Short Story -> Novelette -> Novella -> Novel

Here’s the story about… um.. stories. Anything under 7,500 words is generally considered a short story, although depending on who you talk to the number can be rather fuzzy. In this instance, I’m citing the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America award guidelines. Novelettes are longer than short stories – they’re approximately 7,500 to 17,500 words. This is the length I’m looking at right now for the piece I’m working on. I’m at 13,000 words, and expect it to finish at the top end at around 17,000 words. Longer than the novelette is the novella, which is typically 17,500 to 40,000 words.

Hmm… the interesting thing is that most novels start at 80,000 words. I guess you would call something in between 40,000 and 80,000 words a short novel?

As for Milo (the codename for my story), while it’s only 13,000 words at the moment, those words are spread out over 29 chapters. Yes, it’s ridiculous I know. That works out to something like 450 words per chapter. And yes, that’s intentional. 🙂

What’s cool, though, is that – if I want and if I think it’s warranted – I could treat the once-completed draft as a chapter summary. Going back and filling in – it’s not such a huge step to short novel/novel. Nice, eh?  Although I’ll need to think long and hard about the decision. I don’t want to force the story into a shape just for shape’s sake. The form and structure have to serve the story.


~ by Samer on October 11, 2007.

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