9. Jan, 2017

Size does matter

The length of a written article varies as much as the genre these days and there are times when even I’m puzzled when a challenge is put to me. The latest was writing drabbles. I’d never heard of them and had to do some research to find out what exactly these mysterious things were. It turned out that the name itself indicated the sum of words that made up the completed story; in this case 100 (or 101) words depending on who you’re talking to.

So … to put some of us out of our misery I have put together this short list of writing/book descriptions with word counts and what they mean.

DRABBLE – 100 (or 101) words. These little tit bits are marvellous. In fact, I love the challenge of them … to write an entire story, complete with beginning, middle and end with only a specific number of words is harder than you think. I know; I’ve tried! But it’s a great exercise.

FLASH FICTION – Around 1,000 words. These are the stories that magazines love – the five-minute reads for lunch-time perusal. The editors who accept them like these tales to have an unexpected twist or sting in the end.

SHORT STORIES – Between 1,000 and 7,500 words. There is a lot more room to manoeuvre in these writings. Several characters can be used, along with several twists and turns.

NOVELETTE – 7,500 to 15,000 words. This was another new one on me, mainly because the word is rarely used. It’s a bit like a mini-me novella. All the same rules apply, as they should with all writing but the scope is wider.

NOVELLA – 15,000 to 40,000 words. This length seems to be very popular these days, mainly because it is no mean feat to write this many words … even for a writer with experience.

NOVEL – 40,000 to 100,000 words. As far as I’m concerned this is like climbing a mountain. Unless you are one talented writer this can take considerable time to achieve.

EPIC – 200,000 words and upwards. There are not many authors these days who write epics. They were common in the days of Virgil, Lord Byron and Harold Robbins, but they take years to put together. And these guys didn’t have the internet.

There you have it. Don’t let this restrict you; just use it as a guide when you tally up those words you so lovingly put together.

(C) Margaret R Blake 09-01-2017