If you Google how long should a novel of literary fiction be you’ll quickly find that most books should clock in around 100,000 words … less if often ideal (anywhere above 75,000 words is standard form) but any more than that means you’ve pretty much rewritten the dictionary.
My first draft of The Milestone Tapes was … well … long. I did a lot of cutting and reworking to finish the book at a comfortable 94,000 words. I’m not the longest novel of all time … but not the shortest, it’s not a novella nor is it a short story. I sort of figured “hey, it’ll be a nice read with a good distance.”
When I printed the book at Kinko’s double spaced and all, it was around 400+ pages — both printed and on my computer. I needed two spiral bound books filled to max capacity. I never had a moment of doubt that my book was “too short” when I saw it like that. Actually, if anything, it encouraged me to make cuts … to really cinch it up because it was longish.
Then, it came back from the formatter.
Somehow, by shrinking the pages to a reasonable size (5 1/2 by 8 1/2)… I lost 100-some-odd pages. My book is 269 printed pages long. YIKES!
It’s not “short” … I guess … but it’s nowhere near how I imagined it would be.
My first thought was … breathe … these are double-sided pages. But I realized, each page still counts as TWO!! So, that logic didn’t work.
It kept me up until 3 in the morning worrying how this could be.
And now I’m wondering … where did half of my book go?