How Long Does It Need to Be? (Long Fiction)

It’s important to identify that the processes of Short Fiction and Long Fiction are, in many cases, completely and radically different. With that in mind, let’s look at some suggested lengths. The length of your novel (we’re talking novels here) is really going to be dictated by one or two things — first is the genre of the story you’re writing, the second is the readership you’re looking for. These are not hard-and-fast rules, but they’re things to look at.

Genre readers have, good or bad, been programmed to respond to certain lengths of books. Epic Fantasy will have a different wordcount / page count than a young adult novel, generally. When you begin the Querying process (which is outlined in other posts, and is totally different from the query of short fiction) it’s important to know how your manuscript stacks up against the conventions of the genre. If you’re too short or too long, you may need to consider beefing up, or slimming down your project.

In this, I will bow the research of Colleen Lindsay at The Swivet. Available HERE as I’ve found this resource super helpful.

Middle Grade – About 35k (Plus or Minus)

Young Adult – 45k-80k

Paranormal Romance – 85k-100k

Cozy Mystery – 65k-90k

Hard SF – 90k-110k

Space Opera – 90k-120k

Epic / High Fantasy – 90k-120k

Urban Fantasy – 90k-100k
If you’re a little under, or a little over, it’s up to you to decide what to do about it. If you relieve feedback that your story feels too thin, or too thick, take some time to consider your options. You’re a writer! You finished novel! Go you!


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