NPR’s 3-Minute Fiction Returns Feb. 2!

Hey, flash and microfiction friends (and those are willing to try it out!)!

NPR‘s All Things Considered is kicking off another round of Three-Minute Fiction, starting this Sunday, Feb. 2!

http://www.npr.org/series/105660765/three-minute-fiction

They’ll post the prompt, and then it’s up to you to create a short fiction piece that can be read in 3 minutes on air. You can click that link above for examples and details, or check them out on Facebook here.

It’s Nov. 1st – GOGOGOGO!!!

Hey NaNo’ers! (Like that? I think that’s a common term for us November novelists…) I know it’s been a while since my last update, but …

It’s that time of year again and I have to say I’m SO excited to be able to finally have the time to give NaNo a legitimate shot this go ’round. I have a rought idea in mind for a story I’d like to get down (perhaps I’ll share some tidbits if I end up liking it enough!), and I hope everyone else has at least an inkling of where to go with their rough drafts too!

For inspiration, I found a list on Twitter of novels that were published that actually began as NaNoWriMo projects. It includes one of my all-time favorite reads (and I highly, HIGHLY reccommend it after the craziness of this month is over!) The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. HOLY CRAP! I never knew! But the book is so great. Of course, as the article states, she didn’t publish it in it’s NaNo form. Heavy editing was applied before this one hit the shelves. 🙂

Another novel that was wildly popular (enough to be made into a MOVIE recently!) that doesn’t appear on the list but that I know began as a NaNo project is Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen.

So there you have it, folks. Perhaps 50k in 30 days is the perfect motivation for some of us (including me) to get that first draft of a manuscript out of our heads and onto the page!

Also, for your reading pleasure, and perhaps as a help to get yourselves started: Do You Have a Plot?

How Long Can A Short Story Be?

My 9th grade honors English literature teacher told us during the first week of our unit on short stories that “a short story is short enough that it can be read in one sitting.”

That’s all fine and dandy, of course, except for one thing: I read the sixth Harry Potter novel in one “sitting” (I stayed up all night to finish it). I only paused for dinner, and there have definitely been times where I read short stories for school and paused to eat dinner. So the next logical question would be, “How long is one sitting?” And of course, there’s no real definite answer to that!

So how long can a short story really be? I’m currently refining a short story I wrote for publication in my college’s literary magazine, but it seems like every time I revise, the piece gets longer! I decided to turn to Google to see what the Internet’s consensus was on the appropriate or average length of a short story.

As you might have predicted, there doesn’t really appear to be a consensus. On one website, http://fiction-writing.yoexpert.com, there was a handy little chart that classified projects based on the number of words, as seen here:

While it might not be possible to capture all of the numerous subgenres of narrative fiction that have been imagined, here is a brief list of the more common types of stories, organized by length from shortest to longest:

•     Under 1000:     Flash fiction, or “short short” stories
•     1,000-7,500:     Short story
•     7,500-20,000:     Novelette
•     20,000-50,000:     Novella
•     Over 50,000:     Novel

But on the short story Wikipedia page, the length of a short story is placed at anywhere between 1,000 and 9,000 words, and uses Edgar Allen Poe’s The Philosophy of Composition as “the” measure for a short story at about 4,500 words. A third source over at http://talktoyouniverse.blogspot.com/ draws the line at 7,500-12,000 words. This author also mentions having a “natural length” where a writer feels comfortable with his/her short story, which is something to consider. Maybe I’m just naturally long-winded, and therefore have a longer “natural length” for my short stories!

Clearly, there isn’t a correct or universally accepted length for a short story. My current project is bordering on 7 double-spaced pages, so I’d estimate it at anywhere between 4,000-7,000 words. Guess I’ll find out when I try to submit it whether or not that’s too long.

Feel free to chime in on your own natural length or what you believe is too long for a short story!