Now that I have a very broad idea of what the novel will be (a young adult other-wordly adventure), it’s time to understand the general shape that the Master Outline will take. Let’s look at how Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games are structured based on total word counts and chapters.
This will help determine what kind of length readers expect in popular novels, and also will give me a word count goal for writing the scenes and assignments.
- Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone is about 77,500 words total.
- Twilight is about 119,000 words total.
- The Hunger Games is about 99,750 words total.
This averages to about 98,750 words per novel. However, I understand that the length of Twilight is unusually long for a debut novel. If the word count of Twilight is disregarded, the average becomes around 88,625.
- Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone has 17 chapters with titles, and about 4560 words per chapter.
- Twilight has 24 titled chapters, or 26 if you count the Preface and Epilogue, and about 4580 words per chapter.
- The Hunger Games has 27 untitled chapters, and about 3700 words per chapter. (Also, the chapters are evenly divided into 3 titled parts.)
This averages to about 22 to 23 chapters per novel, with the average chapter length around 4,280 words.
For information on word counts in the entire Harry Potter Series, Twilight Saga, and The Hunger Games trilogy, grab a copy of my free e-book:
65 Bestselling Word Counts
Target your novel’s word count based on the most popular lengths for your genre!
Bonus! Includes word counts for the entire Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games trilogy, and Twilight Saga!
Armed with these word counts, I now have a range of lengths that have been proven popular. I have rounded the averages down slightly, both to account for Twilight’s outlier status and my own preference for brevity.
Divide the project into 21 chapters.
Use about 4250 words per chapter.
Shoot for a total word count of 90,000 words, which still leaves plenty of room for cutting down and editing.
Head over to the master outline to see these word counts in play.