View Full Version : Min Word Count for Story

02-05-2014, 11:43 PM
I am curious. What's the minimum word count for a story to be a story? I know that you can write a story with fifty words, probably. So what's the cut off? Fifteen words? Eighteen words?

Charging Boar
02-06-2014, 12:02 AM
I'm not entirely sure if flash fiction has a minimum word count. I once saw a six word story that got a lot of praise and I recall it being called a flash fiction. I suppose anything between 2 - 600 words could be a flash fiction.

02-06-2014, 12:02 AM
There's a famous reference to a six-word short story (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_sale:_baby_shoes,_never_worn) by, I believe, Hemingway. I think some people doubt its precise history.

For sale, baby shoes. Never worn.

There's even a thread around here somewhere of people trying to repeat the activity.

There is no number. It's whatever it takes to create a flow and to draw in the readers' minds a tale that they can follow.

Ah, found the thread: <HERE> (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=235900&highlight=word+short+story)

02-06-2014, 12:12 AM
I personally think the cutoff is probably around fifty words.

02-06-2014, 12:15 AM
Women's Weekly over here in the UK used to publish 60 word stories. I don't think they do anymore, though.

02-06-2014, 12:18 AM
I can see sixty words being a story, six words is not a story. A flash fiction is a story. A twitter fic is not a story. Twitter fics are something I use to practice.

02-06-2014, 12:53 AM
There is no cut-off for minimum word count. A story is a story when it becomes one for the reader. If that takes a thousand words, it's a thousand words. If it's twenty or six, then that's how few it needs to be. What you're not taking into account, is what's not said can be as much a part of the story than what's actually written. The writer doesn't have to give every detail, but can instead let the readers' imaginations take them on their own individual journey.

02-06-2014, 01:32 AM
I disagree. The only way you can have a story with six or fewer words is if you use pictures to tell your story, only then it would work. It would actually be pretty cool, a hundred pages depicting a bunch of characters on a quest, only six words spoken, pretty minimalist, but pretty interesting as well. I would read something like that.

03-07-2014, 01:01 AM
Are you asking for submission purposes or just in general. My understanding is that the 6 word baby shoes quote by Hemingway is considered to be flash fiction. So I think that's the literary point although it's very difficult to do that.

You should maybe find markets that you may want to submit to and ask them. Usually 100-600 words. Some places will accept up to 12 or 1500 as flash. I think 100 is usually the minimum for most publications.

From what I've read it'll be easier to get published around 400 words.