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solarsurfer
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Thought I had a good idea for a short story but I'm at 2000 words and still introducing characters...

Bad sign? Or should I just keep writing until I reach the end and let the length be decided that way?

(I'm not sure I have the stamina to write a novel...:P)


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lehollis
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Every writer has different rules that work for them, so if your story is working for you, write it. After its done, you can worry about the length, but I say shoot for at least 10% reduction in word count when you edit.

If I remember right, a short story is anywhere from 2,000 to 20,000 words. Novella from 20,000 to 60,000 (or 80,000). And a novel is a lot of work. (Flash Fiction is less than 2,000 or less than 1,000).

I'm sure someone around here will have more precise numbers. Or at least sound more confident in their numbers than I am.

[This message has been edited by lehollis (edited July 07, 2007).]

[This message has been edited by lehollis (edited July 07, 2007).]


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solarsurfer
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Thanks so much. Your word counts have helped me gage things better...I think this will work for a short story, 20,000 words seems like plenty of wiggle room.

This is my first attempt at anything substantial (most of what I've written has been "flash fiction" I guess). I'm tempted to post some of it, but I think I'll try to abide by the golden rule: don't post the first 13 until you're done writing the first full draft!

...this is going to take all of my self-control...

[This message has been edited by solarsurfer (edited July 07, 2007).]


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Matt Lust
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Actually I typically use Analog's standard when I think about lengths.

quote:
We prefer lengths between 2,000 and 7,000 words for shorts, 10,000-20,000 words for novelettes, and 40,000-80,000 for serials.

taken from Analog Submission guidelines


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Spaceman
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According to SFWA:

Short story is < 7500 words
Novelette is 7500 - 17499
Novella is 17500 - 39999
Novel is 40000+

Regardless of Analog's definition, this is the breakdown I've seen most commonly used.


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Robert Nowall
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Write to your own length. Then decide whether---or if---to cut, or even expand.

My last finished story ran twenty-five thousand in rough draft. By picking away at it, I got it down to twenty thousand. (Already been bounced once---I just got the MS back this morning.)


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Rick Norwood
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I would like to know who bounced it and how long the turn around time was, and I think that info would help others as well.
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Rommel Fenrir Wolf II
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make it as long as you must to get the story compleat.
Rommel Fenrir Wolf II

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RMatthewWare
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You can check out the spec fic markets to see what they're looking for in length. Here's a site that may help: http://www.duotrope.com/

Beyond that, your problem may be in knowing the difference between a short story and a novella/novel. A short story is generally one scene. You have one build up, one climax, and the end. I know that's overly basic, but then, I did use the word 'generally'.

So you won't go terribly into back story (or if you do, that's ALL you do). You won't do a whole lot of character development. My problem with short stories is I usually want to give too much. I want to write a whole story with many scenes. That's why I end up writing novels.


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solarsurfer
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RMatthewWare: I think by that definition then I've started a novella...LOL. I can't seem to write stories without bouncing around through different characters and events either.

Thanks everyone for your help!


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Robert Nowall
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quote:
I would like to know who bounced it and how long the turn around time was, and I think that info would help others as well.

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, mailed out June 30th, back in my P. O. box July 8th with a rejection slip dated July 3rd. (The MS was heavy enough to put Priority postage on it, both ways.)


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