Writing a novel is almost nothing like writing a short story. They are cousins, yes, but they have different rules, different structures, needs, formats, markets and nuances that make it complicated at best to switch from one to the other.
Authors will tell you if they are a "short story person" or not. They'll have strong opinions one way or another. Then again, they usually do. Some will insist that you must choose only one. They'll want you to pick sides, which we all know from my chronic genre hopping that I am unwilling to do.
You can't make me.
I usually have strong opinions too. I am an author after all. For the short story and the novel, I like to think I have equal affection. In fact, I think a strong skill set in short writing is a fabulous exercise for improving one's writing of any length. The short story is the dressage of the literary world. It makes us flexible, bendy, and teaches us to tighten, tighten, tighten.
A marathon short story writer will be as taut and well muscled as an Olympic dressage horse. He has trained you see. He knows that every word, every syllable must carry its own weight. It must "do" something. A short story background involves word limits. (The novelist in the room, just passed out.) Limits, yes. It involves trimming the fat. Cutting and cutting and then once you've axed your masterpiece to death and squeezed in just under the editorial limit, getting a friendly email requesting you just "trim it another five hundred words or so."
Never is an author more understanding of the art of storytelling, than when he deletes half of his words and discovers that the tale still works. . . sometimes, works even better.
I love shorts. I love to read them too. My husband detests them. His response is always, always the same, "That's it?" My best friend agrees with him. Her rote answer is usually, "What happens next?"
But I like a little mystery in my fiction, even at the very end. I love the story, The Lady and the Tiger. I don't care which door the author thought his heroine picked for her hero, I KNOW she let him get eaten by that tiger. :)
As a reader, I like having that power there at the end. I can decide what happens next. You don't have to tell me everything. As an author, I love a short. I love a novel too, but today is short day, and in celebration I am giving away copies of my collection, A Little Short For An Alien, in which you will find less literary ladies and tigers and more goofy aliens and space bars. But I still hope you enjoy it. It's fun, at the very least.
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*making guinea pig noises*