Word count?

Hi everyone! So I’m going to be writing a StoryNexus game for Nanowrimo (whee!) and I was wondering how to estimate the size of the game & track my progress. I’m looking to write 20-25 thousand words (which, in my mind, is equivalent to Cabinet Noir, Bronze (by Emily Short) or the first performance or two of the Night Circus). My questions are:

  1. Are my estimates accurate? What’s the word count of a Cabinet-Noir-size game? What does a 25k-word game look like? I know that when FBG talks about Fallen London’s word count, I’m always surprised at how big it is.
  2. Is this size too ambitious? I’ve written text-games before (Inform 7, holla) and know my way around the SN tools - so the issue boils down to whether it’s realistic to write, implement, & debug ~850 words per day.


[color=#009900]Cabinet Noir is somewhere north of 40K words. [/color][color=rgb(0, 153, 0)] It’s easy to underestimate word counts, in part because many branches have more than one outcome, and that adds up.[/color][color=#009900]
[color=#009900]Internally, we always find it more effective to track game size and progress in number of both storylets and branches (because a 6-branch slet is a very different beast from a 2-branch slet), rather than words.[/color]

[color=rgb(0, 153, 0)]I’d suggest you work for 2-3 days and count the number of both storylets and branches you’ve managed then - and extrapolate from there for future progress. BUT you will want to reserve time for playtesting, sub-editing and debugging - I would suggest anything from 25% to 50% of the original production time, but it depends on how you work.[/color]
[color=rgb(0, 153, 0)]
[/color][color=rgb(0, 153, 0)](We will ultimately be adding analytics to let you see number of storylets and branches - and probably words - but not for a little while.)[/color]
[color=rgb(0, 153, 0)]
[color=rgb(0, 153, 0)]EDIT: clarity[/color]
edited by Alexis Kennedy on 10/7/2012

Wow, I was not expecting Cabinet Noir to be that big! Guess I better scale back then. Since Nano is traditionally a 50k-word novel, I was thinking of writing 25k words and using the other 50% for implementing & testing, so that sounds about right. And that’s exciting to hear of the future analytics too :) Thanks so much!