Tuesday, March 07, 2006

To count to 20, I remove my shoes. Twenty-one, I take off my pants.

Bill, a member of my writing group, got a ms kicked back today with the note that his word count is way off. He asks, "My Microsoft Word word count puts it at 120K. She says it’s actually 167K, based on 250 words per page with 12-point Courier New and 25 lines per page. IS THIS TRUE?"

I don't know. I told him I'd heard something recently about not trusting the computer's word count, but I've published two books so far and this has never come up. So I promised I'd ask you guys.

If Sunshine Al is still around, do you use this formula, or do you go by the computer's word count? Anyone else?

Really, math was never my best subject, so don't make me do multiplication. It makes my eyes bleed.


Schaz said...

I thought it was an interesting question so poked around...and guess what? Word count does not mean number of words. Who would have thunk it...

From John Gregory Betancourt's article on manuscript preparation: "IMPORTANT: WORD COUNT IS *NOT* THE EXACT NUMBER OF WORDS IN A STORY! "Word count" is, more accurately, the amount of space a story will take up when typeset. Editors conside one word to be 6 characters (5 characters plus a space)."

Microsoft Word, on the other hand, counts anything between two spaces as a word (generally speaking).

Daniel Hatadi said...

There was a big post on this the other day over at The Sword & The Quill.

Sunshine said...

I use the computer word count and it's never been an issue. Probably best to check with individual editors, though. Just because the sun rose today, doesn't mean it'll rise tomorrow. Ahem.