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White Space or What
Saturday, April 01, 2006
I was on Julie Cohen's blog a few days ago when she mentioned her word count and how the white space count differed to the 'Word' word count. What I'm confused about, though, is which of them should we be counting?

From what I've understood, white space is counted as 25 lines per page giving an approximate count of 250 words per page. This means that my WIP has 19,000 words rather than the 15,338 of actual words that are counted in Word (why couldn't Microsoft have given it a better, less confusing name?).

At the current rate, if I write 55,000 'Word' words, the white space count will be around 68,000 which is far too many for M&B. But if I stick to the white space count and bring it in at around 55,000 words, I'll only have about 44,000 actual words. So what does one do?

One of the commenters on Julie's blog said that white space takes into account the gaps at the end of dialogue, chapters etc., which take up real book space. Makes sense, and which sounds to me as though I should be counting white space instead of actual words, but I'm not sure and my brain's confuddled.


[Update: I've since come over this article on Estimating Word Count and thought I'd share it with you]
Posted by Sharon J on 2:33 PM   

Anonymous Karen Lee Field said...

I beat my head against a brick wall over this for years. Everyone told me something different. Then, I had the good fortune to talk to an agent and ask questions. That was one of the questions I asked.

He said to use the white space formula. Now, that's the only way I work out my word count.

2:58 AM   

Anonymous Sharon J said...

Hi Karen. I've done a bit of research into this since I wrote that post and it seems it differs depending on the publisher. As my writing's specifically aimed at Mills & Boon, computer word count is the way for me to go although they also used white space count in 'the old days'. I guess it's something that should always be researched before sending off a manuscript with a cover page stating word count.

10:15 AM   

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