1. Masroefa
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    Masroefa Member

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    amount of words for a short story

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Masroefa, Nov 19, 2010.

    How many words should the ideal short story have? Is 7000 to much? How do you know when you have made it too long?
     
  2. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    I think it depends on the flow of your story, like if you add too much detail to the story, then you need to cut it short, because you don't want your readers to be in a coma. If you don't have enough description, then you may need to add more quality or words to the story. My novel is about 19,000 words long, but I might not have enough words for a publisher, but I have enough information that my readers need to know about my book.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    5k is the top limit for most magazine publishers... some may accept longer, but to maximize your work's chances, it would be wise to please the majority...

    you know you've made it too long if it's longer than the places you'd like to see it published will accept...
     
  4. DisFanJen
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    DisFanJen Member

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    This is something I wondered myself wen I decided to start putting some serious effort into writing.

    I did a bit of googling and came up with this:

    http://www.fictionfactor.com/articles/wordcount.html

    They say right at the top that these are rough guides and that you should always try to check if a publisher has set a specific upper and lower limit.

    Hope it helps!
     
  5. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    My favourite length is 2,000 to 4,000 words for a short story. However, it depends what you're aiming to explore throughout the piece, and how concise your message (if there is one) should be. A story should be as long as it needs to be, but it's the author's responsibility to decide what the right length is. Sometimes they get it right, sometimes they get it wrong. C'est la vie.
     
  6. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    It rather depends. There are a lot of differing views on how long a short story should be. I think technically it's anywhere between 500 and 7500 words, if I remember rightly, but you'll find differing views on this.
    As for the ideal short story length, it depends on your story. However long it needs to be.
    If you were aiming to publish it, then look at the lengths of where you are hoping to send it and that should help in establishing how long the short story should be.
     
  7. Masroefa
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    Masroefa Member

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    Wow, thanks u everyone for your thoughts and contributions to this question. Much appreciated :) at least I have some idea now.
     
  8. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Up to 5000 seems to be the accepted norm.

    It is better to have too many words than too few. Try cutting your 7000 word story down to 5000words and you may find that your story is a lot tighter and better for the edit.
     
  9. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    While I have seen markets that say they will accept shorts up to 10,000 words, most want less than that. 7500 I've seen, lots of 5000's and quite a few 3500's. Some will accept short stories that are longer but will want to break them up.
     
  10. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    It depends almost entirely on the publisher you're trying to sell it to.
     
  11. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes, definitely check the publisher's guidelines. If length isn't listed, you could always contact them and ask.
     
  12. skeloboy_97
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    skeloboy_97 Senior Member

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    it's not actually a novel if it is 19k words, it has to be 80k words for a novel, and 40k words for a novella
     
  13. miss_darcy
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    miss_darcy Member

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    I remember in my creative writing class my teacher wanted our short story to be 10,000 words, but usually my short stories are between 4,000 - 7,000 depending on the plot and characters.
     
  14. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Mine vary between about 3000 and 10,000, but lately I seem to be producing sci-fi stories that are 7k-15k. Not terribly helpful, given that not many places buy stories that long.
     

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