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|Elena’s re-do question on the thing about short stories being a different form from novels, and novellas being better for practice. ACTUAL QUESTION: Would you agree with that assessment, that short stories are a very different form with a different intent/purpose? If so, what would you consider to be the intent of short stories and does your preference for novels have to do with a dislike of that intent? |
Joe’s response: I guess short stories need by definition to be a lot more focused than novel-length works (especially works of epic fantasy which tend towards the huge and labyrinthine). Usually they’re not long enough to really describe a satisfactory development in a character (to have a full “arc”, you might say), so generally you’re making a simpler point – depicting a few characters as briefly as possible, establishing a situation and setting up some kind of twist or reveal. I don’t know if they’re a very different form, since in a way I’ve always seen novels as being composed of individual scenes and depictions which, hopefully, should all punch their own weight as well as contributing to the whole. But certainly long stories are the ones I’ve always been interested in, especially in fantasy, both reading and therefore writing. I like the opportunity to really develop several characters and see how they interact over time. There’s also, honestly, a much better market for novel length work than there is for short stories, which for me makes it difficult to justify writing short stories without some specific purpose in mind, generally promotion of my longer work in one way or another….