short story lenghts

I write this post as I am (theoretically) putting the finishing touches on a short story that I've written.

"But shouldn't you be working on a novel?" You ask.

Well yes. But this short story is related to the novel, and any time I have the overwhelming urge to write a short story, I'm prone to take it, because I'm not much of a short story writer by temperament and I think it's a good practice/skill to encourage.

Anyway, so I'm writing this short story. And it's cruising in right around the 6,500-7,500 is word length for the first draft, which isn't bad. Actually the whole thing isn't terribly wretched, which is kinda awesome.

In any case, I wanted to explain one part of my challenge in writing and thinking about writing short form.

You see, for a long time, for some reason, I thought that "short stories" were all around 2,000 words, and that longer things were really novellas, or novelettes at the very least.

Which is totally false the shortest (non-flash) short stories are at least 2,000 words (typically) and novelettes start (according to SFWA) at 7,500 words. This was so embeded in my brain, that I would read (or listen) to stories that were clearly 5,000-10,000 words and think to myself "isn't it amazing how they fit that much story into 2,000 words?"

sigh

And while I'm not sure having a realistic notion of short story length has made me a better writer of short forms, it's made it possible to write shorter forms.

And that, my friends, is a start.

[Edit: I totally finished the short story and twittered about it yesterday morning, as I'm posting this, I'll post about that later. Anyway, impeding big news, that I think I'll be ready to talk about on Monday or so. Stay tuned and have a good weekend.]

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