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Short or Long?

I have conversations about this pretty often.  I write a lot of short stories, some of them are linked.  I just finished a four story series for my publisher.  I don’t write many novels.  I guess that makes me an oddity. 

My friends often point to the novel I sold and say, “Look that proves you can write a novel.”

I’ve known I can write a novel for a long time, I just don’t like writing them.  I don’t write very quickly and to write a whole novel I have to set aside everything else I want to do.  I know that sounds selfish.

I take my writing very seriously; I may spend months researching for a short story.  I’ve spent a lot of time reading about the last few years of the NHA and the transfer to the NHL, and the shift in goalie styles (until 1918 goalies were not allowed to leave their feet to make a save) and I can tell you how ice was resurfaced before the Zamboni.  So it’s not a lack of seriousness that keeps me from writing novels. 

Like every writer I know, I am compelled to write.  I don’t feel like I have a choice in it, but at this point I don’t see myself making a living at writing.  So writing is just a very important hobby of mine.  That isn’t to say I don’t get paid for my shorts, I do, and I will be paid for my upcoming novel as well.   

But will I write another novel soon?

Probably not. 

Since this is a hobby what I do should be fun.  I don’t find novels fun.  Maybe someday I will change my mind.  Maybe not.  I can’t know the future.

Do you like to write long pieces, or short pieces? 



( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 5th, 2012 05:19 pm (UTC)
hands down, I prefer long. Almost everything I write is novel or novella length. When I do write a short story I often get the criticism there is too much story here for a short. I'm not even fond of reading short stories (which is a bit embarrassing for me since I DO write and sell them often then have to slog through an anthology I'm in).

I do write shorts because they're relatively easy sales and it keeps my name out there and I do get inspired by a lot of publisher open anthology calls but left to my own devices, novels every time (which seems to make me your polar opposite)
Aug. 5th, 2012 06:28 pm (UTC)
From what I have been led to believe, you are much more common than I am. I kinda wish I was more like you. Other writers seem to look at you as less serious if you stick to short stories, and that isn’t really fair.

20K is about where I get really bored and need to work on something else – sometimes I can come back and add another 20K but more often than not I just stop there.

I haven’t figured out a way to say “I know I could write a novel, I just don’t like doing it,” In a way that is both heard and understood.
Aug. 5th, 2012 08:23 pm (UTC)
I think the problem is very few people do read short stories so they are seen as a lesser cousin to the novel. Maybe this will change with the ebook revolution (well not for me but for others)
Aug. 5th, 2012 09:32 pm (UTC)
I get that, most people stop reading short stories when they graduate I guess. I don’t think I’ll ever get why writers all seem to enjoy making each other feel bad. I don't think I'm going to feel much different when my novel comes out, than I will when the last story of my short story cycle comes out – but honestly I could be wrong, maybe it will feel different.
Aug. 5th, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC)
that I couldn't say since I've never encountered anyone putting me down for doing short stories in any of the writers groups or friendships I've had. They celebrate my short stories as much as longer works.

When I run into trouble occasionally are the writer groups members who get off on being cruel with their criticisms and you can always spot this person. They're the only ones being brutal (and usually can't handle even the slightest criticisms)
Aug. 5th, 2012 11:59 pm (UTC)
That’s awesome about you not getting negative feedback on your short stories. I think all of the short story authors I know routinely get knocked for writing short. Or even worse the “That is a wonderful short story. If you did things my way you could be writing novels in no time.”
Aug. 6th, 2012 02:12 am (UTC)
wow, no I've never had that sort of trouble. that sucks. Point out that a lot of the big name novelists often jump at the chance to write short stories for anthologies

Edited at 2012-08-06 02:13 am (UTC)
Aug. 6th, 2012 10:45 am (UTC)
Mostly I just brush it off - but every once and a while it gets to me.

I mean I have a novel comming out some time in the next 3 months, so I'm not "novel free"
Aug. 6th, 2012 04:03 pm (UTC)
i don't blame you

and good luck with that
Aug. 6th, 2012 10:59 pm (UTC)
I totaly didn't mean to be a crabby patty when I posted this.

Thank you, and maybe when it comes out I'll be converted and understand why people look sideways at shorts.
Aug. 7th, 2012 02:05 am (UTC)
eh, venting is good for us.

Snort, could be
Aug. 7th, 2012 10:47 am (UTC)
yeah, I guess - I try to be more level about things.

My mom has a fake novel she pretends to be working on, just to have something to say when people ask about her novel.
Aug. 7th, 2012 04:19 pm (UTC)
oh geez to your mom.
Aug. 8th, 2012 10:42 am (UTC)
I guess that is one way to handle it huh?
Aug. 8th, 2012 03:41 pm (UTC)
yes it is
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Aug. 6th, 2012 12:16 am (UTC)
I think right now I love the 10-20 K pieces the most. I do need a lot of world building, I mean you can’t just say “OK hockey playing hyena-shifters” and just expect people to buy it (and lets not even get into hockey playing hyena-shifters in New Brunswick in the 1920s)

I wish Nano wasn’t in November. The one time I did a Nano it was in August and it was fun even without the support you get from doing it all together.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 6th, 2012 10:55 am (UTC)
I'll have to look into that - one year I did a Nano starting mid August and then when Nov rolled around I added my word count in at the same pace it was writen.
Aug. 6th, 2012 01:15 am (UTC)
my fanfic as a rule are shorter works. i write what the characters tell me, and i don't like posting multi-part stories that may or may not get finished.

the original stuff i've written is more novella length. it's too long for a short story; there's not enough stuff to make it a novel novel.

i read pretty a little of everything in the genres i like.
Aug. 6th, 2012 10:53 am (UTC)
You do what I do, with the interlocked stories.

I think I'm working on a novella now - but I'm not sure

Aug. 6th, 2012 02:04 pm (UTC)
yep, pretty much.

ahh. novellas are cool too. =D
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )