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Author Topic: YA Fantasy Word Count  (Read 1066 times)
Seanszlepcsik
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« on: March 07, 2018, 06:29:12 PM »

Hello! Currently my word count for my work is 50k words. i was told by a peer that it should be upwards of 100k as is pretty much uniform across the genre for a first time fantasy. My idea was to create shorter, action packed books leaving out much of the filler pages that i find plague many fantasy books. Now, i don't know how this would sit with agents so I've come here for advise. I have left my the manuscript of the first book of what will hopefully be a series at a huge cliffhanger. I theoretically could continue with the story, however, i thought it would be the best place for a new book to begin. If i do continue, the possibility is i may end up with a 100k+ manuscript with no possibility of a sequel. Thank you for your time.
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gckatz
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2018, 07:39:46 PM »

I wrote a blog post answering this exact question. A YA fantasy novel averages 83,000 words, plus or minus 15,000 or so. You probably won't be able to sell a 50k fantasy.

It also sounds like you aren't sure where the book should end, like you're writing one long narrative and then breaking it up into individual books. I don't advise this; virtually all debuts are pitched as stand-alones with the potential for sequels, because there's no guarantee that the sequel will sell.
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TigerAsh
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2018, 07:50:59 PM »

I think 50,000 words seems short for YA fantasy. Of course, there are outliers, but ideally I'd say you want to be around 80,000-100,000 words (give or take about 10,000 words). I totally agree with you that you should try to leave out "filler pages" as much as possible; everything you put in your book should be necessary in some fashion.

It's okay to end your book on a cliffhanger (although, you don't want the cliffhanger to be so huge that readers feel that the story is unfinished, or they are forced to buy a sequel to see how the story ends). It's great that you want to make a series out of your YA fantasy, but this first book has to be able to stand on its own (i.e. when you're querying, you can say your YA fantasy has series potential).

Now, I haven't read your book, so I don't know the right place to end it. But if you still feel that this cliffhanger is the best place to end your book, then maybe look at places to weave in an additional subplot(s) that would lengthen your novel without just adding filler pages. If you decide to continue the book from the cliffhanger and it ultimately ends up being over 100,000 words (and ruins your current plan for a sequel), that's okay too; not every great YA fantasy has/needs a sequel (and who knows, down the road you may think of new sequel ideas, or spin-off stories in the same universe).

Hope this helps! Smiley
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 07:53:32 PM by TigerAsh » Logged
Seanszlepcsik
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2018, 07:54:45 PM »

Thank all of you! Back to the drawing board
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Spat
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2018, 10:25:40 PM »

Remember, one of the reasons why a fantasy is longer is because you need the space to build your world. I've read posts from agents who are wary of anything fantasy under 80k because they feel the world has to be built for the reader so they have a good sense of everything clearly. Sometimes, that may read as filler.
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