long short story

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piraña utria

Senior Member
Spanish - Colombian with Caribbean nuanc
Good evening fellows and my best wishes!

I just came across this confusing expression twice, 'long short story', in an English version of In Evil Hour by Gabriel García Márquez (Harper Perennial, New York, 1991, pages 86-87):

"Is it a long short story?" she asked, after thinking about it carefully.

With scrupulous movements learned in the operating room, the doctor withdrew his head from the basin. "They say it's a short novel," he said in front of the mirror, putting brilliantine on his hair. "I would say, rather, that it's a long short story...Critics might say that it's a short story, but a long one."

To me it seemed to be simply another way to say "long story":confused:, am I right?

Thanks in advance for any comments.
 
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  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    There are various definitions of "short story" -- one puts the word length at between 1,000 and 20,000 words -- but whatever definition you use, if you're at its upper limit, you would have a long short story. An example of a long story is Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, at 645,000 words, so the difference between a long short story and a long story can be quite large.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    No, not at all. The short story is a particular narrative form, just as the novel is another form. Many people understand these forms, so it's useful to refer to them in describing a work or book. The problem with "medium-sized" is that everyone will have a different definition in mind -- like a medium-sized bowl of ice cream. I'm sure mine will be larger than yours. :)
     

    piraña utria

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Colombian with Caribbean nuanc
    Oh, I see.

    Thank you very much for such a great explanation; you are an expert. :)

    In fact, after many years I am just trying to get into literature again. It was very useful your comment.

    Cheers,
     
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    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hello PU. These things are impossible to define ~ one man's long short story is another man's novella which is another man's short novel. My own personal limit is 20,000 words ~ anything shorter is a short story, anything longer is a novel.
    Ultimately, though, I believe it should be the decision of the author, not the reader, what category he or she puts his narrative in to (if he chooses to categorize it, that is):)
     

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    It was explained to me about 5 years ago by a writer's agent that a novel should range in size from 70,000 to 300,000 words. Beyond 300,000 the effort was too long and under 70,000 it would be a short story or whatever you wanted to call it. I promptly wrote a piece of 70,600 words which the publisher agreed was a novel.
     

    spodulike

    Senior Member
    English - England
    My visual explanation

    ***************************************************** An averaged sized novel


    *********************************************A short novel

    ***************************************************************** A long novel




    **************** An average length short-story

    ************************** A long short-story

    ********** A short short-story
     
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