Wednesday, December 9, 2009

An Abbreviated Life

So, I’ve recently begun a love affair. It’s all-consuming, exciting and quite frankly, I doubt if it will taper off for a long time.

Got your attention yet?

Well, while you remove your minds from the gutter, I’ll let you know what I’m alluding to. Writing abbreviated stories—shorts or novellas specifically.

Actually, I just love to write. Period. For me, it’s exciting to create new worlds, new characters, new situations and trouble I can put them in and allow them to find their way out of. In this respect, I’m very manipulating and I love it. Insert maniacal laughter here.

I love full lengths because it allows me to explore every aspect of my characters’ lives, but sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming for the reader and writer alike.

I love shorts because it allows me to write a tiny segment or fraction of a character’s life as if I’m looking into a window. Think of it as the conflict of the moment. It’s great for a reader because it’s quick, to the point and satisfying.

Ah, and here’s the point of this post. I’m thinking my favorite right now is writing somewhere in the middle. The novella. In between in word count, I have enough meat to dig my teeth into my characters and enough scenes to provide interest, scope, nice love scenes, etc. To me, this is the perfect length. Which is probably why I plan a lot of my books to be this length. It’s comfortable as a great pair of jeans and I feel like it’s a good value for the money.

Oh, but don’t worry. A good chunk of my 2010 is reserved for writing a few full length books. Why? These stories need to be told and I can’t do them justice in shorter fiction.

So, because we’re rapidly coming to the end of the year and new resolutions are getting ready to take hold, I’d like to know what you, the reader, wants to see from a writer. What’s your favorite “go to” length of book? What do you prefer?

And the second question. What’s a genre, situation, character study you’d like to read more of in 2010? If you ask for it, I’ll certainly try to write it. For those who know me best, I won’t back away from a challenge and will tackle it with determination until it’s right--or I nearly die trying to get it there. ;-)

Bring on your questions, comments and theories and I’ll do my best to get it written for you in the new year!


Lynn Romaine said...

Good blog, Sandra - I thought I'd stop by and express my view point - I only read full length, never short stories or novelettes - just my preference - the longer, the better for me. I also don't read paranormal - not sure why except I can't seem to get interested in them - I'm an odd ball who didn't even like Harry Potter or Stephanie Myers books - I prefer gritty contemporary, down and dirty suspense. I do like good writing though, and your blog is very well written. Lynn

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lynn. That's the point of a blog, actually, to showcase a writing style, etc. :-)

As an author, I love writing in all genres and do like writing full length fiction. I invite you to check out some of my contemporary books :-)

Have a great day!

Dianne Hemming said...

So true... I love short stories , with 2 grand kids at home now.. I grab time to read whenever I can, Unfortunately they seem as scarce as hens teeth these days.. I will read just about anything, and paranormal seems to be the ones I read most.,with historical and contemporary thrown in the mix..eclectic yes... I started reading Gothic Romances ages ago and am glad that they have had a return...
Merry Christmas and Merry Yule

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks for stopping by, Dianne! I'm glad shorter fiction is something you're interested in :-)

Happy holidays!

Ashley said...

Right on Sandi!

I'm working on a full length, but when I need a breather, yeah short is the best way to go. You get everything a full length can offer with half as many pages.

Stephen King wrote that he started out as a short story author and it was there that he got his "big break" and moved on to full length. He has now gone back to his roots although The Dome isn't short by any means, he has taken authors "under his wings" and begun to write short stories again.

I wonder if we can be one of his "under his wing" authors LOL!!!

Merry Christmas,


Liena Ferror said...

I find writing a shorter story more to my liking than a full length. You are right, Sandi. You can still delve into the meat of the story and have some good love scenes.

Great post and best of luck with your 2010 endeavors.


P.L. Parker said...

I hardly ever read shorter length. I like the long stories, and if they're good, the longer the better.

Enjoyed the post.

Author GE Stills said...

