1. Canuckie
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    Canuckie New Member

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    A Quick Question Regarding Children's Stories

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Canuckie, Feb 18, 2009.

    Firstly, I hope that this is the appropriate place to put this and that it’s okay to post a question of this nature as my first official post on this forum. If not, I sincerely apologize.

    I have recently completed a children’s story geared for an audience of approximately 7-10 year olds. I’m finally happy enough with my manuscript to consider publication, but before I begin sending out query letters to agents, I need to figure out what sort of book I’ve written. It’s around 5,000 words in length, which makes it too long for a picture book, but it seems too short for a chapter book as well. So my question is, how would I categorize this story?

    Thanks so much in advance to anyone able to offer advice or suggestions!
     
  2. DvnMrtn
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    DvnMrtn Contributing Member

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    I've read before that 2,000 words and less is considered a short story and 2,000 - 10,000 would be considered a novelette. Google defines a novelette as:

    "a work of at least 7,500 words but under 17,500 words"
    source: www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Nebula-Award
     
  3. Canuckie
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    Canuckie New Member

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    Thank you very, very much DvnMrtn, I hadn't even thought of a novelette! :)
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is a bit long for a picture book, but I have seen some illustrated books for that age group that look like they are about that length. You can't really use adult definitions of what a novel etc are to determine how a children's book is going to be published. You aren't going to have 1000-word story published on it's own unless it is a picture book, you're not even going to get many novellas/novelettes that are published on their own unless they are for children. The best thing to do is look at the lengths that publishers ask for, if any. Or better yet, sumbit to agents. They will know if there are any publishers that will take something of that length and subject matter.
     
  5. DvnMrtn
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    DvnMrtn Contributing Member

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    I'll copy something from a book I have.

    Often, fiction writers at the early stages of their craft ask how long a novel is or should be....When it comes to the short story, my answer is an average of three thousand words...three thousand words is the average length of a short story asked for by magazines, literary quarterlies, anthologies, radio short fiction slots, and contests. Now I can hear the irritated fiction writers saying "what way is that to define the size of an art form?" A lousy way, but it is also the way such things have been defined and decided forever. Upper limit for the short story : Ten thousand words."

    One way to decide if your piece is a short story is: Can it be read in one sitting? What about your targeted age group? Would they be able to read it in one sitting? Short stories generally can be read in one sitting.

    So in the end it's up to you or your agents to categorize your piece. I don't know the story so I can't judge simply by the # of words. From the sounds of it it's either a novelette or a short story. I personally don't think putting a definite tag on a piece is necessary, but then again I've never submitted anything to an agent before. :p Good Luck
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    those word counts only apply to works for the adult market...

    for children and YA there are different parameters...

    i suggest you do some browsing on amazon for the age range you have in mind... check out the word totals down where it says 'text stats' and makeup of the books for those that have the 'see inside this book' option... you should also check out the 'concordance' info that will give you an idea of what vocabulary, sentence structure et al. is appropriate for those ages... doing that will answer your questions better than anyone here can...
     
  7. Canuckie
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    Canuckie New Member

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    Thanks so much for all of your advice everyone! You've all helped me out immensely! I'm so glad that I asked. :) Off to research I go...
     
  8. othman
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    othman Member

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    Have you ever read Danny the champion of the world? It's not short for it's age group but it does have quite a lot of pictures, maybe not one every page but it does have a fair few if memory serves me well.
     
  9. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    There is a class of books that appear more and more in class libraries called, "bridge books". It’s meant for readers that are between the picture book and short novel stages.

    One thing to consider is that the word count is not the only determining factor in classifying a young reader book. Content, vocabulary and complexity of plot should also be considered.
     
  10. Scarecrow28
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    I agree that it would most likely fall in the "bridge book" catagory like Dcoin mentioned.
     

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