How long is “too long”?

How long is a rope? How much does a rock weigh? How long is a novel?

novel1These questions are endless and equally impossible to answer. However, I must ask that last one.

I’ve read/heard/gotten it into my head that debut novels and YA novels tend to hover around the 100-110K word mark (if I’m wrong, please do correct me), which leaves me frowning at the figure at the bottom of my Word doc: 150K.

Is this too long for YA fantasy fiction? If I’m to pull out creative agency and the organic nature of the novel, it does kind of need that scope to play out fully. And yes, yes, I know, if it’s good enough length won’t be a problem.

But I’m asking outside all of these quasi-delusional, what-ifs, maybes, and generally wishful thinking parameters: how long is”too long”?

Appreciate any input!

N.

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2 thoughts on “How long is “too long”?

  1. Hi Jo

    I’m Harry, from the Writers Workshop blog (you just reblogged my piece on editing.) And the answer to your question on length can be found here:
    http://www.writersworkshop.co.uk/Numbers.html

    150,000 words is definitely too long for YA, but for an adult novel it’s long, but not problematically so. My first MS was 190,000 words and was sold in a six figure deal – so even very long is OK, if the quality is good enough. NB: if you want a free trial of our new site, Agent Hunter, then just get in touch with me direct via email. Thanks! And happy writing.
    Harry

    • Hi Harry,
      Thanks for commenting, and for the link – so helpful. Whatever hopes I have for the novel, it certainly needs trimming. Getting right on it.
      And thanks for a great website! I always find myself perusing your advice and tips. I’ll have a look at Agent Hunter – seems like a fantastic service. Thanks so much for that kind offer.
      All the best,
      Jo

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