To start off this post, here are some word counts of common, popular novels.
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: (MG/YA)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone — 76,944 words
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — 85,141 words
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban — 107,253 words
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire — 190,637 words
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — 257,045 words
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince — 168,923 words
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Around 198,227 words
Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer: (YA)
Twilight — 118,501 words
New Moon — 132,807 words
Eclipse — 147,930 words
Breaking Dawn — 192,196 words
Novels by Marissa Meyer: (YA)
Cinder — 87,661 words
Scarlet — (Couldn’t find anywhere!)
Cress — Around 139,076 words
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins: (YA)
The Hunger Games — 76,800 words
Catching Fire — Approximately 80,000 words
Mockingjay — 100,269 words
The Divergent series by Veronica Roth: (YA)
Divergent — 105,000 words
Insurgent — 106,267 words
Allegiant — 110,354 words
A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin: (Adult)
A Game of Thrones — 284k
A Clash of kings — 326k
A Storm of Swords — 404k
A Feast for Crows — 300k
A Dance with Dragons — 422k
Novels by Sarah J. Maas: (YA)
Throne of Glass — 100,000 words, approx.
(Not sure about CoM or HoF.)
Novels by John Green: (YA)
Looking For Alaska — 64,033 words
The Fault In Our Stars — 65,752 words
Novels by Kiera Cass: (YA)
The Selection — 80,248 words
The Elite — 80,750 words
(Unsure of The One, however they are of a similar size, I would say it’s about 80k.)
So there you go; that might give you an idea about how long novels are.
And as you can see . . . They vary quite a bit. So here is what I am asking you today: Does word count often matter to you, as a reader? Or even a writer, considering this is a Writerly Post Wednesday blog post. The longest novel that I have ever written is the first draft of The Empire of Stars, which finished at 90,069 words. When you think about it — that’s a pretty big novel, though not quite as big as some of the word counts listed above. As I’m working out some of the kinks in the plot, I honestly can’t say whether the second draft is going to be shorter or longer than the first. Only time — and editing — will tell.
The above list might provide a handy guide for people who are curious about novel lengths. I know I’ll be taking a second look at that list.
The genre of a novel often determines how long the story will be.
This is not always the case — of course there was exceptions — but more often than not you’re probably going to find that contemporary novels will be shorter than high fantasy novels.
Do long novels — such as A Game of Thrones-sized books, for example — put you off?
I know that I was. I saw the length of the novel (worse, I bought the set box, and altogether that’s a lot of words) and was hesitant. After all, I didn’t want to waste my time by reading a massively long novel that I might not even enjoy. (But I gave it a go and loved it.) But internally, I kind of cringe when I see a five-hundred plus paged novel. Who doesn’t?