1. scribbledhopes
    Offline

    scribbledhopes Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    1

    When short stories become long. what is a safe word count to go by?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by scribbledhopes, Oct 29, 2011.

    Was hoping someone could offer some advice.

    Is there a word count that is too long for a short story?


    I can't seem to write a short piece and still capture the story I want to tell. My stories are usually between 3000 and 5000 words. I have tried to trim them.

    I always wondered if there was a cap seasoned writers used. I fear it's because I lack the self control to know when to let it be. When I write, time blurs and I lose myself in the story. I keep going until my heart feels that the story I was telling is complete.

    I do end up with a decent story when I lose myself like that, it has more heart. The charicters have better debth and the action flows, but if I am not careful it can be ten pages.

    Then I go back and clip it and it feels like pulling petals from a flower. It becomes less.


    When it comes to posting it, I hold off. I don't want to put up 5000 words. Good people are taking there time to help me out and make me aware of areas of opportunity in my writing.

    I don't want to be inconsiderate and throw half a book at them. I notice some shorts I read are around a thousand, or even less.

    Then again, I hate given over half a story. That seems rude as well. As if I am offering something to be considered that isn't complete. I haven't put in the time but still want to hear what they think.

    So is there a golden rule on length in general, or a suggested word count goal for posting. I know you should comment more than you post. Which is a good rule, I learn a great deal thinking about what I would like to say and offer. It makes me go back and reread the story again and other comments so what I offer aren’t redundant.

    I learn a great deal from reading comments on other stories.

    I did a search on the FAQ, but didn't find anything.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated, Thanks.. Dave
     
  2. Timothy Giant
    Offline

    Timothy Giant Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2011
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Enkhuizen, Netherlands
    There isn't really a hard-and-fast rule for this, but the guidelines generally call anything between 100 and 8,000 words a short story. From 8,000 to 15,000 is a novellette. From, on average, 15,000 words onwards, it's a novella, and from, say, 50,000 a novel. These are just guidelines, and a mishmash of what experts have said on it, though.

    Other characteristics of short stories (as compared to novels) are that they often start in media res, have one storyline (no sub-plots), and tell a story that spans several hours, or a day (no big time jumps). These are again guidelines, for not each short story has all these characteristics, and not everything that has, is a short story (there are enough novels with no sub plots, start in media res, and have a short plot).
     
  3. scribbledhopes
    Offline

    scribbledhopes Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks Tim,
    That was very helpful, Dave..
     
  4. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    max for most magazines/literary journals is 5k... go over that and your chances for publication diminish...
     

Share This Page