Sonnets have 14 lines, tweets are allowed up to 140 characters, most story contests have a maximum and sometimes a minimum word count. What they all have in common is that they offer the writer a certain amount of leeway as to exactly how many words to use. An exception is the drabble. This must have exactly 100 words excluding the title. Easy to get spot on, even if you have to count them manually–at least that's what I thought until I tried submitting some this week and discovered that my word count and my computer's word count differed.
It appears that the computer classes any word that is hyphenated as two words. It does this even when the part of the word on one side of the hyphen is not a word on its own, as in made-up names or words such as co-operative. Consequently, I had to recheck every drabble to make sure each one was the right length. Those I had composed on the computer were too short in actual words, but those I created using pen and paper were too long according to the computer. In the end, I went with counting hyphenated words as one and hope that the editor who receives them won't be fooled by their computer if it has the same habit as mine.
Don't you love technology?