1. Masli
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    Masli Member

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    forms of stories

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Masli, Oct 25, 2010.

    Hmm hi,

    Sorry if this has been asked before (I did check the search function first though), or if this should have been posted in a different section...

    After reading many of these very intersting threads that you all have up here, I came across many different terms for stories...

    like Novel, novelle, short stories etc.

    If I'm not mistaken the main difference is the length of the story?

    Is that correct, or are there more differences? And how important is it to label your story with one of these terms?
     
  2. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    The only real importance is who you're marketing it to. Obviously you would not send a novel to a magazine asking for short stories, but if you've got a novella or a longer short story, it's worth looking up specifics before you send it to anyone direct for publishing.

    Obviously there are stylistic differences too... A novel constructed like a short story is going to be a headache to read, while a short story constructed like a novel will feel way too crammed with info, and the structure will feel weird too, since a novel has so many more stages to the story telling.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's very important to know what to call what you're writing, if you don't want to be seen as a clueless amateur... here's the skinny on size/labels:

     
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  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If you're interested in novellas, there's some interesting theory there. It's not just a question of length, and there are definite substantive differences between a novella and short novel, even though the lengths may be very similar (at least, that is my understanding).

    I wish I could remember what I read on the theory of the novella, but it was quite long ago. If I can think of the reference I will provide it.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Ah, well...I just did a quick look through some of my materials and I can't find it. I may not even have a copy any longer. At any rate, it was an interesting literary analysis of the novella, and it traced how they differ from novels in terms of form - everything from how the author handles characters to how she handles theme, plot, etc.

    It was interesting, and a surprise to me when I read it some years ago as before that I was under the impression that a novella was simply a short novel.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't like to place too much importance on the differences some literary theorists may make between "novellas" and "short novels" and "long stories". You can go nuts assigning labels and categories to things, to the point where the labels are useless. I think distinguishing based on length alone is enough. Mammamaia's list above is good enough, though I don't know why it puts an upper limit to the length of a novel. There have been many notable novels that are much longer than 150,000 words.
     
  7. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Short stories rarely have more than three characters, and usually contain one main plot. If possibile, you might find a very small subplot in a short story as well. But it's not easy.

    Novellas, novels have more of everything: characters, subplots, and words :D

    And Flash Fiction? Anything you can cram in with 1000 words or less. These tend to be just as hard to write as novels, if not more. (Try writing a 100 word story. Not easy!)
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Most modern-day publishers probably don't recognize any difference other than size. Still, it was interesting to read the differences in form from someone who wrote in each of the varied forms. I want to say it was Nabokov's writings on the novella that I am thinking of, but I can't remember for certain, and I while I have a book of Nabokov's essays and literary criticism, I have no idea where it is hiding itself at the moment :D
     
  9. Masli
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    Masli Member

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    Thank you all so much for you (fast) replies. This really clears things up for me!
     

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