advice for short fantasy story.

I been writing a fantasy story and I don’t have a lot of time to write the entire book. So I was thinking to write a short story on here instead almost like a prequel to my original fantasy book. However I have no experience in writing short stories and whenever I do the story turns into a full length book.

Any advice? And how long is a short story exactly?


Google says;

Novel 40,000 words or over
Novella 17,500 to 39,999 words
Novelette 7,500 to 17,499 words
Short story under 7,500 words

aye!! That was fast lol

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Haha, that’s how I work :red_car::fire::sunglasses:


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I understand you’re just sharing what Google said, but that seems off. 40k seems tiny for a novel. Granted, I tend to read 200-300k fantasy epics, but I would have thought 60k to be the minimum. Though I suppose there is a difference between a middle school and adult novel.

40k is small but it depends on genre. Usually fantasy and science fiction have longer word counts. 40/50k is usually the minimum for other genres. Even agents tell debut authors it’s safer to cap fantasy at 90/100-125k if i’m not mistaken, maybe even 150k. It doesn’t mean they won’t ever consider larger word counts but the guidelines are generally comparable even though it’s not forever etched in stone.

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I’ve heard 50k is the limit.

Contemporary YA Romance for example can often be between 40-50k (it’s like a little snack book)

While most of the Fantasy books I read are definitely +60k

I think what Google means is probably just an estimate between all genres.

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This is good to know because here I’ve been calling my books novellas because they really aren’t that long but they actually are novels.

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I think it also varies from publisher to publisher. I’ve seen publishers only wanting novels with 50k+ words, so if you’re looking into publishing, make sure to check what their own individual standard is :slight_smile:

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I will have to do that. I hadn’t thought about publishing but I don’t know. I might trick my hubby into letting me do it so that I can pretend like I have a writing job so that I can just stay home all day and do what I want instead of working.

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Hahaha, sounds like a plan!

Also, with self-pubbing I’ve read the customers get annoyed if they think they’re paying for a full novel and then only get like 30k words. Maybe Amazon have some standards too?

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I’m not sure if I will ever get there. I need to find and editor that is willing to stick with my story until the end of the book without leaving for no reason or something. haha.

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Ooph. Might be easier if you find a pro one there.

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I know but money ugh. My husband and I are trying to buy a house so every penny we can save matters right now haha.

Damn money. It ruins everything :frowning:

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Exactly :woman_facepalming:

In general, rather than plot structure, I prefer to think of it in the same way one might think of a short film: a short teaser about your world, that’s a self-contain character-driven arc, that gives people a taste of what’s to come, but wont necessarily be present from the get go.

Generally, when I write them, I top out (well used to) at three cut scenes. Now the problem is, if you get really invested in your characters, sometimes what starts out as intended to be a 2,000 short, might become 12,000 words.

That was the case for my novella Anna-Marie With Her Shotgun, that was only suppose to be 4,000 words. But ballooned into its own 23,000 word novella.

So I do suggest using caution.

And the great thing about short stories, you’re always free to visit them later. I might do that with this “Time traveling serial killing mechanic meet Viking noble girl” thing.

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I see that this exploded while I was gone. And theres so many opinions over this lol.

And I see no one gave me any advice on how to keep myself from making the story longer than it needs to be.

I am writing a book thats about a man living on his own in the wilds who one day comes across a young maiden who is being chased by bandits. And after saving her she implores her to be her bodyguard while she ventures towards a desert called the Yellow Frontier.

Like I can make this a whole novel if I wanted but I want to make this a short story. I know to keep the words under a certain amount.

But how do I go from point A to B to C and finally D without cataloging what may seem important like "preperations, stops in cities/villages etc.

I think you gotta then make it very plot focused, rather than character driven. I haven’t really written short stories, but that’s my best guess.