How Long Are Short Stories (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 10,000 words

The length of the short stories should not be more than 10,000 words according to professional standards. Some short stores are around 5,000 words. The type of short stories, the person is writing would affect the length. The beginners may struggle while writing their first short story.

There will be some publishers that take short stories with word lengths of more than 15,000. The guidelines for the short stories will be different for all the publishers. There will be some short stories with a word count of around 30,000 words.

Any short story with a word length of more than 30,000 words would become a novella. Many writers get confused between the novella and short stories’ word lengths. The short stories should not be more than 10,000 or 15,000 words in length.

The audience demands pose another condition for predicting the word length of the short stories.

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How Long Are Short Stories?     

Short StoriesLength
Minimum length10,000 words
Maximum length15,000 words

The length of a short story to be published in any magazine should not go beyond 5,000 words. The length of long short stories would be around 15,000 words. Most of the publishers would keep the length of the short stories around 10,000 words.

As the audience may get confused between short stories and novella if the short stories are more than 15,000 words. The writer can stick to the guideline provided by the publisher for writing short stories. The format of the short stories would be quite different.

Not all the short stories would have chapters in them, but a few long short stories are divided into chapters. Most of the short stories may have three chapters that help the audience to get clarity about the story plot.

The audience can jump to the next chapter by understanding the theme of the previous chapter. Maintaining the standard structure of the short stories is vital to involve the interest of the readers.

The structure of the short story should begin with the exposition. The exposition of the story would deal with the introduction part of the story. Then comes the major problem of the story. This part of the story would help in explaining how the protagonist tries to deal with the issues of the plot.

The next part deals with the plot twist where the protagonist has to face the battle. In the calm part, the protagonist would bring on success by achieving the goal. The last part of the short story should be the resolution of the issue.

Why Are Short Stories This Long?

The storyline of the short story should be clear as it must catch the attention of every reader. The main purpose of the short story is to make it short and precise. So that the reader will be able to complete it in a very short time or in one go.

The plot of the short story should make a single effect on the readers. When the writer chooses the storyline, the writer should find out the word length according to the reader’s preference. The pages of a short story would depend on how much is required to reach professional standards.

Some short stories may be around 25 pages while others may be around 10 pages. The writer will have to spend around 7 to 10 days writing short stories. There are some professional writers who can write short stories in just 1 or 2 days, but it’s not the case for everyone.

Writing short stories needs concentration and relaxation. The writer can spend around 4 hours every day writing the short stories properly.


The short stories can be written in any genre as there is no such restriction. The person should not write a short story of more than 10,000 to 15,000 words. As the audience may find it extremely long to complete. Choosing a good title to catch the attention of the audience is vital.

The writer should always check on the topic before dividing the structure. The storyline should be a good topic that the readers will enjoy as a short story.



Last Updated : 23 February, 2024

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