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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Novels Versus Short Stories

I'm hearing short stories are becoming the trend.  People don't always have time to sit down to enjoy a long novel. They can read a short story on their cell phone while in line at the airport, grocery store, or riding as a passenger (no reading and driving please) in a car.  

Young people, especially, like everything to be fast, so a short story of 5,000 to 20,000 words is a quick read for them.  When you grow up in a world of texting, computers, cell phones and anything that gives instant gratification there's no time for reading 120,000 word novels, or something even more epic proportions.

Everyone I know leads a busy life.  Do you have time to read?  Do you like short stories or novel length?  While I'm here, do you like short or long blogs?  lol

Sandra K. Marshall
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Adele Dubois said...

I like having choices to fit my mood. Novels, novellas, and short stories fill my book cases and e-reader. Sometimes I want to delve into a detailed novel. For a quick read, I'll sit down with a short story. I've written three short stories for anthologies and had a lot of fun doing so.

There's no doubt that novel lengths have grown shorter. The standard used to be 100-125K. Today 90K is considered full-length and many novels are 80-85K.


Liz said...

I prefer novels or novellas (around 50-60k). The art of the short, truly well-written story is something I have a tough time grasping both as a writer and a reader. Although I've been tasked with writing a couple (up to 15K) for a's hard!

Paris said...

I do enjoy a good novel length story that catches my interest but I love a good story, whatever it's length.

Short stories have their own appeal and I'm glad that so many are available these days.

Tina Donahue said...

I tend to stay away from trends. By the time I'm ready to submit something that everyone has to be doing or is the current rage, the trend is already dead and I'm left with a mss that won't sell.

IMO the story is what matters - if it's a great one - long or short, it will find its audience.

Sandy said...

Hi Liz,
I agree, Liz, that it would be hard to write so short, but I'm going to try it. lol

Thanks, Paris. I enjoy a novel, too. Usually around 300 to 400 pages in length.

Thanks, Tina. You're right about the story matters. I stay away from trends, too, but young people will be taking over the world soon, and they like fast and furious. The use of trend is probably not the right word to use.

Louise Behiel said...

I used to hate reading novellas and never read short stories, but I've changed. Sometimes, I want something quick so I'll pickup a short novella. other times, longer is better. but i'm moving in the shorter is better direction. and I only read on my Kindle, so that may be part of it, although I don't know why.

Sandy said...

Louise, I think time being so precious is the reason I'm thinking writing short. I'm ashamed to say I don't have time to read any more. Thanks for coming by.

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

For me, it's all about the story. I've written a few shorter ones and when the story is done for me, it's done. Yet on every one I've gotten readers saying that they wish they'd been longer. For the Welcome to Redemption series I write with Donna, that is a comment repeated often in our reviews--"wish they were longer."

Guess that's a good thing--leave the reader wanting more.

And my new release this month was supposed to be a short story but the darn characters wouldn't cooperate and let me end it so it became a 61k book. I'm very happy with how it turned out, though. :)

Sandy said...

Yes, it's a good thing, Stacey, to leave your readers wanting more. Smile. Especially, as Welcome to Redemption has connecting stories, so they do get more.

I loved Welcome to Redemption and anyone who likes small town life and those who want to know more about small towns will to.

Jill James said...

Sometimes I like a short story if it feels complete and it is nice to write a short story and put The End on it that much sooner.

But I love long, epic novels. I want to stay in the world created with the characters I've grown to love that much longer.

Sandy said...

Jill, I agree with you about the long epic novels. We just live in a busy world these days.

Your story, Tempting Adam, held my attention until it was finished, but I'm afraid to start a book these days for that very reason. lol

Melisse Aires said...

I've always like short stories and novellas--Ellery Queen Mystery and Alfred Hitchcock mags, were favorites of mine before e-books. I'm a fast reader and occasionally read a long novel, but my preference is for shorter. I love to read before going to sleep and enjoy a story I can finish. 30k is just about right!

Marianne Stephens said...

I like reading shorter novels...not more than 50,000 words. I tend to write that length or shorter.
I enjoy "fast reads" and always have!

Sandy said...

Thank you, Melisse. I remember reading those Ellery Queen mystery mags. Not too much Alfred Hitchcock, too scary. lol

Thanks, Marianne. I read everything when I was young, but now it has to be shorter.

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