Monday, January 25, 2010

Short Stories vs. Novels

Which do you prefer, and why? Personally, I prefer novels, both to read and write. Don't get me wrong, I love a good short story, especially if it's engaging, but in 10,000 words or less, it's difficult to keep suspense high while simultaneously giving me a meaningful connection with the characters on the page. In "A Rose for Miss Emily" the author did a great job of doing that, but I have very few examples of stories that I've read where I truly engaged with the story.

That's not to say that the stories don't exist, but with as little reading time as I have, I've CHOSEN to focus my energy on novels by authors who really inspire me! Some of my teachers in college, on the other hand, told that they had very little free time to spend reading, so they decided that reading short stories fit into their lifestyle better because (and I think this is what I hear) they were able to get more reading finished with their limited time.

Personally, I would rather read a chapter every night until the book is done than read a short story because I like the suspense that gets me to go from one chapter to the next, and I like seeing the constant changes that the characters go through.

As far as writing is concerned, I never got the hang of writing a good short story. In fact, as far as dynamic plots go, I had to spend two years on my most recent novel to finally figure out how to create one that isn't just plain boring. I'm writing a short story now, and I wish I could turn it into a novel, but I don't want to start another year-long project until I know whether or not I need to set the current one aside. Anyway, the short plot and the extreme lack of detail about the setting and character backgrounds makes it difficult for my brain to formulate something that's less than 50k words long. I know it's important to leave a lot of stuff out of a short story because it only bogs down the narrative and makes editors and consumers alike simply throw it away.

What's your preference? Which would YOU rather read, and which would you rather write?

1 comment:

  1. short stories hands down. novels terrify me. it's the commitment of them. but i'll read anything put in front of me.