Hi! This is Rishi here. This is an experimental series meant to be a crash course on fiction writing. While I’m not someone who is qualified to teach a Masterclass on this subject, I can provide some input on this topic. 

Here are some of the things I’ve written in the six or seven years of my life that I have spent pursuing writing:

  • Several travelogues
  • Many nonfiction write-ups
  • Numerous short stories 
  • Three separate stories (1 ongoing, 2 complete) individually or in a team that were 25 to 40K words

I hope that’s enough to let you know that I can help a little bit. Of course, everything that I did sounds big on paper but isn’t as amazing in reality. 

The very first thing that I want to explain here is word counts. Word counts are essential to know the classification of your story, and therefore will often determine the style.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) have categories in the Nebula Awards for word counts. They are listed below:

  • Short Story: A short story is between 20 and 7,499 words. This is often split into “flash fiction” for under 100 words and “short story” up to 7,500. My stories Rift and Blaze are both short stories, coming between 2,500 and 5,000 words.
  • Novelette: A novelette is 7,500 to 14,999 words. It is a medium-length fiction and often is essentially a lengthier version of a short story, with a little more description. Antebellum is a novelette, with the final draft being a bit more than eleven thousand words.
  • Novella: A novella is 15,000 to 39,999 words. It is often a condensed novel, with fewer descriptions of scenes in it. Two unreleased stories (one ongoing, one complete) were in this category from my repertoire. One was as a team, the other one was alone. I’ll name these “Project Orange” and “Project Carambola” for now. Project Orange, the earlier of the two, came in at 22,000 words, while Project Carambola is currently at 23,000 or so.
  • Novel: The final category is a novel. A novel is 40,000 words and above. I, working in a team, have only written one novel to date, nicknamed “Project Coconut”. Project Coconut hit about 43,000 words.

In this writing clinic series, I’ll mainly be tackling short stories and novelettes. In other words, anything that I write in it will be applicable for about 100 to 14,999 words. 

I hope you found that helpful. If you did, see you in the next post on writing.

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Rishi Sridhar

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