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Zanzibar
March 4th, 2005, 10:07 AM
Another question about the community section. I realize a lot of people simply abandon reading a short story because it is too long, or they refuse to read it altogether for the same reason. Just how long can a story be before you say, "No"?

juzzza
March 4th, 2005, 10:14 AM
Sure, some people will refuse to read a story because of its length, but if they start and then abandon it, it's nothing to do with its length, it's the quality of the story.

So, in answer to your last question, it could be one sentence, one paragraph, one chapter or if it's good, the story ain't long enough!

PaxNoctis
March 4th, 2005, 10:31 AM
Length never bothers me. Quite frankly, if I'm into a story, I don't WANT it to end, so I like 'em long anyway. It's all about whether the first parts manage to capture my attention or not.

~Pax

Abby
March 4th, 2005, 03:28 PM
I'll ditto what Juzzza and PaxNoctis said. Actually, I don't participate in the community section here (because of all the critique groups I'm in already), but the question applies to all. I may hesitate to start a story that's longer than 10,000 words, but if it captures me, I'm more than happy to finish it. I just got through critiquing a really awesome 35,000 word novella that I was more than happy to finish. Quite entertaining. :D

However, if I'm obligated to read a long story that sucks, I'll secretly build up resentment toward the author.

JRMurdock
March 4th, 2005, 08:09 PM
However, if I'm obligated to read a long story that sucks, I'll secretly build up resentment toward the author.

Glad I've never forced you to finish anything of mine. :)

Myself, my reading time is precious to me. If I'm reading/critiquing, then I'm not reading professional quality work and I find my own work slips as a result. If I'm going to critique something, I try to ensure that I'm on a break from writing (as of late I've been on quite a writing spree).

But length also doesn't bother me. I will stop if the reading becomes work to finish. I do honestly try to finish everything I start reading. I mean EVERYTHING. If I buy a book, I'll read it. If I offer to take on a piece, I'll read it (of course I've got a large to-read pile and I'm slow on my critiques right now). It never has anything to do with length, it's just a time factor for me. I want to give an in depth critique, not just read and say 'that was okay'.

KatG
March 7th, 2005, 10:14 PM
Another question about the community section. I realize a lot of people simply abandon reading a short story because it is too long, or they refuse to read it altogether for the same reason. Just how long can a story be before you say, "No"?

Length roughly determines the category of short fiction. Flash fiction is very, very short. A short story might be from 1,000-7,000 words. A novelette is loosely 7,000-15,000 words and a novella, the longest of the short forms, is about 15,000-50,000 words. Of course, if you want, you can call a long novella a novel. That was a tradition in the old days of sf, where novels were often expanded novellas. The length of categories often overlaps and may change without notice. I think someone a bit back put up the Hugo Award definitions of length for short fiction, which would be a good guide for the current marketplace. In terms of judging how long you might want to go, check out the guidelines for magazines and see what length they are looking for. For a newcomer, they may, however, not be willing to publish novella length work, but you never know.

If you're frustrated with the length of your stories, then try to identify what is causing the length problem -- extraneous description, a lack of condensing, too much dialogue and too many scenes, etc. But trying to please potential readers is a sucker's bet, because you can never please all of them. So you best work on trying to get it how it works best for you and figuring out your own style and preferred length.

Expendable
March 7th, 2005, 10:30 PM
It was the SFWA Nebula Awards, and you can find it here (http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9752)

For the Nebula Awards, the SFWA (http://www.sfwa.org/) says:

A short story as being under 7,500 words.
A Novelette is between 7,500 to 17,499 words.
A Novella is between 17,500 to 39,999 words.
A Novel is 40,000 words and up.

Other people will tell you a short story is anything under 10,000 to 15,000 words.

Flash Fiction are stories under 1000 words (many are under 500).