Monthly Archives: November 2012

Wordcount and Your Book

There once was an 800-pound gorilla…

Tamora Pierce often speaks about one, anyway. You see, in a time not so long ago, there was much more pressure for middle grade and young adult authors to keep their books on the shorter side. That’s not always a bad thing. A shorter book requires tight writing. A shorter book can feel more accessible to certain readers. A shorter book saves a few pennies in the printing process. And yet…a story takes as long as it takes. That’s why, after certain Harry Potter books were published for children to great success, writers like Ms. Pierce were given the okay to write longer books, and they’ve certainly taken advantage of that. (In fact, of late, I’ve been buying more e-books, not because I necessarily like e-books more, and really, I often don’t, but because my hands, arms, and neck can get tired and shaky after a reading session!) But how long is too long, how short too short? Though there are exceptions, there are some word count ranges that signal a book is more likely to be a good fit for what’s acceptable in different sections of the bookstore.

All this is my lead-in to a great post by agent Jennifer Laughran wherein she outlines typical ranges for children’s books. You can read it here. Another great resource is Mary Kole’s wordcount post here.

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Filed under Publishing, Resources, Writing


When I need to think about words, I can’t hear them. I mean: I can’t listen to music with words and write at the same time, unless I’m having a really good day tuning out the lyrics. The flip side is that with instrumental tracks that I know well, I can get caught up in anticipation, or the emotion, or the half-forgotten fingering of the chords. (And lyrics can be worse! The tiny movements of one’s throat and soft palate when you hear a great choral work that you’ve studied in and out, the practiced breaths at just the right time–before you know it, you’re writing lux aeterna when you mean the meeting adjourned at 8:35 a.m.)

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to skip sharing this piece with you. This is the first piece out from the upcoming soundtrack by Howard Shore for The Hobbit. The title could be a bit spoilery, I suppose; I don’t immediately remember who this is, but it’s a good bet that the character’s in the movie. It’s always interesting, to me, to hear how books translate into music.


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Filed under Music, Reading