1. Gladiatrix
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    Gladiatrix Member

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    Length of a story!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Gladiatrix, Jan 20, 2015.

    So I was just wondering about how long peoples stories usually are?

    I know that there is no real set length, but I just wondered about how long people choose to make them?

    I currently have 2 unfinished stories, one is about 80,000 words the other only 3,000.

    Does a longer story mean a better story as there will be more room for things to happen?

    How long are your stories or popular published stories?
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I read somewhere, not sure where, but longer stories are in vogue right now. In fact if the stories aren't exceptionally long the publisher will make the font larger to expand the pages. I think however this is more for readers of certain genres- like fantasy, horror, ya, historical. A lot of them like a long read. In fact they almost expect it.

    I'm all over place. I've written short stories about 24 pages ( I go by page count easier than word count ), novellas ( aprox 40 - 80 pages ) and I'm thinking of returning to my first ever novel which is huge ( like 1300 pages ). I'm a bit long winded when it comes to novels - :) which is why I get physically tense just starting one. For me it's like standing at the bottom of a mountain you're about to climb, no end in sight.

    One that I worked on about a decade ago - first draft was like 700 pages. It wasn't even a fantasy! My shortest novel however has been approximately 350 pages - it was heavenly to be that brief.
     
  3. Shamgar81
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    Shamgar81 Member

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    The story is only as long as the length in your head, I find it hard to lengthen or shorten a story if its not that length in my head
     
  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Most of my published books are right around 80K. There are some exceptions (some novellas around 30K, some category YA around 60K, and a couple too-long-but-didn't-know-better books at around 130K.

    I think it's important to match the length to the story, but I also think it's useful to match the story to accepted lengths, at least if you want to be traditionally published. It's all about knowing the market.
     
  5. TheOneKnownAsMe
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    TheOneKnownAsMe New Member

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    I seem to hover around 110,000 words.

    Does a longer story mean a better story as there will be more room for things to happen?
    A longer story does not always equate a better story. Length should always be determined by the needs of the story. I'm of the opinion that you shouldn't artificially limit or stretch a story to fit a pre-determined number of words or pages. If the story demands more, if it has more secrets to reveal, then let the story say what it needs to say.

    On the other side, you should never stretch a story beyond it's bounds simply because you "want to write a really long story" or whatever your reason may be. If the story has expended itself and there is nothing more to say, then let it rest.

    At least, that all applies for the first draft for me. There will always be editing that needs to be done, fluff that needs to be cut, etc. The story has needs, but that doesn't mean every little detail absolutely has to be in there.
     
  6. Gladiatrix
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    Gladiatrix Member

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    Thank you all for your replies, that is very useful!
     
  7. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    In the writing world, a story refers to a short story. A longer work (something over about 40k words) is a novel. The word counts aren't rigid, but it's good to be on the same page as everyone else in the industry.

    To answer your question, short stories can be up to 12k words (again, depends who you ask), whereas a novel can be over a million words in some cases (e.g., Proust's In Search of Lost Time). If you're a first time author, aim for the 80k-120k range.
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    As long as I need to tell the story. I guess we're talking novels here or at least longer stories? My first was over 120K, the second 75K and the third was a novella of 40K. I'm not much for adding "fluff" to reach a certain amount of words. ;)
     
  9. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I haven't written any longer works yet so my usual word count is around 2000-3000 words. When I write I don't choose to make the stories this length, instead I let the story flow until it reaches its own end.
     

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