Over the years, fannish definitions have been born for the lengths of fics. While the meanings have slightly altered over time, what hasn’t changed is people’s strong opinions over different story lengths. You’ll find many readers prefer longer, chaptered work. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a plethora of short fic types to indulge in.
Read on to learn about the different fanfiction length terms.
Dribbles are even smaller than drabbles (covered below). These tiny baby fics are roughly 50 words. Essentially a dribble is half of a drabble and are even sometimes referred to as half-drabbles.
Drabbles are 100 words, no more and no less. While you may come across “drabbles” that don’t meet these exact requirements they are technically being mislabeled. These are meant to be short and challenging to write. (Exactly 100 words is a pain because somewhere some precious word gets the axe.)
Once you know what a drabble is a double drabble is pretty self-explanatory. Double drabbles are twice the length of a drabble—200 words. These are also sometimes called droubles or droubbles.
Flashfics are under 1,000 words. These are pretty similar in nature to a ficlet.
Ficlets are a tiny bit larger than drabbles. These tiny works stay below 1,000 words.
One-shots are single-chaptered stories that can be self-contained. Although, I often find that one-shots could be made into two-shots or more for an even more satisfactory reading experience. (Sometimes you’re even lucky enough that your favorite one-shot morphs into a two-shot.)
One-shots are over 1,000 words but they don’t go beyond 10,000. I tend to think of one-shots like a single episode in which you might enjoy more but the story within is complete.
Song-fics heavily feature one song through what would otherwise be called a one-shot. These are either widely hated or loved. Song-fics use the lyrics throughout the self-contained story. Sometimes the characters actively sing the lyrics within the fic.
Collections refer to one-shots or drabbles that have a similar (or not) theme that have been wrapped up into one work. Often times a collection with center on one pairing. These could be just a few chapters in length or 20+ chapters in length. I find most collections to be added to sporadically at the whim of the writer’s inspiration.
While ‘short story’ isn’t terminology often used in fanfiction, it is sometimes used to denote works that are roughly 3,000 to 7,000 words in length.
Longfics are the long bois. These guys have 30,000+ words, although there is a discrepancy on what people consider to be longfics. Some say longfics should be over 70,000 words while others will consider a work a longfic once it has reached 10+ chapters or it’s surged beyond 25,0000 words.