I say fresh, as I've had David visit before, but last time it was for his collection of short stories, and this time, he has released a NOVEL. So you see... he's FRESH. Fingerman's collection of short, speculative fiction got some great reviews, and his novel, Silent Kill, looks pretty darned scary—you know how I like scary stuff.
So I welcome David today to tell us a little about some of the key DIFFERENCES between writing short stories and novels. So welcome, David!
For those of you who have checked out my website, you know that I've been writing short stories for quite some time. It wasn't until I left my job and started writing full time that I attempted to write a novel. One question that I get asked frequently, well, not frequently but at least a few times, is which do I like writing more, the short story or the novel? Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Obviously, the short story doesn't take nearly as long to write (or at least shouldn't). One of my favorite things about writing the short story is that by the time I'm starting to get sick of it, I'm done. That being said, I have talked to writers who tell me they can't write a short story ~ too confining. It's true that you don't have the space to waste words, but isn't that true for a novel also? The biggest disadvantage I find writing short pieces is that there is so much more I want to tell. You can only go into your character's past or psyche so far. You can only describe a setting to the essentials. There is credence to the cliché ~ every word is important. One tip that I like to give writers wanting to write short stories. If there's an exact word count, keep it in the back of your mind while writing but don't worry about going past. When you're done with the first draft the fun starts ~ editing. As big a pain as it is (for me, anyway), by the time you chop enough words off your masterpiece to meet the word limit, you should find your sentences tighter and making every word count.
So, which is preferable? For me it depends on my mood. I've got a file folder loaded with scraps of paper, each with story ideas. Some are for novels, others for short stories. If I'm working on a novel and get blocked, I jump into a short story. If I'm working on a short story and in the mood to expand, I switch to novel. All-in-all, I just blathered on to say do whatever feels right. As long as you're writing, it's all good.