Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Long and the Short of It

I've been experimenting a lot this year, at least in my writing. Trying new genres, new forms, new venues. I've been so focused on building a sustainable career as a writer in the past three years, that I was starting to feel burnt out. All this playing around has really helped me recapture the joy and fun of it.

"The End" is something novelists can wait a long time to be able to write. Even a really fast full-time writer needs a few months usually to write a complete draft of a novel. Some of us have been known to work on a single book over the course of years. That delayed gratification has stopped more than one would-be-writer from seeing a project through.

So, I decided I'd write some shorter things in 2017. Stories. A novella. I wanted to get to The End a little more often.

 In October, I wrote daily flash fiction. Some of the pieces were as short as three hundred-ish words, and others as long as fifteen hundred. But each gave me a feeling of accomplishment just because they were complete. This month I'm writing microfiction, which is shorter yet, with a word cap of one hundred. It's almost like writing poetry, in that you have to defend each word. There's no extra space for unnecessary clutter.

On the other hand, the novella I started earlier this year refused to say small. It demands novel length treatment, so has now become my NaNoWriMo project. I resisted expanding it for a good long while, but my critique partners finally convinced me I needed more space to do the story justice. Here's hoping it'll stay a single book story! I'm not really wanting to start another series…

What's your sweet spot for length when you write or read? Do you like an epic tome or a haiku?


  1. So far, I haven't managed to write anything under 500 pages. I do hope to change that in the near future, though. And one of my NaNoWriMo projects was supposed to be a stand-alone novel (a short one, too), and turned out to be the first in a series. May that not happen to you (unless you find that's something you want...)

    Best of luck with NaNo...

    1. I do want at least *some* of my ideas to stay small, in complete-able chunks that fit into less than a year. :-)

  2. I enjoy writing 100 word stories. They are a real challenge and a great exercise.

    1. Yes! I've only tried a very few, but they are a special kind of challenge!