Size Matters (Or Does It?)

How writing short, medium, and long is the best practice

Susan Orlean
3 min readOct 5, 2022

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Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

Last fall, I started a new column of obituaries for The New Yorker. The pieces were supposed to clock in around 1,000 words, or, ideally, a bit shorter. The New Yorker has a famous appetite for long pieces — once, a single story (John Hersey’s report on Hiroshima) took up the entire issue, and over the years there have been…

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Susan Orlean

Staff writer, The New Yorker. Author of The Library Book, The Orchid Thief, and more…Head of my very own Literati.com book club (join me!)