It’s time to answer the lifelong question… is bigger better?
The longest book I could find is called In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust and is 1,267,069 words/3,031 pages/9,609,000 characters. I think the longest book I’ve read is Lord of the Rings The Complete Series which is 455125 words (or there about). I loved reading Lord of the Rings (and I loved the films even more) but it isn’t my favourite book. That position goes to Looking for Alaska, by John Green which in comparison to Lord of the Rings or In Search of Lost Time, is a measly 64,033 words.
I said on my second post on this website that I try to write 1500-2000 words a day. I wrote that post almost a year ago when I was just completed University. Now I spend my weekdays temping in various offices meaning I can only write in my breaks, lunches or before and after work. When I started employment I made a goal to try and write 2000 words a week (8000 a month). I’ve mostly met that goal and now at the end of May I am coming close to completing the first draft of my novel currently titled Empty Nights which nears 50,000 words.
My process of writing this draft was different in the fact that I didn’t really have much of a plan. I knew the key scenes I wanted to write out, I knew roughly where the story was going but I didn’t know the details. Keep in mind, this is the only the first draft. I know when I start to stitch the chapters together I’ll notice missing scenes and decide to remove certain parts either boosting or lowering the word count.
I was worried that 50,000 was not going to be long enough to be a good novel. Then I googled the word count of famous novels to see how I compared. Depending on who you ask a novel is either anything over 30,000 or 40,000 so I’m definitely in the range. You can see my findings below.
The Harry Potter series by word count
The Philosopher’s Stone – 76,944
The Chamber of Secrets – 85,141
The Prisoner of Azkaban – 107,253
The Goblet of Fire – 190,637
The Order of the Phoenix – 257,045
The Half-Blood Prince – 168,923
The Deathly Hallows – Approximately 198,227
30,644 – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
47,094 – The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
58,428 – The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
59,635 – Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
67,203 – The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
100,609 – Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
587,287 – War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
I’m between The Great Gatsby and The Wind in the Willows. I think I can live with that.
Quality over quantity