The Grand Old Word Count

sb10067155f-001A little while ago, I saw a challenge – not sure where, could have been Goodreads or Facebook – where indie authors were challenged to take all the stories they had written and tabulate a total word count for them. Like a lot of writing exercises, it was clearly designed to put things in perspective.

All too often, writers can get hung up on sales numbers or the total number of books they’ve managed to get out there. Especially for indies, these numbers can seem underwhelming or discouraging at times. So naturally, its fun to take a look at some bigger numbers and see just how much we’ve really shared, because that is what writing is all about right?

So I did my grand total. And just for some added perspective, here’s some other big numbers for comparison. The average person has a vocabulary of between 35,000 – 75,000 words*, depending on their age, level of education, and life experience. And in the course of a day, people speak between 7,000 and 20,000 words, depending on their gender (apparently, women speak more than men)**.

ar_storybookBetween Data Miners, Whiskey Delta, Papa Zulu (yet to be published, but is complete), my Legacies short stories, Source, my Yuva shorts, and other assorted tales I’ve put up on this site, my grand total of words is:

531,944 words published so far!

And that doesn’t include the countless words that are sitting in my Stories folder that haven’t been published yet. I’m telling you, there has to be at least 250,000 words between all those unfinished stories, novellas, and shorts. So I really can’t count those… yet!

word_cloudBut I would be remiss if I didn’t include the roughly 1250 articles I’ve published on this site. God only knows how many words I’ve spewed in those! Obviously, I’m not about to add them all up, but a random sampling of five articles put the average at about 2000 words each. Multiply that by 1250 articles and you’ve got… oh my God… 2.5 million words!

Okay, let’s upgrade that then to roughly 3.000.000 words published so far. So basically, in the two and half years that I’ve been running this blog, I’ve written the equivalent of what an average man speaks in the course 428 days straight, or the average woman does in 150 days. Is it me, or is that nuts?

And now I put it to you indie writers… between your indie published stories, blog, articles, short stories, novellas, full-length novels, and flash fiction, just how many words have you generated and shared with the world?



Word Counts and Serial Novels

Good news everybody! Well, it’s kind of a moot point, but I was pleased to see it happen. After a few months of writing and posting Whiskey Delta on this site, I am pleased to note that it has officially reached the requisite length where it can safely be considered a novel!

As of my most recent publication, Chapter 26, Whiskey Delta has reached a whopping 51,181 words! And based on the guidelines provided by Wikepedia, which were in turn provided from novelist Jane Smiley, anything over 40,000 words is considered a novel-length work. Check it out:

  Classification          Word Count

Novel                 over 40,000 words
Novella              17,500 to 40,000 words
Novellette          7,500 to 17,500
Short Story        under 7,500

Yes, as of the latest posted chapter, Whiskey Delta has reached 51,181 words. And it’s still several chapters away from completion. Don’t know why, but that feels kinda cool. Perhaps it’s something left over from my school days, a time when meeting the mandated word count was important. Not that that’s every been a problem for me. If anything, I’ve been known to go way too long. I really gotta learn to be more concise!

Stay tuned for more Whiskey Delta and a slew of other writing projects!