Words, more or less

In this week’s Izzy May I: The Write on the topic of word counts in fiction, Izzy does a great job of discussing word counts by genre, allowing me to see that One Green Bottle is at the upper limit for mystery / suspense. Maybe a little pruning is in order. Her post is so thorough, I was left with little to do but wonder about the number of words, not in a book, but in a sentence. The shortest, obviously is one, but what’s the longest? Well, Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age (Taneční hodiny pro starší a pokročilé, if you prefer) by Czech author Bohumil Hrabal has a good claim, being a single 130 page sentence. Jonathan Coe was inspired by this to write a sentence of 13,955 words in his excellent novel The Rotters Club. In comparison, Molly Bloom’s monologue in Ulysses comes in at a piddling 4,391 words. Huh!

All of which leads me on to TheBookBloggers Flash Fiction Foray, which asks for a story in 100 words at most, based on the title of a song. Last week’s prompt was American Pie.


And the rest is history…

‘Everything.’ Anton handed over the roll of film. ‘Anti-missile sites, nuclear codes – the lot.’

‘Well done.’ Ivan glanced round. The car was waiting. Diplomatic plates. Chauffeur. All according to plan. Soon he’d be boarding at JFK, the future of the USSR guaranteed. He slipped the film into his pocket. ‘Operation Dumpling is a success.’ He walked to the car, where the chauffeur opened the door.

‘What the…?’ Ivan yelped as the door slammed shut on his arm. A pistol came to rest against his head.

‘Dumpling?’ The chauffeur chuckled. ‘Tasty, I’m sure. But nowhere near as good as American Pie.’

9 thoughts on “Words, more or less

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