This is a legitimate question you filthy minded reprobates.

The tennis has started at Wimbledon under clear skies and the talk could be centred around what to drink but for me, no, I’m talking about words.

Do you prefer the shorter story, with its promise of little effort and almost immediate gratification, or would you rather dig in for the long haul with a longer story, filled with its involved and twisting journey?

I enjoy reading both but I also enjoy writing both, but for different reasons.

I’ve written a novel, The Circle of Fire, so I’ve had a good go at the longer game but I’ve also created a stock of shorter stories, some of which have been published on here. I’ve found that the two formats have given me different challenges.

The novel length story requires a great deal more planning and means that you don’t tend to start writing for some time, instead filling page after page with pertinent research. As I abhor the planning phase and would much rather just get to buckling some swash, it means that I have to concentrate even harder to get myself set before I start. But on the other hand they do allow you the greater chance to keep the story fluid until you actually get there, making alterations as the narrative dictates as you travel along. In driving parlance, the difference between planning a route and then sitting in a traffic jam for five hours or taking a minor road that runs parallel which cuts out the wait. Same destination but slight change when needed.

The short story gets up and running fast and can be done almost before you’ve got your feet under the table. The nasty little effort which is the six word story “For sale. Child’s cot. Never used” is a startlingly awful proof that hundreds of thousands of words describing everything aren’t always needed to engage the reader. The shorter effort can also give the writer the chance to focus on a topic for a single point and then let it go. You don’t have to flesh the story to the nth degree to create the entire world, instead relying on the much smaller bubble you’re looking at.

I’ve enjoyed writing the short ones and I’ve enjoyed the chance to work on the long ones as well. I have a stock of ideas for novels that I’m always poking at ready to actually start writing and I enjoy just kicking little snippets of a plan about for a single point.

Both formats allow me to examine ideas in different ways and they give me the chance to do all manner of things without getting bogged down in one thing in particular.

The next short story will be coming soon on here.


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