I’m reading Dean Koontz’s novel The Taking, among other books.
These days, it seems I have a “work-book,” a “home-book,” a “going-to-bed-book,” a “travelling-book,” and a number of books in varying stages of being read strewn about.
Oh, yes, I have a “bathroom-book.” What half-literate male doesn’t?
As I’m writing the rough draft for my novel, I’m studying Dean Koontz’s work. His style has made him a bestselling author. With any one novel, he sells millions of copies. I, too, would love to sell a million copies of my first novel!
What author wouldn’t?
Here is what I’ve learned about Dean Koontz’s writing style by not only reading The Taking, but also by studying his writing.
1. As a rough estimate, Koontz has 313 words or so on each full page.
2. There are 338 pages of text.
3. He divided his work into 7 “parts” for a total of 67 chapters.
4. 313 X 338 = 105,794 words maximum. At the minimum, he has 84,823. I got the minimum count by using this formula: Because there are 67 chapters, and each chapter begins with ¾ page of text and ends with ½ page of text, give or take a fraction, for the lower end count I subtracted the last page of each chapter (67 pages) and pretended that each first page was full. Note that the high end word-count for popular novels is 85,000, so I doubt that Dean Koontz went too far beyond that with this work.
He’s not Stephen King, after all!
We’ll pretend his word-count is 85,000 to 100,000 words
5. His chapters vary in length from 3 pages to 11 pages. After counting pages halfway through the book, I can’t find anything longer than 11 pages.
6. That means . . . there is no chapter greater than 3,443 words. There is no chapter less than 939 words.
7. From memory, each chapter equates to a single scene. My God – that makes it fabulously easy for him to do R-E-V-I-S-I-O-N-S. If you need to add a scene early on to make something later in the book more sensible, you just write a new chapter.
8. His Flesch-Reading Ease is 70.8. His Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level is 7.1. Every high school dropout in the world can read and enjoy his work.
As I read more of the works by my favorite authors over the coming weeks, I’m going to keep these things in mind, and do a simple analysis of their work one-by-one. Something tells me that when writing for the masses, simpler is much better.