How many words do you need to write before something can be called a Novel? Specifically how many words need to be in a work of Science-Fiction?


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Didge Doo Profile
Didge Doo answered

The parameters have changed and publishers are now looking for longer novels -- say, 100K to 300K words. A lot of that is achieved by padding.

A couple of years ago the Booker Prize (for novels) was won by a novel of only 65,000 words. Many of the other (outraged) contestants claimed that it was only a novella.

My own novel is only about 65K and I'd call it a short novel, though as recently as 1990 it would have been the normal length.

I think it takes as many words, and chapters, as are necessary to tell the story. Let the pedants argue about whether it's a genuine novel. The proof of the novel is in the reading.

Walt O'Reagun Profile
Walt O'Reagun answered

Last time I looked ... It wasn't the number of words so much, as the number of pages.  Though I think either one is subjective.  I mean, you can have a varying number of words per page, depending on font.  In the same vein, you can have varying number of pages depending on the font and illustrations.

EDIT: My favorite science-fiction novel series has always been the BOLO series.  And those novels contain 3-5 "short" stories each.

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