How long should a short story be?

This common question may come to mind before, during, or after you write a fiction composition. Three primary categories pertain to story length: short story, novella, and novel.

Short stories can run 1,500 words to 30,000 words. That’s a huge range, huh?

Novellas bridge the gap between short stories and novels. They can run 30,000 to 50,000 words long.

Novels, the term we use for all book-length fiction manuscripts, start at 55,000 words and may be as long as 300,000.

So what if your tale is exactly 30,000 words or it falls between 50,001 and 54,999 words? Just use your best judgment, if you must assign a category to your piece. Usually, publishers provide word count ranges, so the standards described here aren’t hard rules.

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