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The Art of Story Writing : CHAPTER XIX The Number of Words in a Manuscript

by Nathaniel C. Fowler, JR   

CHAPTER XIX The Number of Words in a Manuscript

IT is advisable, and sometimes necessary, to indicate on the manuscript, preferably upon the first page of it, approximately the number of words it contains.

Although the number of words to the page vary, it is easy to strike an average, which is not likely to be more than five per cent out of the way.

The author should count the number of words appearing on at least a dozen pages, the pages not to be selected consecutively. Add these numbers together and divide by the number of pages counted, and multiply the result by the total number of pages.

A better way, and a more correct one, is to count the number of words contained in from fifty to a hundred lines; then add them together and divide them by the number of lines counted; multiply this number by the number of lines in the manuscript. The result is likely to be more close to the correct number, unless the author has written with a pen several lines between the typewritten sections, as it is obvious that pen-written lines are likely to contain less words than the typewritten lines.

After the number of words has been ascertained, write in the left-hand corner of the first page of the manuscript, the number of words which it contains. This should be done, not only with book manuscripts, but with those of short stories and articles.