Word Counts of Famous Short Stories (organized)

Shamelessly cribbed from Classic Short Stories and re-organized by word count from shortest to longest for comparison purposes. We’re discussing short stories with the Indy NaNoWriMo group this afternoon, and I thought it might help to have a word count chart similar to the one I did for Famous Novels back in November.

Of the 161 stories listed, 3081 is the median word count (number in the middle) and 4052 is the average word count. Duotrope (a free writers’ resource listing over 3950 current fiction and poetry publications) caps their search for short story publishers at 7,500 words, which means most publishers are looking for stories of less than that length.

Words: 710 – Virginia Woolf – A Haunted House
Words: 762 – Fielding Dawson – The Vertical Fields
Words: 810 – Mark Twain – A Telephonic Conversation
Words: 994 – Gabriel Garcia Marquez – One of These Days
Words: 1274 – Saki (H H Munro) – The Open Window
Words: 1354 – Guy de Maupassant – The Kiss
Words: 1377 – Saki (H H Munro) – Mrs Packletide’s Tiger
Words: 1411 – Guy de Maupassant – A Dead Woman’s Secret
Words: 1429 – Guy de Maupassant – Indiscretion
Words: 1464 – Guy de Maupassant – Moonlight
Words: 1472 – Guy de Maupassant – Coco
Words: 1503 – Anton Pavlovich Checkhov – A Slander
Words: 1520 – Saki (H H Munro) – The Mouse
Words: 1552 – Guy de Maupassant – Yvette
Words: 1564 – William Carlos Williams – The Use of Force
Words: 1618 – Liam O’Flaherty – The Sniper
Words: 1624 – Guy de Maupassant – Farewell
Words: 1657 – Guy de Maupassant – Friend Patience
Words: 1691 – Guy de Maupassant – The Drunkard
Words: 1720 – Guy de Maupassant – The Christening
Words: 1764 – Guy de Maupassant – A Vendetta
Words: 1797 – Mark Twain – Luck
Words: 1830 – Saki (H H Munro) – Sredni Vashtar
Words: 1831 – Ambrose Bierce – The Boarded Window
Words: 1857 – Guy de Maupassant – Bellflower
Words: 1862 – Guy de Maupassant – In the Wood
Words: 1870 – Guy de Maupassant – The Dowry
Words: 1896 – Guy de Maupassant – The Unknown
Words: 1914 – Guy de Maupassant – A Family
Words: 1921 – Guy de Maupassant – Misti–Recollections of a Bachelor
Words: 1944 – Guy de Maupassant – Confessing
Words: 1978 – Anton Pavlovich Checkhov – The Lottery Ticket
Words: 2023 – Guy de Maupassant – A Humble Drama
Words: 2071 – Guy de Maupassant – Two Little Soldiers
Words: 2073 – E B White – The Door
Words: 2083 – Guy de Maupassant – Humiliation
Words: 2093 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Tell-Tale Heart
Words: 2098 – Rudyard Kipling – How the Leopard Got His Spots
Words: 2098 – Guy de Maupassant – The Hand
Words: 2106 – Guy de Maupassant – Old Mongilet
Words: 2109 – Saki (H H Munro) – The Storyteller (Saki)
Words: 2112 – Patrick Waddington – The Street That Got Mislaid
Words: 2149 – Mark Twain – A Burlesque Biography
Words: 2163 – O Henry – The Gift of the Magi
Words: 2208 – Guy de Maupassant – The Hairpin
Words: 2256 – O Henry – The Whirligig of Life
Words: 2284 – Guy de Maupassant – Denis
Words: 2350 – Mark Twain – Italian without a Master
Words: 2383 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Masque of the Red Death
Words: 2384 – Herman Melville – The Fiddler
Words: 2385 – Anton Pavlovich Checkhov – A Day in the Country
Words: 2385 – Guy de Maupassant – Waiter
Words: 2399 – James Joyce – Araby
Words: 2414 – O Henry – The Princess and the Puma
Words: 2421 – Dorothy Parker – A Telephone Call
Words: 2434 – Guy de Maupassant – Madame Parisse
Words: 2457 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Imp of the Perverse
Words: 2479 – Guy de Maupassant – Timbuctoo
Words: 2495 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Cask of Amontillado
Words: 2500 – O Henry – The Last Leaf
Words: 2530 – Guy de Maupassant – The Piece of String
Words: 2543 – Ambrose Bierce – A Horseman in the Sky
Words: 2544 – Rudyard Kipling – The Elephant’s Child
Words: 2555 – O Henry – The Coming-Out of Maggie
Words: 2623 – Mark Twain – Italian with Grammar
Words: 2631 – Mark Twain – The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
Words: 2637 – Guy de Maupassant – Theodule Sabot’s Confession
Words: 2649 – James Joyce – Clay
Words: 2652 – Guy de Maupassant – The Marquis de Fumerol
Words: 2720 – Herman Melville – The Lightning-Rod Man
Words: 2731 – Guy de Maupassant – The Devil
Words: 2747 – Frank Stockton – The Lady or the Tiger?
Words: 2768 – Guy de Maupassant – Julie Romain
Words: 2797 – Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Eyes of a Blue Dog
Words: 2811 – Edgar Allan Poe – Von Kempelen and His Discovery
Words: 2871 – Anton Pavlovich Checkhov – The Bet
Words: 2901 – Evan Hunter – The Last Spin
Words: 2989 – Guy de Maupassant – The Donkey
Words: 3016 – Dylan Thomas – A Child’s Christmas in Wales
Words: 3056 – Guy de Maupassant – Toine
Words: 3081 – Guy de Maupassant – The Father
Words: 3091 – Guy de Maupassant – The Necklace
Words: 3159 – Guy de Maupassant – A Coward
Words: 3208 – Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Wedding-Knell
