January Short Fiction

Jan 7, 06:59 by IROSF
Have something to say about this month's stories?

Short fiction review is here.
Jan 7, 19:52 by Constance Ash
Thanks, Lois, for your thorough delving and assessments.

Would you say there's an average word count to what you read, over all?

Love, C.
Jan 7, 20:28 by Lois Tilton
Gad, I haven't the slightest!

I suppose ... if each digest issue is like maybe 60K ...

I doubt if it's much over 300K or so for a typical month. Or so.

Jan 10, 01:54 by Constance Ash
How long would the average story be?

Love, C.
Jan 10, 02:09 by Lois Tilton
I think around 7K [she says, with no data to back up this guess]

Most online venues restrict the length of the stuff they publish, often to 5K or less, which lowers the average length.

I prefer longer stories, generally. One thing about the Baen's Universe site is that they regularly publish longer stories than most other online zines.
Jan 13, 00:39 by Constance Ash
6-8 thousand words is an excellent length for a short story, imho. Under six often things are forced into the glib and facile. Not always, but muchly.

Love, C.
Jan 14, 19:03 by Bluejack
Different stories demand different lengths.

Many of the greatest gems of our genre are under 5K.

It's not necessarily harder to write a shorter story, but it's a different kind of story.

(That said, it's quite hard indeed to write any story in the most effective, concise language possible. Always easier to add a few more words to try to clarify something that's not quite right than to actually subtract the words needed to make it right in the first place.)
Jan 15, 13:46 by Chris Butler
In assessing story lengths I think the median value would be more interesting than the average. If I read 3 stories of length 1K, 4K and 25K, the "average" story length is 10K but the median is 4K.

If you look at the stories published across all the genre markets I would expect the median to be quite low, certainly much lower than the 7K guesstimate given by Lois above. But I suppose the top professional markets tend to have a higher preference for novelettes and novellas.
Jan 15, 14:05 by Lois Tilton
I wouldn't say they have a preference for them. My own experience and that of others I know is that a novella is a harder sale. The editor really really has to like it.

But relatively few markets will even look at them.

And a novella is indeed kind of a risk. If an editor commits half the zine's available pages to a single work and people don't like it, that whole issue is pretty much a bust.
Jan 15, 14:22 by Chris Butler
Yes, I agree. I meant that if you're going to get a longer story published anywhere it is likely to be in the top pro markets. But the chances of doing that are still vanishingly small. The rarity of longer stories is exactly why I think the 7K figure is much too high.
Jan 15, 15:01 by Lois Tilton
Outside the "big 3" digests, other pro markets for novellas include Baen's Universe and Black Gate.


While I did make the disclaimer that my figure is pulled totally out of my hat, I do need to add that this is the fiction I'm reading, which skews it to the higher end, as opposed to all the fiction that's out there, which I agree is probably shorter.
Jan 23, 23:17 by Dotan Dimet
The author of "The Dream of the Blue Man" (Weird Tales) is called Nir Yaniv, not Taniv. I haven't seen an issue of Weird Tales since the early 90s, so perhaps they're using a confusing typeface...
Jan 24, 19:27 by Lois Tilton
Or maybe Lois hit the wrong key on the keyboard.

Thanks for the correction.
Jun 14, 06:37 by garnapawell@gmail.com
Thanks for all your answers


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