1. Electralight
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    Electralight Member

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    How long is a short story?

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by Electralight, Jan 19, 2016.

    I recently started rewriting a series of short stories I wrote when I was in sixth grade. The versions I wrote back then were about 450 words (1 page), and were pretty bad. Now, I am only half way through rewriting the first one and its already 2,000 words (5 pages). My main question here is how long you think a short story should be. Is there a normal length or is it more of how the author writes the story?
     
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Very variable. A magazine I just submitted to said up to 15k. The lines are pretty blurred between flash fiction, short story and novella, with different publications setting different definitions for them.

    I read a lot of short stories and I prefer 5-10k, but that's totally arbitrary.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes, it really depends on the magazine. Most magazines I've seen ask for stories under 7,500 words, but you should pay close attention to the submission guidelines of the magazines you're submitting to. From the sounds of it, you should be fine.
     
  4. Electralight
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    Electralight Member

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    Okay! Thank you for the advice!
     
  5. Faust
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    Faust Contributing Member Supporter

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    Poe once described the ideal length of the short story to be something that could hold the readers interest but could be easily digested in a single sitting. He found 20k to be about the maximum before a reader starts to find the act of reading to be tedious. I read this on Wikipedia, so I cannot vouch for it's accuracy, but it seems to fall within the general industry specifications that we see a lot of.

    Best of luck with your short stories!

    Bonus: Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_story#Length
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
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  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This question comes up from time to time and there is no absolute answer. I just use the definitions of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America:

    Short story: up to 7,500 words
    Novelette: 7,500 to 17,500 words
    Novella: 17,500 to 40,000 words
    Novel: More than 40,000 words
     
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  7. Wolf Daemon
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    Wolf Daemon Active Member

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    Short Stories can be roughly anywhere from 12-40 pages.
    Then you have Short-Shorts which run anywhere from 1-12 pages
     
  8. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    My experience is 5,000 to 10,000 words for most markets that publish short stories, up to 15,000 for the longest short-story markets. All but the shortest novella markets start at 20,000 words, so my tendency to write 17,000 to 18,000-word stories lands me in an uncomfortable gap a lot of the time.
     

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