeorge Orwell29,966112
The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald47,094180
To Kill a MockingbirdHarper Lee100,388281
One Hundred Years of SolitudeGabriel Garcia Marquez144,523457
A Tale of Two CitiesCharles Dickens135,420544
Don QuixoteMiguel de Cervantes386,0591056
Crime and PunishmentFyodor Dostoevsky211,591545
War and PeaceLeo Tolstoy587,2871392
Anna KareninaLeo Tolstoy349,736864
Les MiserablesVictor Hugo530,9821232
The Brothers KaramazovFyodor Dostoevsky349,736912
The Picture of Dorian GrayOscar Wilde78,422254
Lord of the FliesWilliam Golding59,900208
Brave New WorldAldous Huxley64,531288
Fahrenheit 451Ray Bradbury46,118158
Their Eyes Were Watching GodZora Neale Hurston50,954219
BelovedToni Morrison97,966275

How many words are in a sentence or paragraph?

The number of words in a sentence or paragraph can vary greatly depending on the context and the style of writing.

A sentence typically consists of a subject and a predicate, so it can technically be as short as two words, for example, “He runs.” However, sentences can be longer and more complex, containing multiple clauses. On average, a sentence may contain around 15-20 words, but this can vary depending on the style and purpose of the writing.

A paragraph, on the other hand, usually contains multiple sentences that focus on a single idea or point. In academic writing, a paragraph might average around 100-200 words. In more casual or conversational writing, like in blog posts or articles, paragraphs can be much shorter, sometimes just one sentence long.

Again, these are just averages and can vary depending on the context, the writing style, the medium, and the intended audience.

How many words are in a book?

The number of words in a book can vary greatly depending on the genre, the audience, and the author’s style. Here are some rough averages for different types of books:

  1. Novels: Typically, a novel for adults can range from 70,000 to 120,000 words. For example, a mystery novel might be on the shorter end, around 70,000 to 90,000 words, while a historical fiction novel might be on the longer end, around 100,000 to 120,000 words.
  2. Young Adult Novels: Young adult (YA) novels can range from about 50,000 to 100,000 words.
  3. Middle Grade Books: Middle grade books can range from about 20,000 to 50,000 words.
  4. Children’s Picture Books: Picture books for younger children usually have fewer words, often ranging from 500 to 1,000 words.
  5. Non-Fiction Books: Non-fiction books can vary greatly in length depending on the subject matter. A typical non-fiction book might range from 70,000 to 120,000 words.
  6. Novellas: Novellas are shorter than full-length novels, usually ranging from about 20,000 to 50,000 words.

Remember, these are rough averages, and there are always exceptions. The most important thing is that the book tells its story or conveys its information effectively, regardless of the word count.

Is 50,000 words too short for a novel?

Yes, usually. Anything less than 50,000 words is considered a novella.

But, 50,000 words is the perfect length for a rough draft. When I use my 24 chapter outline templates, I try to make each chapter have two scenes, of about 1000 words each – so roughly 50K for a barebones plot structure with everything there. Then I do 5 rounds of editing and revision, which will push more over 75K.

Novella length: how many pages is a novella

A novella should probably be at least 15K. And if your novels is shorter than 50K it’s not a huge deal – maybe you’re writing a series. But readers may expect a certain amount of content based on the price point, so it’s worth figuring out at least how to make sure the story satisfies them.

Short story length

Short stories can range from 1000 to 15000 words, but the average length for professional short stories that get published is 3K to 5K. Shorter than 1000 words and it would be flash or micro-fiction.

A kid’s book or story book (with pictures) is usually about 32 pages long, and between 500 to 1000 words altogether (600 is a good number to shoot for).

How to write and edit a book

If you’re writing a book and worried about word count, it’s probably because:
A) your book is too long and you’re not sure what to cut out


B) your book is too short and you’re not sure how to add volume.

These are different problems but they can both be fixed.

I have a ton of tools you can play with to improve your writing, as well as writing resources that will improve your writing. But here’s some useful stuff you might enjoy:

How many words are in a sentence or paragraph?

Fiction scene checklist & common writing mistakes

Plotting is important, but even when you have the right stuff in the right place, it doesn’t mean your story will be any good. The fastest and easiest way to resolve that is to use this scene checklist, which includes the 3 types of conflict you should include.

And then check these out:

Best book writing software

Personally I still use microsoft word, but if you’re looking for something a little more powerful, there are some good alternatives. There’s also some new AI software which can be great for brainstorming story ideas, doing research (name generation, even suggesting plot outlines – and then for editing and revising. Writing is hard enough already; use any tool that helps in any way, even if it just relieves the burden on your brainpower, which is an exhaustive resource that you need to protect.

If you want to play with something new and fun:

I made a handy chart for when to reveal crucial information; it’s a response to the questions the characters are seeking. Basically, never give info for free – it has to be asked for first (noticed the lack) and resisted (difficult to find) before the reveal will be meaningful.

You keep what’s important private and hidden until it is forced out of you. I made a clever little graphic for when you should be revealing what type of information, depending on what type of questions your protagonist is asking.

In the beginning, they’ll be asking

  • What is going on?” then,
  • Who is doing this” or “Who am I?” and finally
  • Why is all this happening” or
  • “why am I willing to sacrifice everything for this…”– you don’t get to the big reveals or why’s or critical, full backstory flashback until very late in the book, often in the middle of the final battle scene (that’s a whole thing on its own but I have a video about that too).
story reveal cheatsheet