1. barak
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    barak New Member

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    A question :)

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by barak, Sep 10, 2011.

    HI, i have a question.
    If i want to write a novel or just start writing generally, Should i start writing a short stories first? or should i start with my novel?
    How did you started?

    Thanks, barak :
     
  2. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    Write what you want. Don't go round looking to get second opinions on what you should start with. What do you want to write? If you have the idea for a novel, write a novel. If you've got ideas for short stories, write short stories. The main thing is that you write. But do bear in mind that the two are very different disciplines. If you aren't used to reading short stories and spend your time reading novels, you'd be more suited to writing novels, and the same is true in reverse.

    Now what are you waiting for? Write!
     
  3. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Dante, just write.
     
  4. JackElliott
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    JackElliott Senior Member

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    I got started writing poetry, then 200-ish word slice of life pieces, then longish short stories (5k words), then novellas (25k - 30k) and that is where I am at right now.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Starting with short stories allows you to develop your writing skills on complete stories without committing to months to finish each one. If your ultimate goal is a novel, there are things you will not learn from writing short stories alone, but there is a lot you can learn without committing to a huge project.

    Besides, you might discover you really like writing short stories too.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that!
     
  7. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Write whatever you like.

    I would point out, though, that short stories aren't simply "novels in miniature". It's a completely different art.

    Not to say that it doesn't use the same general writing skills, but the construction of a short story differs drastically from the construction of a novel.
     
  8. Blackgamen
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    Blackgamen Member

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    Short stories can easily become full length novels. Write what you want to write and if you want to, expand on it.
     
  9. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^
    Not sure about that. They are quite different, in scope.
     
  10. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes. I (possibly like many of us) have written both and, once past the basic skills, they hold very different challenges. Having written several novel-length stories and even more short stories, I frankly prefer novels. They allow me to get more complicated, more in-depth, and also allow me to go off on short 'jaunts' at various times. Short stories don't allow me those luxuries - they have to be 'cleaner', more disciplined, and yet draw the reader just as cleverly as the novel. I've probably pulled more hair out over my short stories than any of my longer works.
     
  11. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Write the story that comes to you. It will decide how long it wants to be. You just have to write.

    Cheers.
     
  12. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have never written a short story or anything else shorter than a novel (since the first years of school) and even as a teen I wrote endless novels so I have really no idea: what exactly is the difference technique-wise between writing short stories and novels?
     
  13. Batgoat
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    Batgoat Senior Member

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    How long have you got? This could take a while... *deep breath*
     
  14. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    Fundamentally, the difference lies in being able to make every word count. It needs to carry more meaning. In effect, you trim the narrative fat. I'm not saying you have to adopt a minimalist approach or anything like that, but you can't go round spending a page just describing a scene, as a rule. Every sentence needs to advance the action in some way, so there's no dwelling on fleshing out a world. Do some reading round. See how some novelists you know approach short fiction. If you're like me, you may find some people who write short fiction in a style you like, but write novels in a style you don't (Alastair Reynolds, take a bow).
     
  15. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks for explaining. I haven't much thought of it since I have always been into novel-writing since the day I started writing. Are the themes for short stories different too, I mean, do you have to think differently when choosing what to write about? I guess it's more of a specific event or emotion rather than like in a novel: a whole series of events leading up to something else, am I right? what about character development? is there any in short stories?
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Short stories typically need to keep a tight focus on one storyline, whereas novels usually have several intertwined storylines that all support the principal storyline.

    Short stories usually have to be tighter in regards to eliminating waste. You cannot sacrifice development for richness of description, for example, so in that sense, novel writing can be a bit looser. However, if you have learned to write short stories crisply, it will make you a better novel writer. On the other hand, writing short stories will not prepare you for constructing the complex interactions between different storylines and characters you are more likely to generate in a novel.
     
  17. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Short stories require much more focus than a novel. A novel can sprawl, in a way, but a short story can't. A short story can have a big theme, but not a big scale. When I first tried writing short stories, I just thought they needed fewer events than a novel, but every time I tried, the story kept growing to possibly novella length.

    I realized that, for me at least, VERY LITTLE actually happens in a short story. That doesn't mean it's boring; it just means that if I want any kind of depth, I have to restrict the idea for the story to something very simple, very quick. A short story is not a novel summarized in ten pages. It's a small but beautiful and fascinating gem.

    I once read an anecdote about a writer who had written a short story and wanted to write a novel. "Well," he thought, "A novel is ten times as long as a short story, and my short story is twelve pages long, so for a novel I need to write 120 pages." So he just put ten times as many scenes, ten times as many events, into his novel, and wound up with a 120-page manuscript. He showed it to a friend. "Gee," the friend said. "Sure is long."

    So the writer thought about that and realized that a novel isn't about more events, it's about more depth. He rewrote his story, cutting out the excess scenes and events, but going into the important ones with more detail and care and thematic power, and wound up with a 300-page manuscript. He showed to to the friend. "Way better," the friend said. "A lot shorter, too."

    I think there's a lesson in that.
     
  18. Dithnir
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    Dithnir Member

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    If you're truly beginning as a writer, read widely. If you're well read in a genre, break out of it. Also, write about yourself and your own experiences. Try to capture things that you have direct and personal knowledge of, to learn how to make those descriptions compelling, technically correct and perhaps quirky or insightful as a bonus.

    If something's happened to you that's exciting, try to render that excitement.

    The most instructive thing I ever did as a writer was, thanks to my creative writing degree, read literary fiction...then read books i would never otherwise have chosen that are considered modern classics.

    Every single time I have done so I've found amazing stories way out of my comfort zone, whether it be Proulx's The Shipping News or Thomas Pynchon's V.

    Read across genres, see just how much 'style' there is out there.

    What it gave me was a great dissatisfaction with my own work, the stolid ordinariness of it, so I was compelled to experiment, to try things out, try out styles, push myself.
     

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