Fiction’s Dead Zone: 10,000 Words

Anyone who has clicked my fiction tab and explored the contents within might believe my thing is flash.

Not so. I do flash fiction because I want to be read. The easiest way to show your stuff is online, and flash fiction fits that forum best.

People don’t often have the patience to read long stories on a computer monitor. I certainly don’t. I enjoy losing myself in a 400-page novel… when it’s ink on paper, not pixels on an LCD screen. If an online short story or blog post I’m reading runs past 2000 words, I probably won’t make it to the end.

Magazine publication has more cachet, and, despite distribution that’s obviously limited compared to Web publishing, you’re more likely to find purposeful readers there. That’s the preferred destination for stories between 2000 and 8000 words.

Ah, but then you encounter That Which Lies Between the short story and the novella: The 10,000 word cliff. I’ve fallen off that cliff a bunch of times. Few publishers are found at the bottom, but unwanted 35-page bundles abound.

I bring it up because I’m revising a piece I wrote this week that’s currently at 9,809 words, and I need an eventual home for it. I can ax another 50 or 60 of my children, perhaps, but my fiction is sparse already. I’m not big on description and poetic imagery. I do action and snappy dialog and just enough detail to be evocative. The piece in question has enough plot and action to become a novella… If I want it to. I kinda like it the way it is, though, as I do with many of my other “too long” stories.  

So is there hope for a guy whose tail… er, tale dangles in fiction’s Dead Zone?


Something about my writing has been bugging me.


2 responses to “Fiction’s Dead Zone: 10,000 Words

  • nrhatch

    I concur . . . reading LONG posts and stories on line rarely appeals to me. I’d rather curl up with a good book.

    Perhaps a collection of your not so short stories, bound together, would work.

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