Hello, hello! Last week, I asked a friend to suggest a topic for my next blog post (I’m running low on ideas, so feel free to suggest some topics or ask me questions) and she brought up short stories vs. novellas vs. novels. She wanted to know my preferences based on being a reader vs. being a writer. So, I thought I would use today to talk about the lengths of the things I enjoy reading as well as of the things I enjoy writing. It seemed like a good topic since I haven’t written many writerly ramblings lately.
First, I suppose I’ll approach the topic as a reader. If I’m looking for something quick to distract me for a short period of time, I love digging into a short story. But, most of the time, I prefer to read novels. I like being able to get lost in a new world and getting to know the characters in a way that shorter works don’t allow for. As far as novellas go, I don’t actively search them out, but I don’t dislike them for any particular reason. One of my favorite stories is “The Body” by Stephen King, which is a novella in his collection Different Seasons. Overall, I suppose I’d rank my reading preferences as novels, followed closely by short stories, then the occasional novella.
As a writer, things are a little more complicated. Let’s look at novels. I’m still fairly new to this particular form and I’m not entirely comfortable in it. Though, I will admit, as I work on each new novel, I’m becoming more and more drawn to it. At first, it felt like I was rambling. I couldn’t get a grasp on the idea of the slow reveal and how to keep it interesting while my characters were going about their days. I’m two-thirds of the way through writing my third novel and I’m finally feeling like I might semi know what I’m doing. So, writing novels is growing on me.
Short stories, on the other hand, are where I feel most at ease. I enjoy the conciseness of the short form. It’s easier to keep track of one or two plots and characters than it is to keep track of a novel full of them. I’m not constantly stressing because I just know I forgot some minor detail that will inevitably turn into something major. Don’t get me wrong, I forget stuff in my short stories all the time, but it’s much easier to catch those things when it happens in 20 pages vs. 300 pages. It’s also much easier to keep the writing motivation going for a week or two instead of three or more months. Plus, I have a lot of fun with short stories. That’s why they will always be my favorite to write.
Then, there are novellas. I honestly haven’t ventured into this realm yet. I stopped working on one of my fetish fairy tales because it was leaving the territory of a short story and becoming a novelette/novella. I thought maybe it had too much backstory and I needed to cut stuff out. But recently, I decided to just let it go where it’s going and figure out what to do with it later. I have at least one other story that needs to be expanded into a novella, so I might try my hand at it one day, but today is not that day.
In the end, I suppose my writing preferences would be ranked short stories, novels, and novellas in a distant third. What about you? Do you have a preference when reading vs. when writing? Is there an equivalent option in your craft if you’re not a writer? Share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages!