Adventures in Reading


Length of a story
July 12, 2008, 8:59 am
Filed under: thoughtful | Tags: , , ,

On my post of Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende, Katrina commented that the book could have been a bit shorter and in retrospect I do agree. When reading the collection of critical essays on the short story someone – maybe Chekov maybe Hart – said something along the lines that it was more or less easy to write a novel. Once you had the characters, general plot, and some significant themes you just started writing and kept writing. Assumedly this was also a comment that a short story is challenging, as it demands a story be pruned to its most significant parts.

And in my own writing experience, I have to agree. Not that I’ve written any novels mind you, but a few months ago after reading Koji Suzuki’s Dark Waters and The Ring I had an odd phone call and tied in with a bit of a nutcase neighbor I had the year before, I felt I had at least an interesting if not amazing story developing. But over two or three days I ended up with sixty or so pages that just poured out. I keep meaning to go back and lop off sections of it but haven’t arrived at that point yet.

I don’t think I have anything against lengthier novels or at least I hope not, but I am going to start keeping my eye out for novels that could have used a little more pruning. Then again, my current perspective could be entirely biased from all of my recent short story reading!

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