Friday, April 9, 2010

Me on Novels versus Short Stories

Since I prefer novel writing, I enjoyed what Hodgins wrote in his “Structure” chapter in A Passion for Narrative. There’s always been something about novel writing that appeals to me more than short story writing. You have to limit yourself in short stories, you have only one or two points to discuss, and you have a few characters to introduce. In a novel, you can introduce many characters, have more than one setting, and have a variety of ideas and plot points to show the reader.

I don’t mind reading short stories, especially ones that are connected to other stories I’ve read or ones that end with a joke, but I don’t think I like writing them. I could write and write for pages and pages, but with short stories there’s usually a word limit, maybe 5,000 to 10,000 words. Novels are often upwards of 90,000 words long, with a number of chapters. Novel writing makes more sense to me. I can tell a story for a longer period of time, drag it out, tease the reader with twists and turns and red herrings, and end it with a satisfying ending (that might hint a sequel).

What bugs me about short stories is that I always have the ‘what happens next’ question after I read them. Sometimes they end abruptly with only solving the main problem, and I always want them to continue on with the story so the plot can keep on moving.

With novels, just about every question is answered at the end, satisfying the reader, and what isn’t answered can lead to a continuation of the series.

I think I’ve got a strange fascination, or obsession, with writing and reading series of novels. There’s one big story that involves all the same people with different personalities, and in each book there are little stories that move the big story along. It’s like watching a TV show, only there are words and no pictures. Well, often no pictures.

i hope you people are enjoying these forays into my brain. i can be odd at times, but i hope these bits make sense.

No comments:

Post a Comment