Hi Sandra
Just a personal preference but I like novella length stories. I can read them in one sitting and yet they allow the characters to evolve. Full length I have to read in installments because of other things in life that vie for attention. (Eating and sleeping are two of them lol) I sometimes find myself saying. “Okay enough build-up get to the climax.” Lol A lot depends on the author though and if there is action spread throughout the story. I’m not a fast reader but instead I like to savor the story.
Novella length is just right for me. Long enough for the story to unfold and for a picture of the characters to form in my mind and yet short enough to read in one installment.
Short stories are great if you are pressed for time but still want to get a quick read in. I enjoy them too but sometimes find myself wanting to read more.
So the long and the short of this comment I guess, is that I enjoy them all. (chuckle) Write on, with a mix of all three. I think that is the answer.
Happy holidays to all.
GE Stills

Annie Nicholas said...

Okay Sandi *rubs hands together*

I have a tall order.
I love long, drawn out series that will take me lifetime to read. The bigger the better. With lots and lots of plot twist and suspense. I don't have a problem taking a month to read a book as long as the story's good.

What would I love to see more of?
Historicals based in other places than Europe or America.

My dream book to read at the moment would be a historical paranormal in the orient with a Geisha as the main heroine. First pov please.
I'd be your reading slave if you wrote that for me. :)

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks Ashley. I think the reason I do write novellas is to give my brain a break between full lengths.


P.L.--different strokes for readers, right? :-) Good thing I like to write all lengths.

GE--thanks for stopping by and I'm glad novellas are the preferred length for your reading pleasure. Spread the word! LOL

Annie--wow, that's a huge order! While I'm comfortable writing historicals, at present I set most of them in Indianapolis because it has a fascinating history. Your idea does have merit. I'll let it perk at the back of my brain for a bit ;-)

Rebecca Royce said...

Whatever you write, its always fabulous.

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks Rebecca. You have no idea how much I needed to hear that today.

StephB said...

Sandi, great post. I enjoy novels and my #1 preference is historicals. I like paranormals, but I'm picky about my paranormals. My #2 is contemporary. I'm picky with my westerns.

The novella. As a reviewer, I much prefer reading the novellas and short stories because of the length.

Truthfully though, I'll read any length, novels, novellas, and short stories. I enjoy writing short stories because of the length - they're short.

I've got your Not Just Make Believe on my list to read and I'm looking forward to it.


J Hali said...

Sandi, the short of it, the middle of it, the long of it - you write it, most likely I'm reading it.

I must add, though, that since I've been reading mostly ebooks now, I much prefer 50K and less. Don't know why. I've not read a paperback in a couple months and the last one was only about 200 pages. I don't know what that equates to in words but, I liked it and was glad it wasn't longer.

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks Steph! I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks Joann. :-) I'm glad you enjoy what I write

Mary Ricksen said...

Love stories still thrill us. Write on Sandra!!
good luck too!!

Lynne Roberts said...

I like all lengths... It depends on the circumstances. There are times I want a quick trip into fiction-land, other times, I want an extended vacation.

And as to the second question: Romance is always a go for me.


Rae Lori said...

Happy writing, Sandi! I say write whatever your heart desires and it will surely come out a winner. :-) I love a great story no matter how it's told as long as it tells it well and engages me. I'm currently in a short story, novella rotation myself and I so agree it's much more fun to write especially when one needs a break from writing the longer stories!

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

Hey Sandi

I personally prefer the long ones, and like Annie, the longer the better. I can read a HQ category in like 2 hours, and thus shorter works make me want to finish it in one sitting and then everything else goes on the wayside. I don't have that temptation with longer books coz I know I won't finsih them in one sitting. Longer works ground me.
As for writing, I cannot write short even if you killed me! I so prefer to draw out the conflicts rather than have one single conflict of the moment. Long works also give me better scope to present my characters and my world.
But then too, to each her own. You seem to have found your stride in all lengths though - kudos!



Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by :-) Guess I'll keep writing whatever my muse tells me.