When Is A Short Story Too Long?

Hi everyone!

digital-cover-1I’ve been writing the 4th episode of The Orc War Campaigns and, as it reached 41 pages earlier this week, a question has arisen: when does it become too long to be considered a short story?

What is the definition of a short story? Being a nerd, I of course looked it up as soon as I thought of the question today.  Which, by the way, is not to say I don’t have experience with short stories – at this point in my life, I’ve written well over 100 of them.

But based on the various definitions I’ve seen, including different dictionaries defining it slightly different, wikipedia, and countless other sources…there’s no one consensus.  In fact if you google what the length of a short story is, you’ll find each source cites wildly different word counts.

“41 pages isn’t bad,” you might say.  Well…I’m 41 pages in and haven’t even gotten close to what I originally planned as the final climactic event of the episode.  I’d say there’s at least 20 more pages to go.

This is quite unexpected, to be honest.  I ended up spending more time developing characters than expected, they have definitely taken on a life of their own.  Or at least, Amaya and Zerek have.  Arkad’s initial slow development is right on schedule with my original plan.  For now…

No way I’m paring that down.  If the format were a TV series, I’d likely be forced to.  Same with if these were going into a magazine.  But they aren’t.  And while there can be value in a more concise story, the whole point of The Orc War Campaigns is to delve deeper into the details of the universe of The Sword of Dragons, and to focus more on these three new characters.

It isn’t the first time I’ve broken whatever the ‘short story’ convention might be.  The final episode of Star Trek Dragon ended up being 83 pages in Microsoft Word, or 34,000 words.  Episode 4 of The Orc War Campaigns currently sits at 13,000 words.


I am VERY excited with where the characters are taking me.  Sometimes in unexpected directions, but always keeping it interesting.  And this episode is going to end up being a big one, not just in length, but in the events and the characters :D

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

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