Book Length Categorization
and Genre Guidelines (i.e. 'guidelines,' not rules)

Image Created by: Keith D Commiskey | @2020

Where does your story fit? Novel, Novella, Novellette, Modern Short Story, Short Story, Short-Short Prose, Flash Fiction?

The book length classification and word count tool provides aggregated insights distinguishing the differences between a Short Story, Novella, Novel, etc. ...

Before diving into word counts, ...

Before diving into word counts, because writing categorizations can be subjective—made by humans, for humans—and are only meant as a guiding measure for keeping things organized, I highly recommend a quick read through the words of David Kadavy, paying close attention to:

  1. A book does not have to be a certain length.
  2. A book can be short and to the point.
  3. Each book is a learning experience.
David's article is titled "24 things I learned self publishing 3 books in only 6 months" and is available on the Writing Cooperative | David Kadavy | Jun 5, 2018

After researching dozens of sources, a variety of resources were considered representative of word count data.

Differences Between a Short Story, Novella, Novel ...

Differences Between a Short Story, Novelette, Novella, & a Novel | Owlcation | Updated on June 3, 2016 (with commenter input from 2020)

^^^ Visit their page to vote and view the results of their reading poll.

Commenter Input: Larry Rankin [Oklahoma] - Suggested "Short-Short, Prose," and was a secondary source of the short story length.

Commenter Quote: Deltachord [United States] - "Good article. It is hard to say which type I like the most...a good story in any of the forms is fun to read."

Word Length: Short Average Long
Flash Fiction: 53   1,000
 Exteme brevity; used to be referred to as "short short stories."
 Short, short stories, micro fiction, or postcard fiction.
Short-Short, Prose 300   1,800
Short Stories:   3,500 7,500
Modern Short Stories (Commenter Input): 1,800   7,500
 Most common; a single event, a single episode, or a tale of one particular character.
 Basically fictional prose, written in a narrative style (written in first person or third).
Novellettes: 7,500   17,000
 Also a narrative fictional prose; rarely used; rarely published singly.
Novellas: 17,000   40,000
 Can be an awkward length; Sometimes called a long short story or a short novel.
 Usually not divided into chapters.
 Like short stories, often meant to be read in one sitting.
Novels: 40,000 80,000 120,000 - 240,000+
 Often involves multiple major characters, sub-plots, conflicts, points of view, and twists.
 Due to its considerable length, a novel is meant to be read over a period of days.

How Long Should Your Novel Be?

How Long Should Your Novel Be? Our Editors Have the Answers | reedsyblog | reedsy | Reedsy Ltd. © 2020 | Posted on June 27, 2019

^^^ Visit their page to learn "How to Stick to Word Count Guidelines" and "What Should My Word Count Be?"

Genre Breakdowns for Novels:

Fiction Commercial and literary novels are generally 80,000 to 110,000 words.
Fantasy Science fiction and fantasy novels generally lie between 100,000 and 115,000.
Romance Tend to be shorter, lying between 80,000 and 100,000 words.
Young adult 55,000 – 70,000
Mystery 75,000 – 100,000
Thriller 90,000 – 100,000
Memoir 80,000 – 90,000
Western 45,000 – 75,000

Word Count

Word Count | LitRejections | LitRejections © 2019 | Posted on May 2015

^^^ Visit their page to learn why "a writer should never give a literary agent or publisher an easy option to reject them."

