« Some good news | Main | Should you ignore these great novels? »


Michael Hartford

Actually, the literary journals (university and independent) publish more than "a short story or two": this is the market that keeps the form alive and vibrant. But you're right on about the payment schedule; writers in this space need to be driven by love of the form and funded by some other means.

I disagree, though, with short stories as "training" for future novelists. The short story is a form in and of itself, and there are many writers--Carver, O'Connor, Dubus--who have worked almost exclusively in short fiction. And with the success of books like "Olive Kitteridge," "The Turing Test," and "Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful," maybe publishers will finally start to see that story collections can be just as viable a format as novels.

Aussie T

Not just story collections, but novels consisting of several sub-novels or novellas within the one book cover. Dangerous Days: The Autobiography of a Photojournailst, by J. William Turner is a good example; four stories each of 35,000-40,000 words in one book.

Chris Warren

I agree that short stories are a much under-rated form of writing, but like Michael Hartford (ciomment above) I also believe they are a specific form and not a training ground for writers of longer works.

I write both short stories and book length fiction and non-fiction. All require a different but equally professional approach.

Chris Warren
Author and Freelance Writer
Randolph's Challenge, Book One-The Pendulum Swings

LeeAnne Hanks

I just came out with my YA Fiction "Within the Flame" and I was worried that it was too short. Twilight and Harry Potter are so long, that has seemed to become the standard. My book is almost 80,000 words, but is still pretty thin compared to many others in this genre. I think the longer stories in the YA world have bridged a gap where adults can enjoy these stories too and encourage our young readers to really dive into a book. I think will all the instant gratification kids get today, it does them good to sit still and just read!
~LeeAnne Hanks


After determining the length of 43 novels, I've arrived at an average of 178,000 words per novel. However, the outcome is greatly skewed by "War and Peace," "The Remembrance of Things Past," "Les Misérables," "Middlemarch," and "The Brothers Karamozov." With these outstandlingly long novels removed from the equation, the average is 109,000 words. I hope this info is helpful.

It's also worth noting that mass market paperbacks generally follow a certain printing format that yields an average of 395 words per page.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Blogs

Writers' Blogs and Sites

Read The Tyee

April 2018

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30          

Writers' Resources