Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Wait! I, too, am Hugo-eligible this year

A fan very kindly contacted me to ask about wordcounts on the Black Dog short stories, because she wants to nominate one or more of them.

That’s enormously flattering. Just in case any of the rest of you would like to do the same, it turns out they all fall into the “Novelette” category.

The category lengths don’t make much sense to me and so they don’t stick in my head very well, but I looked them up and here they are:

Short story is under 7500 words.

Novelette is between 7500 and 17,500 words.

Novella is between 17,500 and 40,000 words.

And of course Novel is anything above 40,000 words.

A bit to my surprise, even my shorter stories in the Black Dog collection are above 7500, though not by much. The longest is just under 13,000 words. So they’re all novelettes.

Also, if you want to nominate something and aren’t sure what the wordcount is, when I was looking that up, I also noticed that the Hugo people say:

Don’t worry if you have not counted the number of words in a story that you want to nominate. Firstly you can check with some recommendation lists such as the ones linked to on this site. If the story is listed there it will almost certainly be in the right category. And if that doesn’t help, guess. The people who administer the voting are there to help, and they will generally move your nominations into the correct category if you have them wrong.

Good to know.

In my opinion, “The Master of Dimilioc” is the best of the bunch. I’d be very pleased to see it nominated, obviously (or any of the others, it goes without saying). There were fewer than fifty novelettes listed on the Hugo Eligible Spreadsheet a few days ago. I’m just saying.

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3 Comments Wait! I, too, am Hugo-eligible this year

  1. David H.

    Apparently there’s also like a 20% rule on story length, too? A couple of the Tor.com novellas are actually over 40k words, but apparently they can still be considered as novellas for award consideration (at least according to someone’s notes in that award-eligible Google spreadsheet that I think you linked to the other day). I don’t really know anything about that quirk, though… Maybe that’s more for the short/long dramatic presentation thing, though.

  2. Linda S

    Thanks for the reminder! I’ve been concentrating on the novels, but I need to work on my short fiction nominations, too. I personally liked “A Learning Experience” the best, because I like Thaddeus, but “The Master of Dimilioc” was very good, too.

    My understanding of the 20% rule is the same as David’s. It seems to come up a lot in discussions of The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, which could potentially be nominated as either a novel or a novella.

  3. Rachel

    Well, I don’t understand why the lengths are allowed to be plus/minus 20%. I mean, if you have a length cutoff, what’s wrong with using it? And if your length categories are, uh, peculiar — as I think they are with the novella — then change the length categories.

    But, I guess that’s something to keep in mind for a work like Wildeeps, since it’s obviously much easier to get nominated as a novella than a novel.

    And, actually, I have a soft spot for Thaddeus, too, and I have to admit I also love that story, Linda. I bet you’ll like one of the stories in the next set — it’s not Thaddeus pov, but he’s important in it.

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