How Do I Classify My Story?

One question I am asked by other writers is how to classify their stories.  Is it a novel, novella, novelette, or short story etc?

There is some confusion in regard to  page count too.  Page count is irrelevant when it comes to how to classify your story because the number of pages can change depending on how you format your piece of writing.  Classification is all about word count.  But, when it comes to word count, there isn’t really a universal standard or official decision.

For the purpose of the Nebula Awards, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America website provide these classifications below.  I use this general guide for my own writing.

Novel: 40,000 words or more
Novella: 17,500 – 39,999 words
Novelette: 7,500 – 17,499 words
Short Story: 7,499 words or fewer

My additions to their definitions to allow for Flash Fiction are below.

Short Story: 7,499 to 1001
Flash Fiction: 1000 or fewer

This article on Wiki is helpful.

Also, different genres shoot for specific word counts when it comes to publishing.  Writer’s digest has a good article detailing the different boundaries (here).

General Adult Literature (Novels)

Below 70,000:           Too short
70,000 – 79,999:       Might be too short; probably all right
80,000 – 89,999:       Good
90,000 – 99,999:       Generally safe
100,000 – 109,999:    Might be too long; probably all right
110,000 or above       Too long

Science Fiction and Fantasy: 100,000 – 115,000

Westerns: 50,000 – 80,000

Tween Fiction: 20,000 – 55,000

Young Adult Fiction: 55,000 – 79,999

If you are looking to sell your work, I always recommend researching the specific requirements in advance.

I hope this has been helpful!

About Daniel Bastion
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