In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that, while looking up the correct
categorization for my new story Beati Qui Inveniut Feles, I discovered
that, being 8,000 words it is technically a novella, not a short story,
the official cutoff for which is 7,500 words.
If you look up the official word count deliniation for the novella, it is
categorized as any work for fiction between 17,500 and 39,999 words
long. In the past, I have considered 17,500 words to be the minimum
point for a novella, and, by extension, assigned all of my works shorter
than that mark the status of “short story.”
However, upon closer inspection, there is also a thing called a
“novelette.” Searching Wikipedia for “novelette” will take you to the following section of the
entry for “novella”:
Dictionaries define novelette similarly to novella; sometimes
identically, sometimes with a disparaging sense of being trivial or
sentimental. Some literary awards have a longer “novella” and a shorter
“novelette” categories, with a distinction based on word count. A range
between 7,500 and 17,500 words is common among awards.
The distinction, it seems, is that some award systems care to mark out
this range, but otherwise, the word count range is more correctly
associated with the novella, not with the short story as I have
previously been doing.
As such, I’ve gone through the word counts of all my prior short fiction
and normalized my categorization system to count everything below 7,500
words a short story and everything at that length and up to 39,999 words
as a novella. The novella/novelette distinction isn’t particularly
salient for me.
All of the fiction in Lore & Logos, Transmutations of Fire and Void,
and, by extension, Transmutations, are short stories. The longest
stories there are “Lunar Eclipse” and “Temple of the Setting Sun,” which
are each approximately 5,000 words.
The Shipwright and Other Stories is a different matter entirely. The
Shipwright, Simple Reason, Rite of Courage, and Something Novel are all
novellas. “The Measure,” at a word count of exactly 7,499 words is only
barely a short story.