Even though there seems to be thousands of short stories and novellas out today, they are not a new trend. Authors have been penning these tiny tidbits for decades. These tales tend to paint a picture in less than 40,000 words.
There seems to be a variation of what is a short story and what is a novella. A short story is typically at least 3,500 words but can be as long as 30,000 words. So, what is a novella then? Some sources say at least 15,000 words, others say at least 17,500 or 20,000. It is all really confusing. What we know for sure is that both are under 40,000 words.
Can a gem be created with so little? Absolutely. Some of the greatest pieces of literature are told this way.
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry is one of the most famous short stories in American literature. A heartwarming tale that has reached millions and carries such a moving message is told in less than 30 pages.
A creepy narrative published in 1820 gives us a picture of a young schoolmaster named Ichabod Crane and his life in the possessed town of Sleepy Hollow.
The master of the macabre, Edgar Allen Poe, has a vast body of short stories. One he is most known for is one man's journey into madness, The Tell-Tale Heart.
Made famous for the penning of Little Women, Louisa May Alcott's Scarlet Stockings, has been praised as one of the best short stories in American literature.
Will the short stories and novellas of today carry the weight of these classics in a hundred years? Who knows, but there are so many wonderful ones out there that we can enjoy in an afternoon. It would be a shame not to find out.
Check out some of my own short stories/novellas and judge for yourself.
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