700 Words

My short stories have a distressing tendency to be not-so-short.  What’s the problem with that?  Most places pay by the word, right?  Yeah, but most places have word count limits too.  4000, 6000, 9000… sounds like a lot, but my not-really-shorts sometimes sprawl past even the 9000, drifting from novelette out towards novella.  Which means that sometimes, in order to make a story ready for submission to a certain market, I have to get out the cleaver and go chasing words.

Early this week I took a story called ‘Changeling Fall’ from 9500 words to 9000, so that I could send it out to Strange Horizons.  Tonight, ‘A Legion Blade’ is under the knife, so that it can go to Fantasy.  6700 words going to 6000.  It’s painful, but good exercise.  It forces me to justify every word, which is important in a short story.

And not a bad idea in a novel, either.  I mean, does every fantasy book have to be over 500 pages?  Books are for reading, not for killing marmots.

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