1. Moneica
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    Moneica Member

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    The difference in a short story, long story, ect?????

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Moneica, Apr 4, 2014.

    Ok,, I've been working on my book as I call it, for the past 8 months. So far I have 24,558 words. And its not even close to being done, not even half. Is there kind of a set stander to what makes something a short story, long story, ect....This is all so new to me, I feel like I need a writers for dummies class. And I really don't know what I should call it. Someone told me the other day, well if you are writing it, you should know.
    And that got me to thinking. Hmm, should I know? Maybe this flying by the seat of my britches I got going on, might not be a good thing. Maybe I need to learn more on the general basics of writing. You know its kind of like I sit down and made a list,

    Idea for story, check.
    Program to write it on, check.
    Start writing, check.

    and that's as far as my list goes. I have no other clue as to what the hell I'm doing. I sit and read others posts and responses and think, OMG, Moe you are so out of your league here its not even funny. But then that little voice in the back of mind pops out and says, You have to start somewhere, or it will never get done. So maybe if I start with knowing the difference in a short story, long story, ect.. Maybe, just maybe one of these days I can call myself a writer. But as for now, I am calling myself someone who inspires to be a writer!
    hugs to all
    Moe
     
  2. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Length definitions are a little fuzzy and vary depend on who you ask.
    You're over 10,000 words which means you're not writing a short story.
    You're over 20,000 words which means you're not writing a novlette.
    It looks like you might be passing 50,000 words which means you're not writing a novella. It seems like you're going to end up writing a novel, though possibly something towards the short end of that definition seeing as they average around 100,000.
    It feels like there is a lot to learn about writing to start with. At least to start with you can learn stuff pretty quickly.
    There's various ways to learn and there's been endless debates on this forum on the best way to learn. Your options which can mix and match depending on your budget and learning style include:
    Reading lots and taking notes on how published authors achieve various effects.
    Reading books about the craft of writing.
    Participating in forums.
    Participating in the workshop on this forum.
    Find the various blogs on writing that published writers have created.
    Enrolling
     
  3. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Oops my daughter hit the post reply button and I can't edit posts on my phone. I'll carry on here.

    Enrolling in fiction writing classes either in your local area if available or online.
    Most importantly do lots and lots of writing. Practice is needed if you are to become good.
     
  4. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    I had a quick search on Google and found opinion varies in regard to length, so I can't say with any certainty. It seems a short is deemed anything under 7,500, a novel, anywhere from from 40,000/50,000 - 110,000.

    I started out writing short stories. At least, that's what I thought they were but since they averaged out at around 15,000 - 17,500 words, it seems they actually fall into the novelette category. I was/am nowhere near the point of thinking about publication and just as well, as I've read that novelettes are hard to push as the word count is deemed too high for insertion into many publications. Aside from that, I always found the low word count a restriction.

    As for not knowing what you are doing, join the club. :D I'd say many of us started off feeling as you do now.

    So, from what you say above, if you double what you already have, (you say you are not even half finished) you'll be bang on target for the lower reaches of novel length.

    But, that said... a lot can change with redrafting and editing. Some write in more skeletal form and embellish after the fact, some go about it the other way around by writing reams and then selectively editing out the bits they deem too much. Word count can change quite dramatically by the final draft.

    As for feeling like you know nothing, don't worry about it. For me, the steep initial learning curve was a bit off putting but learning the ins and outs and applying them to my work has been, well... fun. I don't think I expected how much.

    The things I've found most helpful so far, (I'm a beginner, too) have been looking into POV, getting rid of redundancies and repetition, eliminating filters—simple ideas and concepts that do a lot to improve readability. Hang around here long enough and you'll end up with more info than you know what to do with... then comes the figuring out how to apply what you've learned to your own work, in order to make it shine.

    You've been dabbling in critiquing already. I've found it a really useful tool. By learning to spot problem areas in others' work, I'm starting to identify problems in my own, things I was completely blind to, to start with.

    You have a small body of text under your belt already, which is something. Some start out with ideas that never make it onto a page because they want all the 'i's dotted and the 't's crossed beforehand. It's been my experience that there's a lot of trial and error involved and sometimes it can feel a bit disheartening but when something clicks, there's no feeling like it. Just keep learning and writing and all else will become apparent in the fulness of time. ;)
     
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  5. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Hey there, @Moneica,

    Let me throw my hat in here. As far as your initial question goes, I'm sure you'll be able to drum up a consensus after some time on Google. The lines do vary, but not by too much, too my knowledge. I'm sure someone will be along here who can provide more definite clarity (if something definitive can be found).

    As for the rest, you are not alone. I know joining this forum and reading other people's comments can make being a writer seem like a daunting, difficult task. I'll be honest with you. It is/can be. The reasons are many, but one of the chief reasons is that we all come into it not knowing that we don't know things. Then of course, the more we learn, the more we realize we have yet to learn. At some point we just want to throw our hands up like, "what am I really doing? Am I serious or not? Do I even care to learn this? Who am I kidding I want to write my story, but where do I start? ..."

    The good news is, everyone has their beginning, the moment they start asking questions and looking for answers and learning what they never knew they never knew. This forum is full of writers at various different and experience levels. Some have been published, some are just beginnin, and many of us are floating in between learning and writing and learning some more.

    I personally started out as a total know-nothing. Now, I'm a far cry from the best writer, and I could stand to learn quite a bit, but I'm a know-something. That's what counts most to me. I'm better off than where I started. It all started when I decided to ask questions.

    Believe me, the disillusionment process can be a blow, but it can also be such a push. Keep writing, keep asking questions. Learn what you don't know, and uncover what you don't know you don't know. (ha ha ha ha now I'm being silly because it's late :rolleyes:) This is a great place for anyone who wants to learn and be involved with great people. Stick around and get involved.

