How long is a ….?

scroll_quillpenQuestions I frequently see asked are for length definitions for various categories of writing. Below I have two different sets of definitions for lengths/names. Of the two versions: one is from a writing site I belonged to years ago  and was claimed to have been taken from SFWA. [The SFWA definitions may have changed since back then.] The other is from Absolute Write Water Cooler.

  • Flash: Under 500 words is generally considered flash fiction, although some markets consider as high as 1,000 words to be flash. Up to 1,000 words.
  • Short Short: Under 2,000 words.
  • Short Story – Under 7,500 words.  USA: 2,000-7,500 words; UK & Commonwealth: 1,000-12,000 words.
  • Novelette – Between 7,500 – 17,500 words.  General Fiction: 7,500-15,000 words; SF & Fantasy- 7,500-17,500 words.
  • Novella – Between 17,500 – 40,000 words. General Fiction: 15,000-30,000; SF & Fantasy: 17,500-40,000 words.
  • Novel – Over 40,000 words. General Fiction: over 30,000 words; SF & Fantasy: over 40,000 words.

Average word counts of novels per genre appear here in an article by Aaron Stanton


4 thoughts on “How long is a ….?

    • Teresa
      I did this for self-preservation – since I can’t remember it myself, nor find it when I need it. Thought if I would make a post at least I’d know it was there somewhere and I’d just have to search for it.

  1. Thanks for the info. Funny how the word count in a novel can be so different according to genre. The novelette length seems to be making a comeback. 🙂

    • Aubrey
      I found the varying lengths interesting also. Have my fingers crossed about novelettes and comebacks – we shall see. Glad you stopped by and commented.

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