Template talk:TitleFields:Length

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Given the current revival of the never-ending discussion, can someone fill in the history of where we borrowed the rules from? There's some slight discrepancies that mean I can't be sure where we got them from, although it's usually only a word either way. I'm specifically comparing our rules with these Hugo and Nebula rules (feel free to check if they're actually the most up-to-date versions).

Vignette:      ISFDB:    Not used.
               Nebula:   Not used.
               Hugo:     Not used.
            vi Contento: < 1,000 words. (under 4 pages)

Shortstory: ss ISFDB     <= 7,500 words (<= 20 pages)
               Nebula:   <  7,500 words   
               Hugo:     <  7,500 words               
            ss Contento: >= 1,000 words and < 7,500 words. (4-20 pages)

Novelette:  nt ISFDB     >  7,500 words and <= 17,500 words. (20 to 50 pages)
               Nebula:   >= 7,500 words and <  17,500 words. 
               Hugo:     "Between" 7,500 words and 17,500 words. 
            nv Contento: >= 7,500 words and <  17,500 words. (21-45 pages)

Novella:    nv ISFDB:    >  17,500 words and <= 40,000 words. (50 to 100 pages)
               Nebula:   >= 17,500 words and <  40,000 words. 
               Hugo:     "Between" 17,500 words and 40,000 words.   
            na Contento: >= 17,500 words and <  40,000 words. (46-100 pages)

The Hugo looks a slightly woollier definition as it doesn't indicate whether "between" includes the end-values or not, and either way you have either an overlap or a gap. But the real kicker is in the Nebula rules: At the author's request, a novella-length work published individually, rather than as part of a collection or an anthology, may appear in the novel category. BLongley 19:44, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

I don't know which source we started with, but Contento (in his list of abbreviations) says:
  • vignette (under 4 pages, under 1,000 words)
  • short story (4-20 pages, 1,000-7,499 words)
  • novelette (21-45 pages, 7,500-17,499 words)
  • novella (46-100 pages, 17,500-39,999 words)
  • novel (over 100 pages, over 40,000 words)
The Lotus Index used the same list. This pretty well matches our current cats, except for the separate cat for under 1000 words, which we fold into short story. -DES Talk 21:24, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
I believe that we looked at the Hugo/Nebula rules and said "Works for us; let's not re-invent the wheel". Unfortunately, not all books are created equal, so you can have anywhere from 150 words per page (large print editions and children's books) to 550 words per page (encyclopedias and such). Since it's much easier to determine the page count than it is to do a proper word count, there is plenty of room for error :( Ahasuerus 21:31, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
I added Contento to the first table and vignette to the Contento list above. It looks like it's a minor tweak to get the ISFDB definitions to match the others. I also added the abbreviations used by Contento and ISFDB. They don't match up and so presumably ISFDB's source is something else. --Marc Kupper|talk 23:59, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
I am sure nobody will begrudge us 1 word either way :) As far as the "nv/na/nt" issue goes, I think (and I am not entirely sure after some 13 years) that it was just a question of picking unambiguous abbreviations. FWIW, I have always found Contento's use of "na" and "nv" confusing and hard to keep straight. Ahasuerus 01:35, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm not worried about the single word, I'm not going to count even borderline cases - my fingers only go up to 1023 anyway. It's the Nebula "novella might be counted as a novel" I think we have to watch out for. Does anyone know if this has ever happened, and if so did we go via the word-count Length definition or the Award category it was entered for? BLongley 19:17, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I think they added this caveat because they wanted to change categories in a particular case and the rules were originally too inflexible. I am afraid I don't remember the details, but I think it was along the lines of "Since we have done it once, there is a chance that we may want to do it again. So let's change the rules now so that if it ever becomes necessary /desirable again, we won't have to spend another 2 weeks arguing about it." In other words, it doesn't happen very often, but it's not unheard of. Ahasuerus 23:19, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I added the page counts from the ISFDB page but would also like to reword the word counts to be
    • sf - Shortfiction - This is the default story length for shortfiction and means the length is not defined.
    • ss - Shortstory - A work whose length is less than or equal to 7,500 words. (Roughly, 20 or fewer pages in a book.)
    • nt - Novelette - A work whose length is greater than or equal to 7,500 words and less than or equal to 17,500 words. (Roughly 20 to 50 pages in a book.)
    • nv - Novella - A work whose length is greater or equal to than 17,500 words and less than or equal to 40,000 words. (Roughly 50 to 100 pages in a book.)
strikeout text to be removed and italicized text to be added. We need to think about the page count stuff as you can see the words per page have some variantion.
    • <= 7,500 words (<= 20 pages) - 375 words/page
    • > 7,500 words and (20 pages) - 375 words/page
    • <= 17,500 words. (50 pages) - 350 words/page
    • > 17,500 words and (50 pages) - 350 words/page
    • <= 40,000 words. (100 pages) - 400 words/page
  • Contento
    • < 1,000 words. (under 4 pages) - 250 words/page
    • >= 1,000 words and (4 pages) - 250 words/page
    • < 7,500 words. (20 pages) - 375 words/page
    • >= 7,500 words and (21 pages) - 357 words/page
    • < 17,500 words. (45 pages) - 389 words/page
    • >= 17,500 words and (46 pages) - 380 words/page
    • < 40,000 words. (100 pages) - 400 words/page --Marc Kupper|talk 21:33, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

((unindent)) By the way, the table at the top is beginning to look like a useful bit of help. Anyone know of any other sources we should add, and/or have a suggestion as to where such a help page usefully fits? BLongley 19:19, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

I suspect this talk page is fine for now as it's showing the word count systems are consistent other than ISFDB. --Marc Kupper|talk 21:33, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
It can't be that a story with 20 pages can be a short story or a novelette (dito the limit 50 pages), that isn't clear. Contento is better.--Wolfram.winkler 05:05, 17 July 2017 (EDT)