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.