The “word count” down.

The “word count” down.

When all was said and done, I had a minor panic attack. I discovered my book is 15,000 words over the maximum allowable for my genre.
Totally fine right? Not so much. Word count matters.

I began the long process of editing. Finding the repeat information or sentences. I Cut the rambling and cleaned up sentences. Like a maniac, I watched the word count with an obsession for weeks. I calculated every day how many words I’d eliminated and how many left to remove to break the magic number.

The last page was done. I made it, almost. Still at 101 words over. I sat and stared at the screen. I’ll be honest I stared at the word count number.

Now what?

A little research turned up a list of words. Ones that are useless and often change the voicing of the sentence. They are called Filter words and everyone uses them. I took them out, fixed the sentences and found myself below by 1850 with 200 pages to go. Yes, I did a little happy dance.

My advice on word count. The words tell the story so let them, but make them count. If you go over, start your own word count down.



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30 thoughts on “The “word count” down.

  1. I am intrigued. I have started writing a novel and I have no real grasp of word counts for genres. How long did it take you to complete the work and what genre are you writing in?


    • Hi Michael, The original draft took me about a month. It has taken many, many more to get it edited and revised. I’m writing a YA science fiction series. The word count max is 125000.

      I’ll be talking about many different things I’ve discovered and also what happens from here on. If you have any more questions please ask. I’m not a professional, just someone that figured it out the hard way and had a tonne of fun in the process.

      What genre are you writing?



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  4. I didn’t know there was a word limit on books. Of course, I’m not writing one. I just read. I do, however, want to limit the word count of my blog posts to 500 words or less. Primarily because I tend to ramble, but I’ve found I don’t have the attention span to read blogs that are much longer than that. It’s not a reflection of their quality but my state of mind.
    I’m vey interested in “Filter Words.” What are they? I think I must use too many of them. let me thanks. And good luck with your publishing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi JB West, thanks for stopping by and reading. My blog is about my journey as a novice writer and the things I’ve learned along the way and have yet to learn.

      Filter words are words that filter the sentence through the point of view of the character and it makes for awkward reading.

      Example: Phillip saw the motorbike go by way too fast and thought it was so loud, he felt it in his teeth.
      Filter words: saw, way, thought, and felt.
      Correction: The sound of the engine vibrated Phillips teeth as the motorbike sped by.
      From 21 words to 13. It may not be how you would rewrite it, but that’s okay.

      There are plenty of lists out in the wide world of the web.

      If you haven’t already read it here is the link to my filter word blog.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Got it–at least conceptually. I’ll start doing a little more filtering when I write. I haven’t written in a long time (decades) and just started blogging. My current goal is to read and re-read and keep word count under 500 per post. Thanks

        Liked by 1 person

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  6. Hi Sheryl,

    I really liked your blog. I was not aware of the word limits while writing a book. How do you know whats the word count for different genres?


    Neha C.


    • Hi Neha, Honestly I googled it. It took a few sites to get a consensus. Some are higher and some are lower, but different genres do have different limits. Also from what I’ve read it’s not set in stone, but preferred. This guideline also is suggested for a first novel or the first of a series.
      Science fiction between 80,000 and 125,000
      YA (Young adult) 45,000 and 75,000
      Horror 80,000 and 100,000
      Thriller or mystery 90,000 to 100,000
      Historical fiction/romance 90,000 to 100,000

      Liked by 1 person

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