I’ve become interested in novelettes lately, and I wanted to share two that I’ve read with you. A novelette, as defined the the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, is between 7,500 and 17,500 words long. Next step down, it’s a short story, next step up, it’s a novella. I’m currently writing a horror story that will be novelette length when finished. I really love the story! All I’ll say is that it’s set in the Everglades, and the characters are a girl, a Cuban man, and his rooster, El Diablo. But enough about my story. Check this out:

A Google search for the phrase “short stories”: 714,000,000 results

A search for “novelettes” yields: 413,000 results

And one for “novellas” yields: 17,700,000 results

From those numbers it’s easy to see how novelettes rank against the popularity of the shorter and longer lengths of fiction! That’s a shame. I’m quite taken with them now, and I hope more people will recognize the length between 7,500 and 17,500 as one that can be rewarding to work with.

So, here are two novelettes I’ve read, and wanted to share:


The Migratory Patterns of Dancers  by Katherine Sparrow

This piece gave me a strange sense of uneasy fascination throughout to the very end.


The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman

I find myself thinking about this story a lot. I love Mr. Gaiman’s stylistic approach. It feels very impressionistic, almost dreamlike.


Do you have a novelette to recommend to me? Or one of your own? Let me know!


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2 responses to “Novelettes

  1. Ooh! Thank you, Jenny, for educating me in the various lengths of literature– “novelette” is a new term for me, and I had heard “novella” plenty, but didn’t know what the standards were or what separated them from short stories and novels. I’ve got one rather long short story (I think it was around 16,000 words– I suppose that makes it a novelette, doesn’t it!) but it is in sore need of revision.

    I am most intrigued by what you gave of your story…particularly your rooster, El Diablo. Will you be posting your story online when you’ve finished? 😀

  2. I had never heard of a novelette either until a few weeks ago! I think the novelette is an underappreciated form, because if you do various Google searches on the term, there’s hardly any information out there on them. I would suppose that’s because of the limiting aspect of the traditional publishing industry. Now that epublishing is here, I think novelettes could become a much more visible form of fiction (if they haven’t already, that is, I’m not that versed in publishing trends!).

    Julie, you should tackle revising that novelette of yours and slap that sucker up on the Internet! I’ve been hunting novelettes to read! 🙂

    Thanks for asking about my story! I read Stephen King’s advice to “write what terrifies you”, and so El Diablo was born. I have a deathly fear of roosters, because a few years ago, a family rooster attacked me, and spurred me in the face (it went straight for my eyes). It was a truly terrifying incident, and since then, I can’t get near a rooster without panicking. I thought, what could I write that would terrify me? And the answer was a story about a demonic killer rooster. Which to some people may be construed as humorous. I even laugh when I say the phrase “killer chicken”. 😀

    I’ll be publishing it on the Kindle store when it gets done. I think 99 cents is a very reasonable price for a midlength novelette (I’m planning for it to be around 12,000-14,000 words). I just downloaded a short novelette from the Kindle store last night for 99 cents, and I’m looking for more! There appears to be a lot of romance/erotic novelettes available, but I’m looking for fantasy and science fiction.

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