Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How Do you LIKE it? Short or Long?

Hmmm. Naughty question, huh? Nah...not really since I'm talking book length here and not the length of...well, you KNOW.

Was talking with a friend yesterday who mentioned that I'd become adept at writing shorter stories. It's funny. I'd never thought of it before but she was right! I actually didn't write my first novella until last year. All my other stories were full length novels and I remember when I wrote Hot Night at the Blue Bug Saloon that I was really nervous. Didn't think I could do it and have a GOOD story. I worried I wouldn't be able to do the kind of character development that I like to write so much.

Once I got my brain wrapped around it though, it was FUN. It was different and it was just what I needed to get myself jump-started after a number of years writing longer stuff. Now I pretty much only write novellas or shorter and I find I like it. My newest erotic (the historical Made for Mischief) is a full length but most of my releases and upcoming releases are much shorter. Now that doesn't mean I won't write a longer story in the future but, for now, this suits me fine.

Thinking about this further, I realized that I really, really LOVE sinking my teeth into a long story. Love the twists and turns and expansive character development in my personal reading material. The big problem for me these days is TIME. Do you have time to settle in and read a long book or do you find yourself, like me, so pressed for time that a shorter book fits your reading schedule perfectly.

Thank GOD we don't really have to choose because there are so many reading choices out there. Short or long? What's your choice?


Anny Cook said...

Hmmmm. Depends on the day, I guess. As long as the story's well rounded. When the house hunk asks how long the story will be I always say however long it takes to finish it. That's pretty much the way it is.

Unknown said...

I started out with Novellas, but as I get better, as my skills become more honed, I find myself writing longer and longer works. I think that in the beginning I didn't trust myself, having been shot down so many time by mainstream markets, so when I started writing erotica I was bruised and whimpering. But as I have gotten some moderate success under my belt, the writer in me has stood to full height and screamed "Hey, I'm here and I'm not going anywhere." So the books get longer, the characters more defined, and this author gets happier and happier.


Regina Carlysle said...

I honestly think it's fun to be flexible. And yes, Anny, a story is as long as it SHOULD be, in the end. I DID write a couple of books that I felt should've been a bit longer and more "fleshed out" but they were both the kind of things where I was facing a deadline and a shorter length helped me squeak by. But is squeaking by enough? I dont think so. Was disappointed in myself for doing that. With a little more time, the stories could've been better, I think.

Kelley Nyrae said...

With my reading I prefer full length. I do read novellas but since I'm such an obsessive reader I finish them too quickly and then need something else to read right away. With my writing, I've written two novels and like five novellas. I do like writing novella's a little more but I think thats just because I finish them faster and I need that feeling of accomplishment, ya know?

Regina Carlysle said...

Hey Kell. I actually agree with you on this. I think, with me anyway, that writing novellas gives me that little sense of accomplishment. A quick fix. Plus my patience isn't all that great. With a novella the lull in creative thinking doesn't seem as long.

Judith Leger said...

I thoroughly agree with you Regina. I love to read longer stories and I love writing them too. But every now and then I find that I start a book and it turns out to be much shorter than I expected. I've had success with several of my shorts but still my heart is with the longer ones!

Regina Carlysle said...

I love the longer, more full stories but TIME is a real problem. Still there are some real GEMS among the shorter stories out there.

Desirée Lee said...

It doesn't matter to me really. I prefer to read in bed. It helps me relax enough to go to sleep. If the book is too long to finish before nodding off, I'll stick a bookmark in and read more the next night.

Like Kelley, I find with shorter works I am often left wanting more! Not because the book was bad but because it was so good I didn't want it to end so soon!

Then again, I read a three book series once (full novels) and HATED the ending. I felt like kicking myself for reading all the way through to the end when I could have been spending that time reading something I would've enjoyed more.

Carpe Noctem,

Desirée Lee
Putting the Romance Back in Necromancy

Anne Rainey said...

Sometime next year I plan to write a full length story, but for now I'm sticking with novellas and short stories. I like cutting out the fluff and getting to the good stuff.

As far as reading goes, I have a lot of anthologies because I don't have the time I use to have. I have several full length books in my room just waiting to be read, but since I don't have the time to sit and really enjoy them, they'll probably be waiting around awhile.

Regina Carlysle said...

There's nothing worse, Des, than reading through a long three book series and finding a bad ending waiting there. That sooo pisses me off.

Regina Carlysle said...

I'm with you Anne. The novella are selling and making money PLUS you can crank them out lots faster.

Molly Daniels said...

I tend to write the longer ones. I wrote my first two novellas this year, and I'm not entirely happy with one of them. If it gets rejected, I'll rework it the way I originally planned.

As for reading them...yes, some feel unfinished. I'm left with the question 'so what happens next?' But others I've been happy with, so it all depends on how it was written.

Debra St. John said...

I like a variety when I read. Sometimes I'm in the mood for a longer read, and sometimes I'm in the mood for a shorter read I can charge through in a couple of hours. I write mostly the middle ground. Usually I need to add to the story to get it to a certain length. Hmmn? Maybe I should try the shorter stuff!

Anita Birt said...

I have never tried writing a novella. Who know I might try it sometime in the future. About reading. I like a long book that I can read slowly - I mean I'll pick it up of an evening and read a couple of chapters, maybe watch some TV. I drag the book out! It's like licking an ice cream cone. Lick slowly, make it last longer. Hmm. Does that sound wicked?

Regina Carlysle said...

I have to admit, Debra and Anita, I was really nervous writing my first novellas. Just didn't think I could do it and make my characters as 'complete' as I wanted but I think, in the end, I managed it very well. Sometimes trying something new is a real eye opener.

As to reading, I always veered toward the long novels but Brava's line got me hooked on the shorter stories. They were fun and very well written.