children's writer

Novel Too Short

Jan 20, 2012
If there's one thing I've learned during my writing journey it's that I have the tendency to write short, really short. My last novel came in at 43,000 words. Truthfully, when it's all said and done and that novel is ready for submission to agents I get a bit nervous. No, a lot nervous. I worry that my writing style might be a less of a pro and more of a con.

I know that 43,000 words is fine for a YA novel, especially YA contemporary, but I've been looking up ways on how to "beef" up novels that are lacking in the word count department.

Some of the articles I found said to:
  • Add a new subplot 
  • Add a new character
  • Flesh out an existing character
  • Or, add a twist to the story line 

They're all awesome tips, and they've helped me pinpoint exactly what could me lacking in my novels. Sometimes though the word count of a novel may be lesser than average simply because it has to be.

Does anyone else out there write "short?"
11 comments on "Novel Too Short"
  1. I consider myself a sparse writer also...my contemorary YA books are in the 45-75K range. I like the pace efficiency gives me, esp for the lighter tone YA I'm going for.

    So, as one of my high school English teachers always said when we asked how long our papers needed to be: "Long enough to be done."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one. "Long enough to be done." I really like that quote. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  2. I had that issue but then I sent it to a CP of mine and said 'here's my ms. It's short so if there is anything you'd like to see MORE of, let me know.'

    When I got the critique back there were two spots she wanted more and it added 5,000 words. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Critique partners are always useful in that department, which is exactly why I'm having someone look over a novel of mine even though I swore I was finished with it.

      Delete
  3. I'm the opposite. My word count tends to be large, then I have to go through the ms and find areas to cut. Sigh:) You and Kelley are right. Critique partners are invaluable in helping us to see our work clearly and without those rose-tinted glasses...of love for the words and worlds we create.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish my word counts were large, so cutting wouldn't be that much of an issue. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  4. Is the story the one that you wanted to tell? Are there any holes that you could fill in? If not, I wouldn't worry about the word count as much. Interesting post - new follower :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I usually OVER write on the first draft, so I'm jealous! I cut so much anyway, it's like I might as well have skimped on the word count. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for the comments, Tasha and Alexis. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I also tend to under-write. When I wrote my first draft, there were a lot of holes in some scenes so I had to flesh them out during revisions. But you're right - contemporary YA can be shorter. That's the genre I'm writing too. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. My first two manuscripts, I wrote long (more than 70K and one was upper-MG). My current WIP was 60K at the first draft, which felt short to me. But now that I'm revising it, I think there's a lot to trim.
    I wish I wrote short, because I find it easier to add in revisions than take away. Grass is greener!

    ReplyDelete