How Long is a Story?

When you first get stuck into writing your amazing crime story, you’re hardly going to start with a bestselling novel. You’ll probably start out with some flash-fiction, or is it a short story? What is a novella?!

There are lots of opinions out there on exact word count to determine the length of each story category, but here is a rough guide:

1. Micro-Fiction (up to 100 words)

Apparently really tricky to write well..  This kind of word count probably doesn’t concern us!


2. Flash-Fiction (100-1,000 words)

Usually found in magazines. I’m not sure this length would be suitable for crime fiction given the need to have word count in order to build suspense, these are pretty well suited to quick romantic or funny stories. Or blogs – this article is 289 words!


3. Short Story (1,000-7,500 words)

This is a real popular length for stories, and super popular for writing competitions, so if you’re going down that route you’ll get used to this sort of word count.


4. Novelette (7,500-20,000 words)

Probably too short for a publisher to bother with, but they do like collections of novelettes and I’ve seen these in e-book format too.


5. Novella (20,000-50,000 words)

I’ve seen a lot of e-books on Amazon or Lulu that market themselves as a novella rather than a novel, but some pretty ace marketing would be required to get these selling without a proper publisher.


6. Novel (50,000 words+)

The length most of us are familiar reading!

Your average publisher will want to see at least 80,000 words to consider your novel worth investing in, though any more than 110,000 and you’ll have needed to write something truly amazing to convince them to invest!

With 80,000 words you’re looking at something like 300 pages of double spaced text, to give you an idea.


Happy writing!

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