My first book (the one that was terrible in every respect and failed) was just over 120,000 words long. For my current (hopefully better) book, ‘Rise of the Sparrows’, I’m aiming for around 100,000 or slightly more.

Today I came across this wonderful blog called The Write Practice, which suggests around 110,000 words for fantasy novels and it got me thinking!


When you start a new book, do you set yourself an overall word count? How much does the word count matter to you, either as a writer or as a reader? I have read some very long books which have easily shot past the suggested 110,000 words, but I have also seen mystery books or thrillers with barely 60,000 words.

When I started ‘Rise of the Sparrows’ I didn’t think about how many words it should have by the time I’m done, I just wanted to get this story out of my system. I didn’t start thinking more seriously about what the overall word count could be until I had started writing it, but my only real comparison was my previous failure of a book. While I have set myself 100,000 as a goal I’m not married to it and am happy to adjust.

How do you feel about it? Is the overall word count important when you start writing or would you rather write 10,000 more than cut your story short?