Over at Rachel Gardner's publishing blog "Rants and Ramblings," I read over her quick and dirty tutorial on what it takes to get published. I figured I would expand my education, no harm right? Well, the issue of word count came up and she pointed to a resourceful post by Colleen Lindsay of "The Swivet" that described industry standard word counts in a variety of genres. I balked because the genres my projects fell under -- Adult Contemporary Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Historical Fantasy (for one project at least) -- had 90,000 words as the standard minimum.
My current MS, Faerie Games, has a grand total of 70,000.
So here's a quandary for everyone out there: is it acceptable to pad a manuscript a bit so that it can sell?
On one hand, if an MS is too short, adding additional description is never bad. Adding entire scenes isn't even bad, just make sure they can do something for the rest of the plot. However, 20,000 words worth of padding seems a bit excessive. That might just mean I'm being stubborn, but revisions that huge would mean super charging certain minor subplots, adding entire chapters dedicated to minor events and largely unneeded development.
Then again, perhaps more is needed. Sometimes character development is lacking, sometimes extra, vivid, descriptions are needed. Sometimes certain subplots need to be intensified and minor events can lead to phenomenal moments in a work.
You tell me, how much is too much and how much is too little? What's your personal experience with the word-count system? Too much, too little?