The Short And The Long Of It – By Aubrey Wynne
Some people prefer short stories: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe, The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, or The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain.
Others enjoy getting to know the characters and settling in for a long read: The Call of The Wild by Jack London, Sophie’s Choice By William Styron, The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington or Animal Farm by George Orwell.
I consider any of these good literary choices. Whether I choose short or long for my reading pleasure depends on my time, focus and mood. A long weekend dictates a book I can sink my teeth into and enjoy the intricacies of a plot and subplots. I get involved with main characters and a secondary cast. If I have an afternoon free, I hate to start a novel and leave in the middle for a week or two. So I choose a short story.
So what is the difference when writing? Which is more difficult for the author? Style often dictates what an author writes. I also think the story itself often decides the length. Some stories are a glimpse into a slice of the character’s life. Others may be detailed accounts that need to be slowly digested and savored. But the styles for each are different.
A novel needs background, detail, and often spans a period of time. Here the author needs to set the tone, give us necessary previous knowledge and include subplots and secondary characters. A short story gets straight to the point, involves fewer characters and usually has only one storyline. The luxury of spending a page describing the valley below does not exist for the short story writer. Each word counts.
If a writer hates to ‘cut his babies’, novels create the perfect vehicle. If you enjoy describing each character’s clothing each time they enter a room or providing an intricate description of the mansion on the hill, by all means pursue the novel. Short story and novella authors usually concentrate on a single plot, add some description and action then wrap it up. This does not mean that characters are not developed or the plot is simple and never complicated: the more intricacies and in-depth the short story, the more talented the author.
So what is your preference as a reader and writer? Short or long? Detailed or to the point?
PRIZE – One random commenter will receive their choice of one my shorts posted below.
Blurb and Links for To Cast A Cliché:
The evil Queen Lucinda exacts revenge on a royal poet by casting a spell of never-ending clichés upon the kingdom. Will the clever King Richard thwart his stepmother’s magic and save the good people of Maxim? Test your literary knowledge and enjoy an entertaining spoof on fairytales.
Blurb and Links for Pete’s Mighty Purty Privies:
Pete McNutt, a privy salesman, needs customers for his new business. Spring has arrived and it’s prime time Privy Season. After much consideration, he refines his sales pitch, takes courage in hand and heads to the monthly meeting of the Women’s Library Association.
Blurb and Links for Merry Christmas, Henry:
Henry, a shy and talented artist, moonlights as a security guard at a museum and loses his heart to a beautiful, melancholy woman in a painting. As his obsession grows, he finds a kindred soul who helps him in his search for happiness. On Christmas Eve, Henry dares to take a chance on love and fulfill his dream.
Melange Books, LLC: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/aubreywynne/merryxmashenry.html
About the Author
Aubrey Wynne resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. Obsessions include history, travel, trail riding and all things Christmas. Her debut story, Merry Christmas, Henry, was published in November 2013 by Melange Books, LLC and received Best Short Romance in the Editors and Predators Reader’s Choice of 2013. Her humorous shorts, Pete’s Mighty Purty Privies and To Cast A Cliché are published with AlfieFiction.com
Hook up with Aubrey