Camp NaNo Update Day #22

Camp NaNo Update #22 banner


What are acceptable book lengths? Answers can vary depending on who you ask, but in general:

Flash fiction: 500 words or less.

Short Story: 5,000–10,000 words.

Novella: 10,000–40,000 words.

Novel: Anything over 40,000 words,

Some writers only write one length, meaning everything they write is always over 40K, or less than 10K, etc. It can also depend on genre and content.

But, that’s if you’re planning a certain type of book.

What if you set out to write 75, 000 words but only get to 36,000, did you fail?

Not necessarily.

Perhaps you were overzealous in estimating book length, or, you haven’t gone deep to flesh out and develop characters or plot.

I have a Camp NaNo buddy who’s having a meltdown as we begin counting down the last week of Camp NaNoWriMo.

She pledged to write a book 65K in length, but she’s written all of her planned twenty-six scenes/chapters and has only reached 48K.

The beauty of Camp NaNo is you can adjust your words/pages/hours. When I suggested she do this, her meltdown intensified. So, I took the opposite approach and told her to get busy writing because the missing 17K wasn’t going to write itself.

She insists she’s told the story she intended to tell.

So. What’s the problem here?


Books are the products of imagination and research but they’re not rocket science.

We’ve all read the book we wished was longer, just as we’ve read that book which went on and on and because laborious.

Editing can solve most of these problems if writers allow it. If an editor advises cutting out characters/scenes/chapters and the writer balks, there isn’t much the editor can do. There is no literary death match between writers and editors.

Writers must be ready to kill their darlings to publish the best book possible, and sometimes that also means adjusting our mindsets… and word counts.

Because everyone knows the first draft is crap anyway.


Day 20 word count – 37,511


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