1. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Novelist vs short story author?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by peachalulu, Aug 7, 2014.

    Is it possible to be both or do you think some are better at one or the other. I'm starting to wonder if I'm not better at short stories than novels. Or maybe I just need to shorten my novels - go for the Chuck Palahniuk length.
    Maybe I'm overthinking it.
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Of course it's possible to be good at both. Granted, it's very hard, and writers are usually better at one than the other. But there are always exceptions, like Hemingway.
     
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  3. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I think most writers should be able to do both. I think of the two as being like building a canoe in your garage or building a ship in a bottle. It's a different process, but you end up with a boat either way.
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's possible to do both as there is some crossover of skills and techniques. The structure including, pacing, plot lines, characterization are different when comparing the two.
     
  5. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    And you think that most people can do both?

    I believe that writers begin their "journey" by experimenting with both, even if one is experimented with much later. But in the end, every writer will be able to know which they are good at, or at least better at. Some, as has been said already, can do both very well. Some can only manage one of the two processes; and some realise they can do both, but one is more painless than the other - in the end, a ship in a bottle can seem so much more pleasing and easier to make than crafting an entire canoe (or the other way around). And besides, they require completely different skills. It is unfair to say that people should be able to do both - some clearly cannot, and that's all right. :)
     
  6. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    No, that's not what I meant. I should have said that I think most writers could do both. No obligation. It seems to me that if you can write a good short story, you could also write a serviceable novel. It is a different process, but in the end, writing is writing. That's why I disagree with many here about the inadvisability of writing out of one's genre and especially the habit of throwing all spelling and grammar rules out the window when penning a forum post (or a grocery list, for that matter). It's all practice.

    There's no way to know if you can build a proper canoe until you toss it in the lake.
     
  7. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's a fantastic aspect of self publishing: your story doesn't have to fit into specific length guidelines. I'm learning that I simply can't add enough relevant content to any of my stories to get over 80K words. After planning, I find that I always fit more into a 30-50k range.

    It might also be more likely that one finishes novella/shorter story, @peachalulu :agreed:. It's what I'm hoping for, anyway; I'm tired of shelving the big stuff.
     
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  8. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I agree in that writing is writing and therefore - in theory - a writer should be able to write both short stories or novels but for me, it depends on if the writer wants to ...

    A number of years ago (before I began seriously writing) I had a conversation with a chap about writing out of my comfort zone. I told him that I wanted to write a story that included a character working in a stable but I knew nothing about stables and very little about horses, (I rode horses as a child but that's the extent of my hands-on knowledge). This guy basically said, "forget about only writing what you know, if there's something you don't know, make it your business to find out as much as you can, any way you can."

    A good writer who is also a good researcher will be able to write about practically anything (from a fiction point of view) and make it seem believable. Writing out of genre is like writing what you don't know, if you don't know it, go find out about it. Gone are the days of sitting in the library reading through reference books, yes, they are still a good place to start but with computers, smart phones, tablets and a connection to the web, you quite literally have the world at your fingertips.

    I also agree about the grammar/spelling/punctuation in online posts, be it forum posts, Facebook posts or even text messages to my kids (especially when I reply to their text with a copy of their corrected message he he he) yes I make mistakes in my posts, who doesn't? but I still endeavour to make sure they are correct and written in full English as opposed to text speak.
     
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  9. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Just a misunderstanding, then. :)
     
  10. davidharper
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    davidharper New Member

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    It depends on the writer choice.
     

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