Okay, I'm talking about book length, but I love where your mind was headed. You see, I just finished writing my second short story and it got me wondering if your preference to write epic tales over short pieces was inherent, almost genetic, and thus, hard to change. Not that your actual writing is different. Regardless of length, every story has the same elements in it. But there is a certain amount of flair required for writing short pieces... this coming from a person who loves to draw things out.
So does this mean somewhere in my brain there's a code for having grand ideas? That's how it feels. Whenever the characters of a future book start nattering away in my head, they don't just have quick, fleeting adventures in mind. They want to roam across the land, taking several paths before arriving at their destination. And I love following them. But as I look at the path of erotic books, it seems more and more authors are writing shorter offerings. Novellas jump off the electric shelves like hot cakes and I'm left wondering if long novels are becoming a thing of the past. It seems logical in some ways. In this era of instant gratification, are we becoming less patient to sit down and only read a few chapters of a book rather than the entire story? Do we stretch our time so thin we don't have enough to spend reading a novel that will take us a week to finish? Do we just want to know how it ends, period?
I'm not sure if I have any answers. I enjoy reading all book lengths , but I love writing long ones. 90,000 words is a good length for me. I have enough time to indulge in lots of adventure, and of course, steamy romantic sex, but not so long I've lost the will to keep writing. And I can't help but wonder if this stems from growing up glued to the likes of Stephen King, whose idea of a novel usually involves at least 120,000 words. I've read series that took ten books to finish and novels I've spent weeks getting through. I'm comfortable at this length. But will they sell?
I suppose that's the ultimate question. Not whether I love writing long stories, but do readers love reading them. I would like to think there are still folks who enjoy sinking into a book a few chapters at a time, or maybe I just want this because I find writing short stories more challenging. Perhaps it's because you have to pinpoint your ideas. Instead of looking at part of a character's life, you almost need to concentrate more on one event in their life. After all 15,000 words doesn't leave much room to explore more than a specific moment, say an evening, or a wedding, or maybe an afternoon trapped in an abandoned barn. What I'm getting at is, you need to organize your thoughts and stay on track. And I wonder if I'm the only one who finds this hard. (Of course if you examined my life you'd soon discover organization is not my strong suit.) As soon as I start writing I think of all these other ways my characters can interact and I just want to expand on every idea. It takes a lot of self control to stay on track and concentrate on that one main objective.
I have to say I'm a bit envious of authors who can school their thoughts into these tasty little bites. Who seem to be able to pick out the perfect scenario they can curtail into forty pages, but still leave you feeling satisfied with the tale they've woven. It seems like a remarkable talent and I'd be lying if I didn't confess I curse them as I force myself to, once again, rein it all in. But then I guess that's the beauty of writing. We all have our strengths and strive to better ourselves. I do enjoy looking at a short and thinking, yes, that did condense down nicely... all the while plotting all the wonderful trouble my characters could get into if I could just add 5,000 more words.
So what's your preference? Does size really matter? Or is it the story that draws you in? I'd love to know your thoughts, though I think I'll always struggle to contain mine.
Thanks for dropping by and see you next month.
Romancing life...one adventure at a time.