Short Story Musings

Last September, I outlined the first series for a short story based Fantasy universe, Clairvoyance. I am planning to release the first ten short stories one by one when they are all ready. They will form the first “omnibus” of the overall series. Right now, I am working on the second one. One thing I realized is that I stick pretty well to my outlines so far, but the stories turn out shorter than I originally planned.

I thought that each story would be around 7,000 words. So far, it seems that they are closer to 4,000. Thing is, I don’t want to stretch my stories just to meet a word goal. I prefer keeping them tight to the plot and not get lost in wordy rambling. For the first time in 15 years, I am even writing first person to keep closer to my narrator, which has been helping me very much.

I am curious about what my fellow writers think about short stories length. It is my first time writing any. I think it is better to stay true to the given plot, and not worry too much about the final length, but as much fiction writing experience I have, this is still new territory to me!

Photo Credit: Nigel Lo.

Photo Credit: Nigel Lo.

10 thoughts on “Short Story Musings

  1. Kat

    I agree with Mei Mei and Rose. A story should run what feels like a natural lifespan and no more. My dad writes short stories and most of his only run 10 pages and they’re done. Trying to make it longer makes it weaker. Unless you or a beta reader says, “Hey, this really feels like it’s missing something,” 4,000 words is a fine length for a short story. Such stories are like eating a small, delicious snack rather than the banquet of a novel.

    Good luck with your omnibus!

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      I appreciate the feedback, since it is my real first time working on short stories (as I did novels or novellas before but the format didn’t work for my current universe and I wanted to try something new).

      I love your analogy with food! Thanks for the well wishes!

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  2. Hannah G

    Looking forward to your stories! Word count seems to be all over the place, especially with the internet where editorial guidelines are more loose. Around 5k seems to be normal-ish for a short story, but they can really be anywhere from 1,000-10,000 before they start turning into flash fiction or novellettes, respectively — and those are interesting forms, too. I can understand wanting an omnibus to be cohesive in at least one way though, be it theme, character, length/style, etc. So it really just depends on what experience you want readers to have with each story and with the omnibus as a whole.

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    Reply
    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      Thank you! I hope to finish them mid 2015 if all goes well, in between my various projects! I was surprised at the thought of writing really shorter pieces when I started this project, but it seems that 4K-5K might be an organic length for this universe, in regards to what I have in mind for it. 🙂

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