Word Count Makes A Difference Between Short Stories, Novels, and Novellas

Word count means the number of words in your story. There are guidelines to follow in the publishing industry; however, different genres have different preferences. Please double-check before submitting to agents or publishers, or hitting the publishing button. Here’s a break-down between short stories, novels, and novellas:

NOVEL–50,000 to 110,000

  • has more complicated plot (beginning, middle, ending)
  • has main and supporting characters
  • has chapter breaks
  • very popular length for paperbacks and hardbacks

NOVELLA–20,000 to 50,000

  • has a more complicated plot than a short story but not much in-depth like a novel
  • has more than one character, but usually focuses on just main ones
  • typically no chapter breaks
  • very popular length for e-books (so readers can finish in one sitting)

SHORT STORY–1,000 to 7,500

  • has simple plot (usually focuses on a couple of scenes, sometimes even only one)
  • has more than one character, but usually focuses on just main ones
  • no chapter breaks
  • very popular length for magazines and writing contests (readers definitely finish in one sitting)

For all the writers out there, is there anything you’d like to add on the guidelines for different lengths of books? Especially on how genres have varied lengths?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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5 thoughts on “Word Count Makes A Difference Between Short Stories, Novels, and Novellas

    • Cool beans that you heard of that too. I didn’t include it because the sites I read said the novelette wasn’t taken seriously in the publishing industry. I don’t know why. A story is a story–no matter how long it is.

      Keep smiling,
      Yawatta

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