    And one word of advice: Now that you realize you have things to learn, don't shy away from asking or put yourself down for having to ask. Like you said, we all start somewhere. It doesn't matter where that is, or even where we end up, but that we keep moving....

    Bon Chance, Madame,

    Andrae :cool:
     
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  6. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    lol... Oh, yeah... I can completely relate to this. It's the stuff I don't realise I don't know that bites me in the ass every time. ;)
     
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  7. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    I only emphasize it now because it just bit me in the @$$ recently ha ha
     
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  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    dear moe...
    for the adult market, most publishers want 80-100k words for a first novel by an unknown new writer... fewer than 80k or much more than 100k will lessen your chances of interesting either agents or publishers...

    if you're writing for YA, 40k is the most common length for the younger half of that market and 80-100 is ok for the upper half...

    best of luck with your writing... and congrats on getting off to a running start!... if mentoring would help, i'm only a mouse click away...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  9. Moneica
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    Moneica Member

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    I love to read, and I have read some of my favorites over 8 times each. My husband can't understand how I can read the same book over and over again. But what I do know about writing, I've learned from reading them books over and over again.
    Participating in this forum is a for sure must. I love it here. I have learned so much already. It has become my home away from home so to say. And I will definitely get involved in the workshop.
    As for enrolling in fiction writing classes, it would be online cause there is nothing like that around here. But I will check into it for sure.
    And thank you Plothog, now I understand short, long, ect... alot better.

    I'm glad I'm not alone in feeling like I don't know what I'm doing:rolleyes: It can be a lot to take in at times.
    And you are 100% right it has been a lot of fun for me so far, more than I expected.
    Now comes one of the stupid questions, what is POV?
    I am for sure going to hang around here, you all are stuck with me now.;)
    And yes dabbling in critiquing I have found really useful too. I don't get as technical as some, but I think I'm learning it all in baby steps.
    And once again thank you obsidian_cicatrix for the help:D
     
  10. Moneica
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    Moneica Member

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    That is exactly the way I have felt at times. And your right, the more I learn the more I find I need to learn a lot more.

    Well, one of the things I was told "In life the only stupid question really, is the one that's not asked." Oh goodness, now I sound like my third grade teacher..haha
    But the advice you have given me has been very helpful, and thank you so much Andrea from the bottom of my heart.

    To each and everyone of you that has responded, thank you so so much!
     
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  11. Moneica
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    Moneica Member

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    maia,
    Yes mentoring would be a great help, thank you so so so much for offering.
    I am better understand all this already and can not wait to learn more and more.
    thank you again
    Hugs
    Moe
     
  12. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    "In life the only stupid question really, is the one that's not asked."

    Ahem. ;) You were saying?

    POV refers to Point of View. Is your story in First Person, i.e. is your narrator the main character and everything that goes on is seen through his/her lens? (I did this, I did that.) Or perhaps you've chosen Third Person. (He did this, she did that.)

    Third is the most common POV used in fiction. From my own perspective, I found it a very natural writing style to fall into. It's flexible. Omniscience, (it's the information the narrator and reader are privy to) can be limited or unlimited, depending on how you want to present the information.

    There are pro and cons to each. For example, First person limits the writer because it is only possible to write about what the narrator is experiencing, whereas Third offers the opportunity to get involved with more than one character. First is reliant on one clear cut internal voice, Third forces a writer to create several.

    What it all comes down to, is which serves your purpose best. There are several decent articles if you do an online search, all pretty much saying the same thing, although differently worded. I read 'em all.

    I always set some time aside from working on my WIP, (Work in Progress) to dabble and experiment, whether it be returning to an older short story and applying something I've recently learned, or perhaps writing a spare of the moment piece of flash fiction (anything from 100 - 1000 words) in First, precisely because it doesn't come naturally to me. It's good to expand one's horizons now and again.

    Me, I think I'm over the hump. I'm past the point where I'm like a baby hauling myself up onto my feet by clenching my chubby fists. I'm now a toddler, boldly stepping out, although I'm still really clumsy and prone to falling on my ass a lot. Your baby step analogy is spot on. :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2014
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  13. Moneica
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    Moneica Member

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    I honestly think I'm writing in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person.. Like one of the parts I have finished goes like this.

    We pull up in front of the broken light pole, neither one of us has uttered a word sense leaving the lake.
    My stomach has twisted into one big knot.
    Danny turns off the car and leans back against the seat.
    After a moment he sighs heavily.
    “Ashley?” Danny shifts his body to where he is facing me.
    I continue to stair eyes front, not wanting to look at him.
    I know if I do the tears will come rushing and I won’t be able to stop them.

    That's the beginning of the third chapter. So would that be considered writing in the 1st person? This is some of what confuses me.
     
  14. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Yup... you are writing in first person, present tense.
     
  15. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    Moe,
    Just to make you feel a little better, I found myself in much the same situation as you when I first started out writing... it does certainly start to get easier, see the two novels in my signature? Those are the accumulation of time, patience and a good kick up the backside when I needed it.

    Certainly you wont get it right first time, and I can vouch for that with a couple of rather disastrous attempts that have have been. Shelved for future efforts

    As for not having a clue, I have veen wtiting on and off for the past decade (and yes im 20) and I still have no idea what to do...
     
  16. Moneica
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    Moneica Member

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    Ok, thats a good thing to know!:)
     
  17. Moneica
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    Moneica Member

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    Well thank you for your words of encouragement. I know that with anything, when you first start is when itsthe hardest. And I am sure I am going to hafta have a few of them kicks on my backside. So all of get your boots on and get ready..haha

    I have 11 chapters written so far, and I know when I start putting them in the workshop there will be tons of mistakes in em. But I am ready to make this dream a reality.
     

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