The Averages

At one time or another, we have talked about word count for short stories, novellas, novels, non-fiction, etc. However, if you missed one of those blogs, here they are for you. All in one place

These are averages because almost every article I read on this subject reported different word counts. Each publisher or contest will furnish writers with guidelines, including minimum and maximum word counts.


Novel: 55,000-300,000

Novella: 30,000-50,000 (Average: 17,500)

Novelette:  7,700-17,500

Short Story:  Less than 7,500 (The “perfect” S.S.= 6,000)

Flash Fiction: Works under 1,500


Biography:  80,000-110,000

Memoir: 60,000-90,000

Business & Money:  40,000-80,000

History:  60,000-100,000

Self-Help & “How-to”:  20,000-70,000


What I Learned Today


A couple of days ago, we had new countertops installed in our kitchen. As I stood there afterward, admiring them, I said something to the installer about my having heard that Windex is a good cleaner.

“Oh, no!” he said. “Please never put Windex on your granite.”

“Oops,” I answered. “I learn something new every day.”

And I do.

I either learn through the circumstances of my day—just as from the installer—or by purposefully seeking the answer to a question I’ve had.

One of my friends is writing a Novella. I asked her exactly what that was (I was already considering writing one myself the instant that she said the name. So beautiful it sounded to my ear: No-vel-la.)

She said it was a short novel.

Ok. I knew there had to be more to it than that., but I was too embarrassed to tell her I didn’t know.

So, I went to the computer with my question. Here is what I found:

A novella is a work of fiction. It can be thought of as a short novel or a long short story.

Whereas a novel has over 50,000 words, a novella has an average of 30,000 words.

A writer may plan to write a novella ahead of time, as my friend has. It’s alright if the novella ends up to be longer (then you’ve written a novel) or shorter (then it qualifies as a short story).

Novellas are not the most popular or best-selling format. You may not find a publisher that will readily accept a novella, but it may be perfect for someone self-publishing.

So, there you go. Perhaps we’ve all learned something new, today.

Whatever you decide to write—a short story, novella, novel, or magazine article—writing is a most-rewarding form of self-expression.

So, don’t miss the opportunity to try your hand at writing.

Why not start small?

Perhaps a novella…