1. Charmichan
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    Charmichan Member

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    Short Stories: How 'Short' is Short?

    Discussion in 'Support & Feedback' started by Charmichan, May 2, 2011.

    I don't know if this have been posted before.... but is there a word count limit for this or what?
     
  2. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Do you mean how many words you have to have in a short story in order to post it in the Review Room or what? I'm not sure what your question is, or do you mean how many words you have to have to post on the thread? Some websites require that you must have at least 25 characters (including spaces) to post a reply, but I'm not sure how many you need for this site.
     
  3. Arathald
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    Arathald Contributing Member

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    I don't know that there's a specific rule for the forum; just don't be posting a novelette or novella in that section. Consider that many people here aren't going to want to read a particularly long work, so you should probably not post an entire work over 4,000 words or so, but rather post an excerpt instead.
     
  4. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Short stories are generally 1,000-10,000 words, although the boundaries are fairly elastic. The usual decider is the limits of wherever you're submitting to, but we don't place a limit on the forums (although be aware that the shorter the piece is, the likelier it is to get more reviews).
     
  5. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    So I gues you were talking about how many words in short story. Like Banzail said, it may range from 1,000-10,000 words. I wouldn't post the entire story if you are thinking about getting it published. Maybe 2,000k would be a good amount for readers to grasp grammar errors and so on in your writing. Just be sure to strike a balance between how much you are going to post in the Review Room for Review and how many words you tend to write in your short story for publication.
     
  6. Corbyn
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    Corbyn Lost in my own head Contributor

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    I read once that a short story should be concise. That the writer shouldn't worry so much about the word count but that structure should be different than a novel. The example the text gave was actually a dumbed down description. It basically said:

    A man finds his way up a tree. He becomes stuck. He finds a way to get himself down.

    I know that this answer doesn't give you a specific as far as word count but I asked the same question when I decided I wanted to limit what I was writing to a short story instead of a novel or novella. This was the answer I was given. Word count isn't so important but structure is. There are plenty of older "short stories" that could now be called novellas in their own right as far as word count goes. Hope this helps.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    most published short stories run about 5k, but publications have their own preferences, so you must check out the guidelines for each one, to make sure your piece fits what they want...

    you should not post anything more than a brief excerpt anywhere on the internet, if you intend to submit your story to magazines/literary journals... 2k would be more than you should post, as well as more than many members here would bother reading...

    check out the venues at www.duotrope.com to find out what the average preferred size is for the ones your piece will be appropriate for...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  8. Charmichan
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    Charmichan Member

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    wow! Thanks for the answers guys! I can see better from the fog now.

    This is what I understood. Short stories can be as long as 25-10,000 characters, not necessarily a full story with a beginning, middle and end; also could be an excerpt for a novel/article; and not too long to attract better reviews.

    Or is it more about structure as Corbyn says?

    As long as it's not too long, its all good. Thanks for the replies guys!
     
  9. Arathald
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    Arathald Contributing Member

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    I think you mean words rather than characters, and there's no lower limit, though even the shortest short stories I've seen have at least a semblance of beginning, middle, and end (i.e. they still have a story arc, no matter how abbreviated). For an example, see Hemingway's famous six-word story (your favorite search engine can help you out there).

    Excerpts from novels, screenplays, etc. should be posted in their appropriate sections, not in short stories.
     

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