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Why 50,000 words is a bit long for a novel, anyway

January 19, 2012

Okay, here’s my confession.

For the whole of November last year I was living, breathing, eating and writing National Novel Writing Month – with the sole aim of penning 50,000 sparkly words by the end of the month.

But I failed miserably.  A combination of weddings, birthdays and, er, life, scuppered my path to success.  However with exactly 31,995 words under my belt I can’t help but hope that my efforts are still worth something.  So here’s a list of pint-sized stories that have certainly packed a punch with the critics, despite coming in a bit short of feature length…

1.  Animal Farm by George Orwell

Proof that big ideas can come in small packages.  At 30,210 words, this is shorter than what I have already achieved.  Result.

2. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

If you’ve completed your NanoWriMo wordcount, you’re but a couple o’ thousand off this little treasure, which is 51,011 words long.

3. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

Where the language stops you counting, you still get 50,061.

4. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

The classic novella is a mere afternoon’s work at 29,160 words.

5. Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The complexity is perhaps misleading. HGG has 46,333  words.

See also and for other wordcounts

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