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The Word Counts of Famous Writers

word counts of writers Aug 14, 2017
word counts of writers

We all like peering over writers' shoulders to see whether we are in any way 'normal'! I write hundreds of thousands of words to reduce down to the 80k or so for a novel. This is a fool's economy of course, but then as Dolly Parton said 'it takes a lot of money to look this cheap'.

During the first draft, please don't worry about word count, you will find your way, just be regular.

If you need to get your novel done in ninety days, then aim for 1000 a day after we have agreed your story plan and made sure you're well prepared. Otherwise, Graham Greene found he could knock out a novel every 9 months this way at 500 a day. It's nice to go slow and steady, if you can.

Daily Word Counts of Some Authors:

Graham Greene wrote 24 novels as well as travel books, children’s books, plays, screenplays, and short stories. His daily writing goal was only 500 words.

"Over twenty years I have probably averaged five hundred words a day for five days a week. I can produce a novel in a year, and that allows time for revision and the correction of the typescript. I have always been very methodical, and when my quota of work is done I break off, even in the middle of a scene. Every now and then during the morning’s work I count what I have done and mark off the hundreds on my manuscript." Graham Greene.

  • Barbara Kingsolver - 1000
  • Ernest Hemingway - 500
  • Graham Greene - 500
  • Ian McEwan - 600
  • Sarah Waters -1000
  • Sebastian Faulks - 1000
  • Mark Twain - 1400 (in 4-5 hours)
  • Nicholas Sparks - 2000 (3-8 hours)
  • Patricia Highsmith - 2000 (4-5 hours)
  • Stephen King - 2000

 In an hour you can crack 500 words, like Graham, if you're using the other 23 hours to consider the coming scene. That's the method we teach at The Novelry. Write daily, with joy - that's the habit you'll learn from taking our famous novel writing course - and you'll write a novel a year.


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