Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Word Count and Contemporary Romance

After finishing my contemporary romance manuscript, CHIHUAHUA MOMMA, I researched word count through the RWA and Harlequin web sites. Though I was in the ball park, I thought I might be a little shy. A single-title romance should be 90,000 - 110,000 words (generally speaking).

So how can you beef it up?
  1. Ensure you have enough description. This doesn't mean bore your audience, but ensure that the reader gets a good picture of the setting. After all, setting should be a "character" in your manuscript.
  2. Look for places where you're telling - maybe trying to move the story along too fast, and change your scene to showing.
  3. Look at pacing - as above, does your writing appear rushed (or too drawn out)? Do you have cliff hangers at the end of each scene?
  4. Are your characters fully developed? Do you know their innermost worries, their desires, their fears? Knowing your characters will ensure they have thoughts that define them, speak words from their hearts. Spending time understanding your characters will take a good novel to a great novel.
What other ways do you enhance your writing? Comments welcomed.


  1. It's always so fun to find people you have things in common with! Thanks for coming over and following me too!

  2. Thanks for joining the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Look forward to your post next month.

  3. One of my biggest troubles when editing a manuscript is to go back and take out my "crutch words"--get and just. I swear I "get" and "just" my way through my rough drafts!

  4. Good point Colby! I have a list of words that I try to edit out. Great idea for my next blog post!

    - Amy