I\’m writing a middle-grade novel, but it\’s looking like it will clock in around only 20K words or just shy of that. Is that simply too short? It\’s a unique novel in that it\’s a fantasy with large fantasy tropes but at it\’s core is a psychological thriller that actually takes place in the real world (has a big M. Night Shyamalan-style twist). I know fantasy books are usually much larger but this book is truly NOT a fantasy so I\’m wondering if I\’m just way off the map with such a short word count here. It\’s tough to write to story without knowing if it potentially has a future. I hope this question isn\’t too specific. Any help/input would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!
Thanks for your question. It’s tricky to answer because I don’t know the age of your proposed readership. If you’re writing for the “core” MG reader, I’d say 20K is pretty short — I’d be looking for a word count nearer 40-65K. 20K works for a younger MG reader — it’s really a longer chapter-book length. It’s hard to imagine you tackling “large fantasy tropes” in that word count, and I’m going to guess there’s a bit of disconnect between length and language/style? I obviously can’t be sure, but that’s my hunch.
I hope this helps.