About Word Counts - Word count 64,646 (wp) 80,000 (pr)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007, 2:06 AM

It's very, very late here. I finally broke my short spell of writer's block and sussed out a few issues with my closing scenes. They only occurred to me after I got some encouraging comments on the previous post, so thanks, folks.

Anyway, it's 2:00am and I've just knocked out about 2500 words in roughly four hours. I asked this question a couple of times way back when I first started this blog, but I didn't have the devoted readership I have now (all two or three of you), so I wanted to ask it again...

How do you calculate word count?

My word counts on the blog show the actual word processor count and the 'printer's rule' count. Generally, the WP count is 20% less than the PR count. As I understand it, when an editor or agent describes a novel as being 80,000 words they usually use printer's rule. But I keep reading different ideas of what printer's rule actually is.

Some use the blanket 12 point Courier, double spaced, which can give you a maximum of 250 words for page. So, a 400 page manuscript would be 100,000 words. If I use that measure, my current word count is more like 86,000. However, I've been using another method which involves taking a fairly dense group of lined from any page and using those to form an average word count per page. With that method, I come up with 235 words per page. Multiply that by 343 (my current page) and you get the above mentioned 80,000.

So, what measure do you folks use? Or am I being too pedantic?

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4 Comments:

Blogger McKoala said...

I'm a simple creature and I use Word's wordcount. I always use Times New Roman, because Courier reminds me too much of the hell that was manual typewriting. You could try Miss Snark's archive (*sob*), because I seem to remember a couple of long and agonising discussions over this issue.

Way to go on your resurgence!

(I check in once a week or so, does that make me devoted?! Moody pic. Where's the smile?)

4:39 AM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

I use Word's wordcount for my personal use and we use it at the magazine too (though it doesn't matter so much since it's electronic and we're not paying for pages). I don't know of anyone who uses anything but the word counter on whatever application they write in.

While we're on writing, go over to Electric Spec's blog and read a post I wrote over there about what Rob Sawyer had to say about writing and genre, etc. I just had made a basic list of what I recalled, but some of the items made me think of you and your work.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Conduit said...

SS@S - Yep, I read that a day or two ago. I'm curious, which points did you feel were especially relevant to me?

McKoala - Hey, I am smiling. It's just a little one. :)

7:25 PM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

I think you have a gift for coming up with an ambitous theme and executing it in story form, and single big-idea books are easy to pitch and sell. You also have a gift for drawing the reader into your protag's head.

It's all good. :)

I agree with the pic--very serious and authorial looking. You're cute enough you make it work. Pretty funny though, I think I'm going to picture all your protags as you.

9:23 PM  

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