Do I write a short story, novel, or something in-between?
You have a ton of options on the length of your story.
I find that a lot of new writers out there like to think big and that’s awesome. I like that you’re thinking big. Big ideas change the world. My advice is that to get big, you should start small. Let’s examine some of the different types of story structure to see which one is right for you.
Micro-Fiction, Short-Short Story, Flash Fiction
- Pros: Writing at this length delivers more punch without being a major time suck for readers. We live in a busy world and these story lengths are perfect for a short break, a subway ride, or some leisure reading over lunch. Also, there are plenty of markets out there to showcase your talent in this arena. You can find one here. They’re always accepting short fiction.
- Cons: While they may be short, this fiction length can also be tricky. It takes real skill to pull off an interesting plot in this length, let alone through in the character development.
Typical word counts: Short-Short Story; 2,000 words or less / Flash Fiction; 1,ooo words or less / Sudden Fiction; 1,000 to 2,000 words
- Pros: Again, it’s a busy world and this length of a story doesn’t need a significant investment of time. You can pick up a story in your favorite genre and read it while laying in bed. You can get a lot more audience buy-in on empathizing with a character in these types of stories.
- Cons: Short stories can also be tricky due to the length. A valuable point to remember is that you should cut superfluous verbiage and remain focused on the intent of the story. When you’re editing, do not fear using the scythe to cut your story down .
Typical word count: 2,500 to 7,500 words
Novelette, NovellaShort Novel:
- Pros: They’re long enough that you can do a ton of worldbuilding and character development. They’re short enough that you won’t be overwhelmed. They allow you to develop the habits necessary for longer work as well.
- Cons: These can be difficult to sell through normal markets because they’re too long for magazines usually and too short to be called a novel. We have digital publishing venues today that are perfect for this type of story.
Typical word count: Novelette; 7,500 – 20,000 words / Novella; 20,000 – 50,000 words
Novel, YA Novel:
- Pros: You have plenty of room to breathe. Publishers like novels because they sell. If you have a series of novels, even better.
- Cons: New writers can get discouraged when they haven’t developed the habits necessary to complete a novel length work. It’s a daunting enterprise to undertake. Story development is much harder and you need the skills necessary to weave an intricate plot.
Typical Word Count: Novel; 50,000 – 110,000 words (Sweet spot 70,000 – 80,000 words) / YA Novel; 50,000 – 70,000 words
Your takeaways this week…
Next week we’re going to talk about some tools of the trade that I believe you will all find very useful. See you then and fly safe. o7
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Also published on Medium.