Summer of '76


Words that is. In the script so far.

Closeup of words and word count on a manuscript pageWith most of the manuscript fairly well fleshed out by now (though a few holes still exist and need to be filled), I decided to run a word count. The book is currently divided into 24 segments that correspond to logical portions of Carensa’s travel calendar (rather than actual book chapters. I went through each segment, obtained a word count and then added them all up.

The grand total is 148,521 words. Wow, that’s a lot of typing (and much was handwritten in first draft!). But how does that compare with some famous books?

My all-time favorite, The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring has 187,000 words, The Two Towers, 155,000 and The Return of the King has 131,000 words.

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 — 198,227 words

So much for comparison. I’ve also heard that a manuscript from an unknown author (and, yes, yours truly does fall in that category, even if he knows perfectly well who he is) should land in the 80,000 — 120,000 word range for the script to get a chance at being read.

I think it is worth noting that J.K. Rowling started out on the low end with the first Harry Potter book and then as the series became established, let the books expand. Maybe I should turn Carensa’s summer in Europe into a series? On second thought, I’ll do some rewriting and editing instead. There is after all a lot to be said for at least some modicum of economy of words in story telling.

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