Month: December 2022
Genre Word Count Guide
You ever wonder how many words you need to have for an acceptable novel? Well, it varies depending on the genre. I pulled the following list from Writer’s Digest and The Manuscript Appraisal Agency. There are slight differences in their numbers, but they are within the following range.
- Flash Fiction 500
- Novella 10,000 – 40,000
- Adult Mainstream Novels 80,000 – 100,000
- Adult Mainstream Novel 70,000 -110,000
- Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy 90,000 – 120,000
- Romance 50,000 – 100,000
- Mystery/ Crime/ Horror 70,000 – 90,000
- Historical Fiction 100,000 +
- Young Adult 50,000 – 80,000
- Upper Middle Grade 40,000 – 55,000
- Middle Grade 20,000 – 55,000
- Picture Books 32 pages; 500 – 600 words
Hope this helped.
– Jan R
195 Powerful Verbs That Will Spice Up Your Writing
I wish I could take credit for this blog, but it was written by Jerry Jenkins. He is probably my favorite blogger and one of my favorite authors. You can find him at jerryjenkins.com
He gave permission to share this blog with any writer who needed to read it. He wanted to get the word out. I thought about you, my followers.
Jerry Jenkins ….
Do you ever wonder why a grammatically correct sentence you’ve written just lies there like a dead fish? I sure have.
Your sentence might even be full of those adjectives and adverbs your teachers and loved ones so admired in your writing when you were a kid.
But still the sentence doesn’t work.
Something simple I learned from The Elements of Style years ago changed the way I write and added verve to my prose. The authors of that little bible of style said: “Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs.”
Even Mark Twain was quoted, regarding adjectives: “When in doubt, strike it out.”
That’s not to say there’s no place for adjectives. I used three in the title and first paragraph of this post alone.
The point is that good writing is more about well-chosen nouns and powerful verbs than it is about adjectives and adverbs, regardless of what you were told as a kid.
There’s no quicker win for you and your manuscript than ferreting out and eliminating flabby verbs and replacing them with vibrant ones.
How To Know Which Verbs Need Replacing
Your first hint is your own discomfort with a sentence. Odds are it features a snooze-inducing verb.
As you hone your ferocious self-editing skills, train yourself to exploit opportunities to replace a weak verb for a strong one.
At the end of this post I suggest a list of 195 powerful verbs you can experiment with to replace tired ones.
What constitutes a tired verb? Here’s what to look for:
3 Types of Verbs to Beware of in Your Prose
1. State-of-being verbs
These are passive as opposed to powerful:
Am I saying these should never appear in your writing? Of course not. You’ll find them in this piece. But when a sentence lies limp, you can bet it contains at least one of these. Determining when a state-of-being verb
is the culprit creates a problem—and finding a better, more powerful verb to replace it— is what makes us writers. [Note how I replaced the state-of-being verbs in this paragraph.]
Resist the urge to consult a thesaurus for the most exotic verb you can find. I consult such references only for the normal word that carries power but refuses to come to mind.
would suggest even that you consult my list of powerful verbs only after you have exhausted all efforts to come up with one on your own. You want Make your prose any your own creation, not yours plus Roget or Webster or Jenkins. [See how easy they are to spot and fix?]
Impotent: The man was walking on the platform.
Powerful: The man strode along the platform.
Impotent: Jim is a lover of country living.
Powerful: Jim treasures country living.
Impotent: There are three things that make me feel the way I do…
Powerful: Three things convince me…
2. Verbs that rely on adverbs
Powerful verbs are strong enough to stand alone.
ran quickly dashed through the forest.
menacingly looked glared at her rival.
secretly listened eavesdropped while they discussed their plans.
3. Verbs with -ing suffixes
Before: He was walking…
After: He walked…
Before: She was loving the idea of…
After: She loved the idea of…
Before: The family was starting to gather…
After: The family started to gather…
The List of 195 Powerful Verbs
Of course there are many more. Jerry Jenkins just provided a list of examples to get you thinking 🙂
Something to think about!
You Can’t Believe Everything You Read (Revisited)
While I’ve been around for a little while now, I certainly don’t consider myself an expert. I consult the experts, and research everything I write to ensure I don’t spread inaccurate information.
As a new writer, we don’t always know if what we are reading is fact, fiction, or opinion. We are hungry for information that is going to help us become better writers, and more importantly, that is going to help us become successful and published.
When I began this journey, I was literally starting from scratch. I assumed like many of you, that anybody could write a novel. I had a great idea and put pen to paper, or I guess I should say fingers to keys.
It wasn’t until I submitted it to agents, that I discovered there were rules on POV, writing dialogue, plotting, use of description, setting scenes… I needed information. I needed accurate, easy to understand information from someone who knew what they were talking about.
I opened my computer and began typing. If it’s on the internet, it has to be true, right? That’s what most of us think, at least that’s what I thought. If I was having problems with dialogue, one of my weaknesses, I would type in dialogue and go for it. There were so many articles and blog posts to read. While most offered invaluable information, I would occasionally run into one that lead me astray or left me more confused than I was before I started my research.
I feel like I’m rambling today, but my aim for this particular blog is to caution new writers. Just because something is written on-line, doesn’t mean it’s correct. Choose your sources wisely. Do your research. There is a lot of useful information out there, but you will occasionally run into something that is inaccurate, or so ambiguous you are left more confused than you were when you started your research.
My husband is always saying technology is wonderful. You have the world at your fingertips, but you can’t check your brain in at the door.
Something to think about.
Something to think about!
Are You Setting Unrealistic Expectations?
You’re an aspiring author. Your ultimate goal is to find a great agent and get published. Who doesn’t want to be the author of that blockbuster book/movie of the year with a million-dollar payout?
Newbies have a tendency to set unrealistic expectations. I’m not saying you won’t achieve your goal, but odds are, you’re going to have to start at the bottom and work your way up like the rest of us.
I’m not trying to discourage you. You can do this. I’m just trying to help you set realistic goals. I want you to be prepared not only for success, but the failures that you will most likely incur along the way.
There are some things you can and should be doing as you build your platform and prepare that first novel for publishing.
- Get your life out of the way. You don’t have control over everything that goes on around you. We all have situations that arise. Don’t allow them to impede your daily writing time.
- Find a trusted friend or spouse who will listen and respond intelligently. You need a cheerleader/an accountability partner.
- Until you become successful, write in one genre. Once you’ve achieved success, you can spread your wings and venture into different areas.
- Don’t be picky about where you get published initially. Use your experience and publications to build on new ones. You will get there.
- Learn what’s selling. You want to cater to your customers.
- Develop tough skin. You will probably hear a lot of things you don’t want to hear. Everybody has an opinion. Let it roll off your back!
- If a bad review holds merit, adjust your writing and admit your mistakes. This is a learning process. You won’t get everything right the first time.
- Don’t give up! The number one characteristic of successful authors is as you probably guessed, they’re persistent. Don’t allow a bad review or hateful word to get in your way.
Some things to think about 🙂
Some things to think about.