by Pam Rauber
(Atlanta, Ga. USA)
Question: How many words constitute a fictional short story? Not a short, short story but a short story.Answer:
Generally, a short story is any story under 7,500 words. Anything under 1,000 words is often termed flash fiction.
However, these definitions are not fixed. Sometimes works up to 20,000 words have been called short stories. You have to check with individual publishers (such as literary magazines, websites, contests, etc.) to see what length of stories they are looking for and what terms they are using to describe them (e.g. micro-fiction, novelette, novella, postcard fiction).
At the extreme lower end there are also "six word memoirs," such as this famous one attributed to Hemingway: "For sale: baby shoes. Never worn."