Commercial / Literary / Women's80,000110,000 
 There are few exceptions of published debut novels not falling between these strict markers. A literary agent will always look more favourable on these genre submissions being around the 100k mark. See website for more details.
Crime Fiction90,000100,000 
 The page-turning demands and competitive market enforce a word count which it is advisable to comply to.
Mysteries / Thrillers / Suspense70,00090,000 
 The variation covers Cozy Mysteries which can clock in at just 70-75k, to noir and historical which are often published at 80-90k.
 Since it has many sub-genres this genre can vary greatly depending on the story. Mainstream romance novels are between 70K and 100K. Regency Romance, Inspirational Romance, Romantic Suspense and Paranormal Romance all have a minimum of 40k. See website for more details.
 One of the few genres with some leeway in first approach submissions. See website for more details.
 Although commonly entwined with other genres, standalone fiction in this genre is best when it is concise. See website for more details.
 A writer must be as ruthless with their words, as their antagonist is with the lives within the story. Never go beyond the 100k limit without first checking with a freelance editor for revisions. See website for more details.
 Encompassing many sub-genres results in a flexibility across the genre that is not often given to the others. Many publishers will accept works in the higher bracket and even beyond. Literary agents are open to submissions far below 90K, with caveats. See website for more details.
 A genre rich with historical events means writers are afforded the luxury of an extended word count. However, writers who edit down to a 100k submission increase their chances of being read beyond the partials.
Young Adult Fiction (YA)50,00080,000 
 This particular genre has become one of the hardest for writers to grasp when deciding on their own word count. For mainstream YA it is always best to stick to under 80K. See website for more details.
New Adult Fiction60,00085,000 
 Going above 85K still happens, but for those who do, they are giving a literary agent an easy reason to reject them.
Middle Grade25,00040,000 
 Such a tight restraint can be beneficial to a writer because it allows them to demonstrate their ability to edit accordingly. For debut books in this field the average word count tends to be 35K and it has therefore become the marker many industry professionals look for in queries from new writers.
Picture Books500700 
 When this is applied it equates to one or two lines per page, for a 30 page book. The one main advantage this genre has over every other is that literary agents and publishers will accept the full text with the initial query. There is no need for partials.
 A story can be written in any of the other genres, but if its word count falls within these parameters it is usually classified as a novella.
 Covering a broad range of topics still sees little variation in the size of published books. Although there is not a requirement for the work to be complete before an initial query, this is the word count literary agents want projected and delivered.
Short Stories10008,000 
 Many contests will advise on their own maximum word count, sometimes as high as 20K. But those requests are extremely rare, as the majority will set a limit of 8K.
Flash Fiction100500 
 There is no flexibility to this as the word count determines if it is Flash Fiction.

^^^ Word Count | LitRejections | LitRejections © 2019 | Posted on May 2015

How long is a word? I would welcome an authoritative source on the matter; I've found publishers consider a word to be 5 characters and a space. Please contact me if you know the source to the secret sauce.

Primary types of writing ...

Primary types of writing:

expositoryThe author intends to inform, explain, describe or define their subject to you
creative (poetic)


What is Creative Writing?

What is Creative Writing? | © 2020 ACS Distance Education 2011 ACN: 006 249 476, ABN: 69 424 798 419

^^^ ACS Distance Education offers a range of writing courses, including Creative Writing.

Creative Writing Genres

Children’s Writing
 AgeAll work should be age-appropriate.
 GenreGenres are similar to adult literature.
Fantasy Writing; a sub-genre of speculative fiction
 mediaeval themes
 new worlds
 science fiction
 supernatural fiction
 apocalyptic fiction
Crime Fiction
 Detective fiction
 Courtroom drama
 Legal fiction
 Hardboiled fiction
 Prose poetrya mixture of prose and poetry
 Dramatic poetrya drama written in verse
 Speculative poetryfantasy poetry
 Epic poetrylengthy poems with a continuous narrative (e.g. Homer's 'Iliad')
 Narrative poetrytells a story; like epic but shorter
 Satirical poetrybased on satire; often political
 Elegya mournful poem
 Lyric poetrypersonal poetry; generally contemplative
 Verse fableancient verse with a moral message

Creative Writing: Definition, Types & Examples

What is Creative Writing? - Definition, Types & Examples | © copyright 2003-2020 All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

^^^ Visit their page to see "Examples of Creative Writing."

Defining Creative Writing—Types of creative writing include:

Three Types of Common Core Writing

Then there are The Three Types of Common Core Writing Defined - November 07, 2016 by

As explained in the USC Rossier infographic, There are three writing capacities:

These three types of writing are usually called:

For Informational Purposes Only

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I am not an authority on writing. I am a humble human being researching and sharing thoughts across a shared network based on guided eletricity. If you find something that is incorrect, I would welcome the shared knowledge. Sharing is the key here; let's energize each other by sharing productive thoughts. I just had fun putting the web page together :D and I look forward to creating a utility based on the collected information.

Keith D Commiskey
Tuesday, 01/14/2020 3:48:15 AM

Manual Update
Although these stats should update as you type, you can also manually.
Book Length Classification Suggestions

According to the research outlined in this article, based on your word count, your book may fall into the following categories: