Short Story, Novella or Novel?

By Aishah Macgill

Many authors and readers ask me, “What makes a short story or a novel? At what point does it change from short to full length novel?” Thankfully, there is a ‘norm’ as far as the word count for this dilemma. Though there would be room for a little give or take. The accepted scale is as follows in words:

  • Short story        5,000  to    10,000
  • Novella           11,000  to    50,000
  • Short novel     50,000  to    81,100
  • Long novel      81,000  to 100,000
  • Epic or Saga   100,000 +

Also, if you want to calculate how many pages this would be in a print book, divide by 350, that is the average number of words to a page on a 6 x 9 inch novel with single spacing and average margins.

The above is only a rough guide to page count as there are many variables, such as blank facing pages, title pages for chapters and illustrations or images that may be included in the book.

For an electronic book, there are no page numbers, so to calclulate how long a book is, find the word count and divide by 350. That will give you a rough guide how many pages it would be in print.

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