Question about Word Count

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crlisle
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Question about Word Count

Postby crlisle » Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:28 am

I was wondering how the word count for our stories is found out. When I filled out the entry form for Q 1, vol 37, it just asked me if my story was under 17,000 words. It did not ask me for the word count. Do they just estimate by how many pages it is?
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Dustin Adams
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Re: Question about Word Count

Postby Dustin Adams » Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:44 am

Don't go over 68 pages or 17,000 words.
Publishing estimates 250 words per page, thus the 68.

This may not mean an auto reject (but it might!), but the contest does tend to publish shorter-than-that stories. I think it lowers your odds of getting in because you're competing against the other entries - and the other long entries (a hunch, not based on data).
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Wulf Moon
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Re: Question about Word Count

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:17 am

David Farland says when he sees 17,000 words listed, or something close, he is always skeptical, and he checks it. He does so because he's found more often than not, it's a lie, and the story is way over, sometimes massively over, like the length of a novel! (Martin quoted him in a topic in here if you search for it. Dave weighed in on this on my FB page.)

More than one judge has stated they don't like seeing stories at this length, even though the guidelines state you can submit up to 17K. I know it hurt me before, because the late KD Wentworth told me so. That said, if your story truly demands that many words, then it demands that many words and you just have to hope for the best. "Mara's Shadow" is one of the best SF stories ever published in the anthologies, and it is certainly 17K.

Like Dustin said, odds are better with lower word count stories, and there's a reason for that. Let the writer beware.

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AlexH
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Re: Question about Word Count

Postby AlexH » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:16 am

Going too short may work against you also. David Farland has said flash often doesn't give the writer enough words to impress him. There are always exceptions of course - there have been a couple of very short stories (though not flash) in recent volumes, and my HM was a flash.

It's easy to get a rough word count anyway. Some word processing software shows it in a status bar. In Google Docs, the keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+Shift+C.

This is what Dave considers a word: https://mystorydoctor.com/whats-in-a-word/
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crlisle
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Re: Question about Word Count

Postby crlisle » Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:07 pm

AlexH wrote: This is what Dave considers a word: https://mystorydoctor.com/whats-in-a-word/


Wowsa! I am so glad I asked! This article is amazing! I didn't know that I was short changing myself on word count. Dave tells you how to set up your page so you get 250 words per page! wotf015

Thank you AlexH for sharing this. wotf010
Q4 36 R
Q1 37 R
Q2 37 submitted
Q3 37 submitted
Published in Sci Fi Lampoon, "My Ten Cents"

"Never give up. Never Surrender." - Galaxy Quest

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Retropianoplayer
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Re: Question about Word Count

Postby Retropianoplayer » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:47 pm

Crlisle:

If you want to read a fantastic story (double-tiered and the critics loved it), take a look at "Mara's Shadow." It had me on the edge of my seat, the suspense was constant, the author had a command of medical and biological terms, and the two tiers fold into a story with a bittersweet ending.

I think you'll enjoy it.

Best,

Retro
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LoyalRam
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Re: Question about Word Count

Postby LoyalRam » Thu Jan 09, 2020 6:46 am

I know in Word, the word count shows at the bottom of the screen. You can highlight a section and it will tell you the word count of the section you highlighted...
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chuckt
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Re: Question about Word Count

Postby chuckt » Fri Jan 10, 2020 7:57 am

You said the form didn't ask for word count but you should be putting it in the upper right hand corner. Maybe you did and I am presuming incorrectly. Of course, you omit identifying information but they still want it in standard manuscript form.

Also, there's been some great threads in the forum on the topic of too short and too long. There's a sweet spot that I think Wulf has identified. Maybe 5000 to 7000? Thereabouts. Of course, it's just a guideline.
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crlisle
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Re: Question about Word Count

Postby crlisle » Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:23 pm

Thank you chuckt. That was the answer I was looking for. Now I know.
Q4 36 R
Q1 37 R
Q2 37 submitted
Q3 37 submitted
Published in Sci Fi Lampoon, "My Ten Cents"

"Never give up. Never Surrender." - Galaxy Quest

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crlisle
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Re: Question about Word Count

Postby crlisle » Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:25 pm

Thank you Retropianoplayer! You are right! Mara's Shadow is an amazing story. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks for recommending it.
Q4 36 R
Q1 37 R
Q2 37 submitted
Q3 37 submitted
Published in Sci Fi Lampoon, "My Ten Cents"

"Never give up. Never Surrender." - Galaxy Quest


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