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 Progressive word counts in Harry Potter series

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lin
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PostSubject: Progressive word counts in Harry Potter series   Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:01 am

I thought this progression of word counts for the Rowling series was interesting:
And the QUARTER MILLION words it got up to. Over three times the lenght of the book that made her bones for her.

One thing this might mean to the rest of us: keep your first books short?


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
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Approximately 198,227,
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Progressive word counts in Harry Potter series   Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:19 am

Something else. I was surprised at the low count for the first book. An awful lot happens in that book, but it's only 76K.
That's something to think about, too.
People diss Rowling for some reason, but she writes extremely tight without giving the impression of it. No wasted motion, she movies right through the business of telling Harry's story while also laying down the overall narrative arc and depicting an alien world for us.
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Dick Stodghill
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PostSubject: Re: Progressive word counts in Harry Potter series   Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:03 pm

Interesting that a series that began with 76K words grew to a book with 257K. I wonder if the latter book was better, worse or the same.
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: Progressive word counts in Harry Potter series   Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:24 pm

I agree with brevity but not at the expense of providing the reader with sufficient background to get the picture.

I read one book in particular by a PA author that was a good story. In the last chapter however it became obvious that the author was trying increase word count, and instead of a great wrap up, it was a let down.

The ending in my view is the climax. A public speaker who reaches the climax should shut up, sit down and enjoy the applause. Often they get so wrapped up in themselves and the good feeling expressed by the audience that they continue speaking and the ending gets scattered applause instead of a standing ovation. The ending is what most people remember - good, bad or indifferent.

Having said all that, perhaps I said more than was necessary.
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Malcolm
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PostSubject: Re: Progressive word counts in Harry Potter series   Tue Nov 25, 2008 3:53 pm

Lin,

I hadn't seen those word count stats before, but as the books lined up on my shelf, they were obviously getting thicker.

I don't know why people like to pick on Rowling. Jealousy, I suppose.

Malcolm
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Progressive word counts in Harry Potter series   Tue Nov 25, 2008 4:02 pm

I think that's a lot of it.
You get all these "money vs art" things cropping up when she's discussed (surest sign of a sophomore writer)
Nobody says that about Leonard or Michner, or even really crappy best-selling writers.

There's nothing wrong with her writing. It's high transparent (a better quality than trying to impress people with whatever literary flourishes people seem to think Rowling lacks) and as I mentioned before is very tight, with no flab on it.
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Pam
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PostSubject: Re: Progressive word counts in Harry Potter series   Wed Nov 26, 2008 1:41 am

Dick Stodghill wrote:
Interesting that a series that began with 76K words grew to a book with 257K. I wonder if the latter book was better, worse or the same.

Dick I checked with my daughter, who anxiously waited for each one as it came off the presses. The last one, she says, wrapped up some things kind of artificially, however, all of them were excellent, and the first four showed a progression of her expertise as a writer as her work actually got stronger.

So sayeth the kid. flower
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Progressive word counts in Harry Potter series   Wed Nov 26, 2008 4:24 am

Sounds like a "Sopranos Ending"?
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