What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Arts and Crafts Movements

Sarah Monette talks truth to power about The Art of the Short Story. This is actually an article in the sporadic series with a longer title of "Routes to Publication May Vary According to Your Talents" being written unconjunctively by many authors on many blogs.

But she speaks a lot of truth. The first paragraph is what I'd like to discuss, though. In there she says that, basically, Short Stories aren't the same species as Novels. This is a fact. She also discounts the "business route" of writing shorts to make a name for yourself and then start writing novels. This is also true. However, this is the route I've taken. And I think there's a lot of established authors and editors who add on motivations to my move (because they've advised me against it).

I think my natural writing length is a novel. I started out wanting to write novels and I still do want to write novels (as I hope to be working on them this year). Also, novels are where the money is at in this game. So, yeah, novels it is.

However, as my first attempts at writing them showed, I didn't have the foggiest clue as to how to tell a story. I took a community education class taught by a somewhat famous romance novelist that was supposed to help us write novels. It was that experience, the wrestling with the opening chapter, that demonstrated to me that I needed to learn some craftsmanship.


mattw said...

I recently saw an interview with Stephen King where he talked a little about the differences between the novel and short story and how they are two different species of writing.

He also noted that a lot of short story writers seem to forget how to write short stories once they've started on novels.

Steve Buchheit said...

It's taken me a long time to learn how to write short stories (the form). It really is it's own art form to make a story in less than 5000 words.

I still like writing them, and I've been working on recognizing what length a story needs. I've been good with novel/short/poetry, but I've learned how to recognize flash and have gotten to the point of being able to say "This will take 3000/4000/5000 or so words" at the beginning of writing. That certainly helps with deciding which projects to go forward with.