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How long is a fantasy book? Words, pages, chapters, scenes, & prologues

S.R. Beaston
Crafty with words, wit, and wisdom, just add caffeine to make it more interesting.
Fantasy books can be a commitment to read. Not only do you have all these strange, invented names, but you have pages and pages, chapters and chapters of world building and information to comb through.
Now imagine having to write it.

how many chapters in a fantasy novel
There’s pure excitement in creating worlds and magic systems, revising and making our own fantasy creatures and keyboard smashing new names into existence, but that high starts to diminish once we actually apply those massive concepts concepts into our book. Forget for now how most of what we made will never make it into our novel, we have to worry about how big this novel will be.
How do we, as writers, avoid the eyes-to-big-for-our-stomach readers? How long should our fantasy books actually be? Here are some numbers that can guide you into a better understanding of how long fantasy books should and can be within reason.

How many words in a fantasy book?

A typical fantasy novel contains around 90,000 to 120,000 words. This range depends on factors like subgenre and target demographic. For example, epic fantasy can extend from 180,000 to 200,000 words. A young adult fantasy novel may only run from 50,000 to 90,000 words.

How many pages in a fantasy book?

There are around 200 single-spaced pages for a 100,000 word fantasy book, though it’s uncommon to measure novels in pages before publication.
On the shorter end, 70,000 words will produce about 140 pages single- spaced. On the epic end, you are looking at 380 pages for 190,000 word count.

how long is a fantasy novel
This is all using the default Microsoft Word settings of 12 pt Arial font with standard page size. If you love experimenting with formatting as I have in my WIP, these numbers can vary pretty drastically.
If you double-space, just double the page number. 200 pages will instead be 400 and so on.

How many scenes are in a fantasy book chapter?

On average, you may see anything from 1-3 scene changes in a single chapter in fantasy, but do not worry if you have more or less. There are no set rules for how many scenes should or should not be in each chapter, as long as the scene changes make sense.
Scene breaks are used within a chapter to indicate a change from what you just read. The change isn’t drastic enough to warrant a new chapter, but is significant enough to tell the reader "hey, something is different, take a pause."
These changes are common in fantasy as, again, there is a lot of information and likely a lot of characters through vast amounts of time.
Scene breaks may indicate a change in perspective (though this is more commonly done by chapter, not scene), a shift in time, or a change of location. Perhaps it’s a combination.
These can be however long or short they need to be within the chapter, just keep an eye on how long that chapter is getting.

How long is a fantasy chapter?

Fantasy chapters sit comfortably at 3,000 to 5,000 words, but many extend as long as 10,000 words. For fantasy, the amount of words per chapter can run higher than most other genres.
Again, this will vary depending on your subgenre. Modern or YA fantasy does not need as much in depth world building and information as an Epic. The Last Unicorn has over 20,000 words in one chapter so, use your best judgment.
I track my chapter word count on the ‘Chapters’ board in NovelPad. I can see how many words are in each scene and in the chapter itself. It’s an easy way to keep an eye on my chapter length.

novelpad chapter word count

How long is a fantasy book prologue?

The ideal length for a fantasy prologue is about half what your average chapter is, $ according to some readers$ , containing from 1,500 to 3,000 words. Prologues are almost always one scene, and they span no more than five or six pages.
Again, the prologue should be as long as it needs to achieve your goals and suit the story. You might even $ add a map or two$  with it to help establish your world.
Writing fantasy is a bigger commitment than many other genres. Knowing how much wiggle-room you have at your disposal can help ease some of the concern, but never forget that your first draft is telling yourself the story, and that might take 50,000 words or 300,000 words. Try not to worry about the length until it’s time to revise, then you can trim or expand it to fit your publishing standards.
If you are having trouble editing that thick fantasy novel, check out this post on $ how to edit a novel$ !
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