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How long is a short story?

Posted on Saturday, December 8, 2007 in Writing

If you want to get your story published in a magazine or ezine there’s usually an upper limit for how long the story can be. It’s understandable, but personally, I can’t write stories that short. How can you develop the characters or the plot in just 1000-3000 words (or even less)?

What do you think? Do you prefer short short stories that are getting more and more popular these days, or do you agree with me that a story needs to be a little longer to qualify as a story?

Starting with novels, I’ve always heard that they’re supposed to consist of 70000 words and more, and a novella (or a novel for kids) needs to be at least 30000 words long. That has to mean that anything less would be a short story. Maybe it’s time to have more levels. For instance short short story, short story and long story (or possibly, though this sounds illogical, a long short story). Why not? I’d be interested to know what you guys think.

Bring on the comments

  1. I write short stories that are typically VERY short.
    They don’t typically have much of an arc, but I’ve found developing characters to be very easy in a short amount of time.
    I’d be curious to know your opinions on my writing, as you seem to prefer longer works, and again, my stories are almost microscopic.

  2. Sarah says:

    I’m not sure if what I’ve been doing on my blog is short story writing or brainstorming. I just tend to write up story scenes I think about.

    I prefer longer works like you where characters are fully developed… where the story is well rounded.

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