Some Questions on Light Novels

cghdsgftrs-2Some times I tend to write more articles showing my ignorance about a subject rather than try to enlighten people. Before anyone jumps to conclusions, yes, I have read some light novels, and this is half the reason why have these questions. I haven’t been able to find a consistent standard for what light novels are, so if anyone thinks they have firm grasp on the subject please try to answer these.

Word Count:

A few places have said that light novels should have up to 50,000 words. However, this word count can be loose enough that it can give or take 50% of this word count. Sword Art Online for instance had just over 75,000 words.

  • Between what word counts should the length of a light novel be?


There’s a bit of a difference between light novels and anime style light novels that have become popular in the anime community. Because of this it’s generally thought that anime style light novels should be accompanied anime style artwork.

  • Do you think these light novels needs to have this artwork?

Mixing Audiences:

Like visual novels it’s the translations from Japanese created VNs, light novels translation are generally weeaboo approved. However, I bet you didn’t know that the anime Deltora Quest came from a light novel series written by an Australian? Blimey!

  • Should Western and Japanese light novel styles mix?


This entry was posted in Accel World, Light Novel, Sword Art Online and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Some Questions on Light Novels

  1. Artemis says:

    Late comment is late, sorry!
    I can’t answer all these questions but I can say with some confidence that in Japan at least, the typical length of a light novel is between 20,000-50,000 words. No doubt there are a few exceptions, but I’ve personally never come across a light novel that goes over that word count. Regarding the artwork, I’ve also never seen a light novel without any manga-style illustrations. Whether or not a light novel actually needs this artwork to be classified as a light novel at all though, I couldn’t tell you, as I’m not that familiar with the rules of the Japanese publishing industry.

  2. I have no idea if there is a hard rule on how many words a book needs to have to be classed as a light novel. I just think they have to be be shorter than a regular novel. I presume they include anime artwork to attract manga fans and possibly to tempt studios to adapt the stories.

  3. Silvachief says:

    (Please delete that previous mis-post >.<)

    I'm no expert at all but when I think "Light Novel" it's the writing style that tends to stand out to me more than length. A focus on protagonist stream of thought and description of events seems to predominate with a lack of descriptors for person and place.

    LNs do tend to have different art. I can't help but wonder whether it's a budget thing.

    For Western and Eastern styles…I would classify Deltora Quest as a children's novel rather than an LN. Though the simplified descriptors remain the target audience, content and language differ.

    • Lazarinth says:

      I agree with the style thing but children’s novels and light novels aren’t really mutually exclusive. That’s comparing text length with audience demographic and light novels can be for children also.

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