How Long Does It Need to Be? (Short Fiction)

In many of these posts, we will be referencing the guidelines of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) guidelines. For writers of SF/F, this is the industry standard. You can find this website online HERE. In other posts, we will talk about the professional organizations available to speculative fiction writers. However, back to the point:

You wrote a story. Go you! You’ve edited it and want to send it out. Double Go You!! But where do you send it, what kind of story is it?

In publishing, the Word Count of a story dictates if it’s a short story, novella, novelette, or a novel. In High School, we talked about page count, but in professional publishing, its on word count.

Flash Fiction – Less than 1,000 words

Short Stories — 1,000-7,500 words

Novelette – 7,500-17,500 words

Novella – 17,500-40,000 words

Novel – 40,000 + words

Keep in mind, as we discuss submissions, that each market may vary with their definitions of length. But make sure that when you read submission guidelines, you adhere to their word count requirements. Some places will not accept flash fiction, others will not accept stories over the 7,500 word mark, or even less. Always go with the requirements and submission guidelines of a market.


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