N is for Novel

I’ve heard some writers suggest to new, unpublished writers that the newbee should write short stories. Their point is by writing short stories the new writer learns how to put together a story idea from beginning to end, hopefully won’t be discouraged by the length or by any rejections, and might have their work noticed by agents or editors. Those are all good ideas, IF…

IF the writer wants to write short stories and likes that shorter format, I think that’s great. But not all writers are programmed for short stories. I’ve written a few and had a couple published, but it’s the novel that appeals to me. It’s the novel that has enough breath to develop the ideas bouncing around in my head. Often, even when I start out wanting to write a short story, I find I have to abandon that idea because the story itself keeps growing until it’s outgrown the short story format.

I get upset when I hear others tell a new writer he should—or must—write short stories before graduating to novels. If that’s what they want to do, fine. If not, there’s no rule that says one must or that you won’t succeed unless you do.

I like reading novels. The longer book allows me a chance to get to know the characters, and live in that world for a period of time. Writing the novel, I’m able to show many sides to my characters, include others in the story (friends, family, and enemies), and develop the setting. With a novel I can have more than one story line, be it separate from or entwined with the main story line. A novel is a tapestry; a short story a throw rug.

I also like reading blogs, so I’m off to read a few. A-to-Z Blogging Challenge


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9 Responses to N is for Novel

  1. Wendy says:

    I’m not a creative writer, but the advice to write something other than what you want to write strikes me as just wrong.
    ~Visiting from AtoZ

    • Maris Soule says:

      Wendy, that’s exactly how I feel. Sure, if you enjoy writing short stories and have some good story ideas, that is a way to get publishing credits and maybe even get an editor interested. But to simply do so because you think that will get you noticed, is not the right way to go.

  2. ann bennett says:

    I’m glad I came across your blog. Lots of good horse sense is here.
    I am in total agreement in people writing what they are interested in. When I taught school, kids would discuss what they should do in the future and the only advice I ever gave is try to choose something you have a natural inclination to do.
    Age gives wisdom most of the time. lol, I can still do a doozie. But, I have known people having frustrating careers because they chose the wrong thing.

  3. emilia m. says:

    …and for now I just will be dreaming of writing, as even though the ideas are buzzing, the fear is greater than all…

    • Maris Soule says:

      Emilia, don’t let fear stop you. Write first for you. Write what you feel like writing. Don’t worry about others liking it or if you could get it published. Play with those dreams and the ideas that are buzzing. Who knows, those ideas may take flight on their own.

  4. You rock, Maris. Tell it like it is.