some novel thoughts

Flicking PagesHow long is a novel? You may think that this is as pointless a question as ‘How long is a piece of string?’ but the answers are quite interesting. It seems (from my extensive research via Google) that a book has to have at least 40,000 words before a publisher thinks it is worth publishing. From that starting point you can go with almost anything up to about 150,000 words. Beyond that point the book becomes somewhat unwieldy for the person trying to read it.

I have asked myself this question because I am in the process of writing a book – a piece of fiction – and wondered how far into the process I had got. The answer is just over 9,000 words. That’s almost a quarter of the way towards being a viable book! Or it’s 6% of the way towards being an epic. Of course that is all rather immaterial if the content of the book is naff and nobody would want to publish it, let alone read it. The test of that will have to wait for when I finish it.

What interested me on reflecting on the fact that I had searched to find out how many words make a novel is that I searched for it at all. Is it a bad sign that I am looking to see when I can consider that I have finished my novel when I am only a little way through it? ‘They’ say that everyone has a book within them (actually right now my abdomen feels like it has had a book implanted into it!) but few people ever put it onto paper. I think it would be worse to have started and not finish.

Christians are encouraged in the Bible always to bear in mind our finishing point, our final objective. Not so that we ignore all that is going on around us but so that we have a different perspective on things. What we may consider to be important now looks a bit different from the perspective of eternity. (Even the possibility of England winning the football World Cup looks less impressive from that vantage point.)

So, on reflection, I don’t think it is such a bad thing that I have checked to see how much further I have to go. I will keep going and knowing that there is an achievable end in sight gives me perspective on the words I type… each one is one word closer to my final goal.

I am not going to reveal the title of my book yet, but here are a few to keep you going:

The French Chef

  • by Sue Flay

Tight Situation

  • by Leah Tard


  • by Anita Job

Handel’s Messiah

  • by Ollie Luyah


  • by Wayne Dwops

The Scent of a Man

  • by Jim Nasium

French Overpopulation

  • by Francis Crowded

Fallen Underwear

  • by Lucy Lastic

Lewis Carroll

  • by Alison Wonderland

Leo Tolstoy

  • by Warren Peace

Why Cars Stop

  • by M. T. Tank

Wind in the Willows

  • by Russell Ingleaves

Look Younger

  • by Fay Slift

Mountain Climbing

  • by Andover Hand

It’s Springtime!

  • by Theresa Green


  • by Kurt Reply

And Shut Up!

  • by Sid Downe

40 Yards to the Latrine

  • by Willy Makeit and Betty Wont

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