Do you want to know how long to make a story?

Size matters.

Some say write until your done, but as with all things, there is a rule of thumb. And knowing where the goal-line is may be helpful.

Want to know the answer?

I do agree we should write until finished, however, goals and guidelines are helpful. And as usual, successful writers/bloggers come to the rescue. With the help of friends, you can take the guesswork out of the numbers. 


Flash Fiction?

Generally, unless restricted by rules of a publication or contest, the word count for Flash Fiction is under 1,000. If submitting to a specific publication be sure and check their requirements.

A Drabble?

A Drabble is exactly 100 words, not including the title. Writing 100 words is not as easy as you might think. Takes practice. Give it a try.

Short story?

A short story length generally falls somewhere between 1,500 and 4,000 words. As with flash fiction, if submitting to a specific publication, check their rules.

Novelette, Novela?

In our fast-paced world, the Novelette and Novela are becoming very popular.  A Novelette is usually between 7,000 and 20,000. The Novela word count is between 20,000 -40,000.

Novel or Epic?

Novels vary between 40,000 – 110,000 depending on genre. Writing an epic is a big challenge. These tombs are over 110,000. Whew!

Here are my own cheat sheets.

Feel free to copy and paste them into your computer.

Robin Woods breaks down the word count further into genres. Be sure and read her post…



Christine Frazier breaks down the books into chapters and chapter count. This information can be really helpful in keeping your book consistent. Know where and how to break a chapter is important. Unless there is a compelling reason, you wouldn’t want your book to give the reader whiplash with one chapter 1000 words and the next one 4,500. Christine breaks down a few popular novels for us.

Playing the Numbers: Basic Word Counts by 


As with all rules, some are made to be broken. But, I find having guidelines and goals make me a better writer. What about you?

Want to read more about correct word counts keep reading. Here are more great posts on the subject.

Novel and Short Story Word Counts | 

What is the Perfect Length of Short Stories? 

How to Write a Drabble

Was this information helpful?

Do you think guidelines are useful?

Leave me a comment and tell me what you think.




23 thoughts on “Do you want to know how long to make a story?

  1. Damn, Sis. I’m at 60,000, and now, you tell me I need another 15! LOL. I’ve always read 50,000 is a good target for a finished novel. I agree overshooting in a draft is probably a good idea because of the editing sure to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In children’s fiction, that is an awfully big jump between 700 words to 20,000. I know my boys get intimidated by the number of pages of some books.
    Seems the there could be room for another medium in the middle, to bridge that gap for those who need it.

    Just my thoughts as a Mum

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, you’re right. The broad range is because some books are early readers, beginning chapter books and advanced readers. The guidelines encompass all of those. The author should do a little more research to narrow down their audience needs.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think that it could be argued that there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this. The most important thing is to get the story onto paper and let it go on for as long as it has to. Restricting yourself to a time limit can damage the flow and structure of the story. If you are going to write ‘War and Peace’ you need to at least have some idea of how long you intend it to be. However the best advice I think would be like I said let the story go on for as long as it has to and and then revise the length in the editing process. I usually set myself a set number of pages a day and have the next ten or so chapters planned despite knowing the end result however sometimes that can be different from how you intended it to be,

    Any thoughts on this would be welcomed

    Tom Gould

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. But to have an idea of what is expected of a finished product, I find helpful. I’ve read many authors over-shoot these numbers in the draft and that gives plenty of room to tighten up and cut unnecessary sections.


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