Words: 3211 – Irwin Shaw – The Girls in Their Summer Dresses
Words: 3283 – George Orwell – Shooting an Elephant
Words: 3343 – Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Ambitious Guest
Words: 3400 – Graham Greene – The End of the Party
Words: 3448 – Ambrose Bierce – Beyond the Wall
Words: 3620 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Facts in the Case of M Valdemar
Words: 3624 – Bret Harte – Tennessee’s Partner
Words: 3642 – Guy de Maupassant – An Affair of State
Words: 3690 – Paul Bowles – In the Red Room
Words: 3772 – Charles Dickens – The Baron of Grogzwig
Words: 3773 – Shirley Jackson – The Lottery
Words: 3801 – George Saunders – The Falls
Words: 3804 – Ambrose Bierce – An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
Words: 3878 – Edgar Allan Poe – 7 Mesmeric Revelation
Words: 3899 – Roald Dahl – Lamb to the Slaughter
Words: 3998 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Black Cat
Words: 4058 – Guy de Maupassant – The Wreck
Words: 4134 – W W Jacobs – The Monkey’s Paw
Words: 4190 – Bret Harte – The Luck of Roaring Camp
Words: 4279 – Guy de Maupassant – That Pig of a Morin
Words: 4309 – Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Eva Is Inside Her Cat
Words: 4356 – Charles Dickens – The Poor Relation’s Story
Words: 4372 – O Henry – The Ransom of Red Chief
Words: 4490 – Guy de Maupassant – A Vagabond
Words: 4492 – James O’Keefe – Death Makes a Comeback
Words: 4618 – Guy de Maupassant – Mademoiselle Fifi
Words: 4625 – Roald Dahl – Man From the South
Words: 4722 – Katherine Mansfield – The Stranger
Words: 5028 – Anton Pavlovich Checkhov – The Darling
Words: 5046 – Ring Lardner – Haircut
Words: 5072 – Roald Dahl – Beware of the Dog
Words: 5114 – Guy de Maupassant – The Inn
Words: 5215 – James Joyce – A Little Cloud
Words: 5231 – Stuart Cloete – The Soldier’s Peaches
Words: 5285 – Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Minister’s Black Veil
Words: 5387 – Nathaniel Hawthorne – Young Goodman Brown
Words: 5505 – George Orwell – Politics and the English Language
Words: 5547 – Jesse Stuart – Split Cherry Tree
Words: 5557 – Katherine Mansfield – The Garden Party
Words: 5565 – Honore de Balzac – A Passion in the Desert
Words: 5637 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Premature Burial
Words: 5672 – O Henry – A Blackjack Bargainer
Words: 5703 – Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Great Carbuncle
Words: 5704 – Bret Harte – How Santa Claus Came to Simpson’s Bar
Words: 5707 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Thousand-And-Second Tale of Scheherazade
Words: 5751 – Guy de Maupassant – Mademoiselle Pearl
Words: 5896 – Rudyard Kipling – Rikki-Tikki-Tavi from The Jungle Book
Words: 5952 – Tobias Wolff – Hunters in the Snow
Words: 6015 – D H Lawrence – The Rocking-Horse Winner
Words: 6078 – Frank Stockton – The Griffin and the Minor Canon
Words: 6155 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Pit and the Pendulum
Words: 6366 – Ambrose Flack – The Strangers That Came to Town
Words: 6758 – Ring Lardner – The Golden Honeymoon
Words: 6776 – Guy de Maupassant – Useless Beauty
Words: 6815 – Robert Louis Stevenson – Markheim
Words: 6826 – Nathaniel Hawthorne – Ethan Brand
Words: 6934 – Washington Irving – Rip Van Winkle (A Posthumous Writing of Diedrich Knickerbocker)
Words: 7053 – H G Wells – The Door in the Wall
Words: 7120 – Henry Van Dyke – The First Christmas Tree
Words: 7176 – Jack London – To Build a Fire
Words: 7178 – Mark Twain – Was it Heaven? Or Hell?
Words: 7181 – Edgar Allan Poe – A Descent Into the Maelstrom
Words: 7226 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Fall of the House of Usher
Words: 7396 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Purloined Letter
Words: 7419 – Thomas Bailey Aldrich – Marjorie Daw
Words: 7446 – Richard Harding Davis – The Consul
Words: 7805 – Jack London – A Piece of Steak
Words: 7876 – Guy de Maupassant – Miss Harriet
Words: 8080 – Mark Twain – The Private History of a Campaign That Failed
Words: 8426 – Richard Connell – The Most Dangerous Game
Words: 8881 – Carl Stephenson – Leiningen versus the Ants
Words: 8970 – Willa Cather – Paul’s Case
Words: 9601 – Thomas Nelson Page – The Burial of the Guns
Words: 10669 – Edith Wharton – Souls Belated
Words: 11870 – Edith Wharton – Afterward
Words: 12261 – Nathaniel Hawthorne – Rappaccini’s Daughter
Words: 33015 – H G Wells – The Time Machine

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3 comments on “Word Counts of Famous Short Stories (organized)
  1. Mean and average are the same thing. Median is the central figure in a list of figures.

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  1. […] shortest short story, The Oval Portrait, is 1,279 words. Indiana blogger and interface designer Steph Mineart calculated and tabulated the word count for 161 short stories – most of them from the nineteenth […]

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