Friday, December 16, 2011

Novel Writing vs. Short Story Writing

Post By Dylan
A Sophomore at Erie High School


As the end of the year is coming to a close and those of you who did NaNoWriMo are probably nearing the end of your books, I decided to tackle the subject of novel writing versus short story writing. Those of us who have written both know that these two mediums are completely different beasts.

I am personally more of a novel writer; that’s what I enjoy. I have more of a knack for it. Novels are longer-paced and require a lot of patience when writing. Versus short stories which are well…shorter, and they need a very gifted hand writing them in order to have a quality product at the end.

Short stories are jam-packed with ideas, and contain a ton of pay-offs for those ideas in a very short amount of time. With novels, the first third or so is used to bring all the problems to the forefront, then you have time for back story and after that you have the rest of the novel to find a resolution. Not so in short stories, where you have to bring everything to the front; have a climax where the problems are solved (or not) and tie everything up within a couple of pages.

Where short stories are harder to write in the sense of pacing and delivery, I feel plot is equally hard for a novel. Most writers can engage an audience and create a story for ten, thirty and even fifty pages, but can they keep that up for three hundred? This can be especially hard when writers not have a clear picture of the story in their head. My only suggestion is to keep on writing, and if you do, you are most likely to write yourself out of any corners.

While both types of writing are hard in their own way I think it is great to experience both types of writing. So novel writers, if you have an idea for a short story, go write it. Short story writers, if you have an idea that can be fleshed out into an entire novel, challenge yourself. I think all of us could really learn from stretching our imagination into a different type of medium.

Now, which do you like more: short stories or novels? Which do you think is harder to write? 
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3 comments:

Dean K Miller said...

Trying my first novel, I find that looking at each chapter or scene as an independent short story (my stronger venue) that helps tell the entire story, keeps me from freaking out about length, flow, arcs, etc.

My own brain-twist to not get bogged down in the novel process, always keeping the chocolate nearby should I start to crash!

Dylan Book Reader said...

I tend to think the same way when I am writing chapters. I always find myself sighing a breath of relief when I finish one chapter. I will have to try the chocolate tip when writing though. Thanks for the comment!

Patricia Stoltey said...

I haven't written many short stories because I find them very difficult. Perhaps if I read more shorts, I'd do a little better. I'm a novel reader, so I guess it makes sense I'd try harder to write novels.

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