Sequels And Word Counts


After unsuccessfully trying to get the following discussion into one or two tweets, I decided to write a post about it. The thing is…

My current project – Hidden People – is going to turn into two books. My first draft is close to 60,000 words at the moment; and according to my targets on Scrivener, the entire first draft will end with about 70,000 words. However, I want one book to be at least 90,ooo. (Sorry if this is a lot of numbers.)

I know where I want the first book to end, but the plot isn’t providing me with that word count. I am nearly finished with everything I want in the first book, but it’s too short for my liking.

The question is – Should I take things from the sequel into the first? Or should I come up with a new subplot to fill up the first book? Or should I turn it into a single but longer book? (I don’t know what the expected word count for the sequel is.)

Yeah, I don’t know if any of this makes sense; but please feel free to share your thoughts or experience if you have dealt with a similar issue. Thanks!


10 responses »

  1. 70K is pretty good in my opinion (for any genre, except adult SFF, probably). When you query it and hopefully get an agent, they will help you flesh out some parts of your plot you might be overlooking at the present. Veronica Roth wrote about that in her archives. Divergent was much smaller but after revisions with her agent and editor, it went up to more than a 100K.

    Good luck.

    • Yeah, I think it would be too long if I combined both “books” into one. I think I’m just holding too fast onto the part where I want to cut the first book (I mean, it really is perfect). 😉

  2. If you don’t already have an idea for expanding the plot of your first book, I would be concerned that any additions might just be filler and not serve an actual purpose. It’s usually more acceptable for subsequent books in a series to be longer than the first anyway, so that might be a good way to go.

  3. 70k is a pretty good length; it’s not too short or too long either, which is pretty ideal if you’re going to be querying it to agents. As laekanzeakemp said, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to fill up your story with unnecessary filler. And as Ifeoma said, if an agent decided to take it on and thought it was too short, they would probably suggest areas to flesh it out more.

  4. If you’re looking to publish your book traditionally, anywhere between 70K and 100k is fine for a debut novel. I would advise against adding a subplot just for the sake of wordcount. Rather, when you’re editing, ask yourself how you could flesh out a few scenes, or maybe a character. Hoping this helps, good luck!

  5. Pingback: Before You Start Editing | H.M. Brooks Writes

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