Short stories are anything between 1,000 to 10,000 words in length. Although this line is often muddied and some will say short stories are not longer than 7,500 words.
There are also breakdowns of short stories into flash fiction, microfiction, and novelettes which demand different lengths. Anything longer than a novelette is a novella and then longer than that becomes a novel.
How Many Pages Are a Short Story?
Often, when we look at the length of writing we are looking at the word count. However, you can also consider page count when determining the length of writing pieces. The standard accepted word count to page count conversion is 250 words for every page. This would put short stories at four to 40 pages in length.
If you’re looking to create a reader magnet and want to go the bonus story route then you’ll be looking at the length of a short story. We cover more details on that type of story in our guide to reader magnet length.
Microfiction is any piece of fiction that falls below 300, with some expecting the word count to fall below 100 words. This has a bit of overlap with the fanfiction length terms where drabble is the excepted term for microfiction.
Flash Fiction Length
Flash fiction is commonly excepted to be 1,000 words or less. Let’s just point out: It can be quite difficult to condense an entire story into 1,000 words or less. Flash fiction, and by that extension, microfiction, can be an excellent exercise in storytelling.
Novelettes are commonly expected to be between 7,500 and 18,000 words. However, it’s interesting as there is some overlap between expected lengths with short stories having overlap into novelette length and novelettes crossover into novella length (expected word count: 10,000 to 40,000 words).
Why Does Wordcount Matter for Short Stories?
Wordcount might night seem all that important if you have a solid story, but that just isn’t the case. (Although, a solid story is 100% a top priority.) You’ll want to pay attention to the length of your story if you’re looking at getting it published.
Every publication will have specifications for what they are looking for. One might want something that brushes up against 10,000 words while the next may only want 1,500-word stories. Same goes for publishing as an indie. You’ll want to know the reader expectation and platform requirements of the venue you plan to publish through. Some readers, depending on the genre, want stories that are short and to the point, whereas other genres may expect longer pieces of fiction.