How Many Words?

Words In Books

Since I’ve made several attempts at creating blogs with substantial content in the past and have abandoned most of the projects mid-attempt, I have made it a personal goal to finally write the equivalent of a novel’s worth of material in 2020 calendar year. So, I began to ponder, approximately how many words are in an average book? I decided to research the topic to satisfy my curiosity and am happy to share my findings.

I found that the typical number of words for a typical, traditional novel was somewhere between 70,000 and 120,000 words. However, the novel Atlas Shrugged by the author Ayn Rand has an estimated 645,000 words.

Outside of word count in novels, I discovered that many universities in America usually limit Ph.D. dissertations to 100,000 words or less. The King James Authorized Bible has 783,137 words.

While investigating this topic, I also stumbled upon some interesting information that comes from United Press International. UPI.com performed research that found that most adults in the United States have a vocabulary greater than 42,000 English words. The study included one million respondents that showed native English speakers in America attain a vocabulary of 42,000 words or more at the age of twenty and then may achieve a vocabulary of around 48,000 words by the age of sixty.

There are many fictional series such as Harry Potter and A Song of Fire And Ice that have been growing in popularity in recent years and have come known as epic novels since they have an immense word count. Take a look at the following word count of George R.R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice and Fire:

A Game of Thrones – 298,000 words
A Clash of Kings – 326,000 words
A Storm of Swords – 424,000 words
A Feast for Crows – 300,000 words
A Dance with Dragons – 422,000 words
Also, review the word count in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – 76,944 words
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – 85,141 words
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – 107,253 words
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – 190,637 words
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – 257,045 words
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – 168,923 words
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – 198,227 words

And of course, there is J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings series:

The Hobbit – 95,356 words
The Fellowship of the Ring – 187,790 words
The Two Towers – 156,198 words
The Return of the King – 137,115 words

Novellas (plural) or novella (singular), also known as a short novel, were popular for many works in English throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and were usually literally works of 20,000 to 50,000 words. Popular examples of these novellas would be George Orwell’s Animal Farm, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

William Shakespeare is known as history’s greatest playwright. Although lack of documentation from the 16th and 17th centuries cannot confirm it, historians believe he wrote 37 plays. Shakespeare’s 37 plays contain a total of 835,997 words which contain 28,829 unique word forms and 12, 493 which occur only one time.

After reviewing the above information, I am determined to write 100,000 words of content for this site in the 2020 year. I would be interested in seeing if there is a WordPress Plugin that will allow me to see how many unique words I have used in my WordPress Posts. I am unsure if such a thing exists. I will be investigating word count
WordPress Plugins in the future, or perhaps will have to develop the functionality myself.

The world is currently under quarantine due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Presently, in my location, and at the time of writing, almost everything is shutdown until April 24th. So, I plan on writing around 24,000 of the 100,000 total annual word goal  (approximately 1,000 words per day) between now and then. Hopefully after that I will be a little more busy spending time outdoors and attending various events!

Anyways, look forward to 100,000 words of content coming throughout the coming months of 2020!

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