I received a lovely little comment on my post last week about considering how to move forward with my writing projects from someone calling themselves a first time reader of my work. As tends to be the case with the comments that people leave on my blog, it got me thinking, got my wheels turning, and ultimately caused me to through out a large portion of my thesis from that article.
You see, I had come to the conclusion that zombie novels were the craze, possibly due, in part, to the fact that I have a few zombie author friends who seem to posts countless links to other zombie books, not to mention the fact that I’ve had at least one zombiephile find Daddy of the Dead through some unknown means….
But, as always, I wasn’t necessarily seeing the entire picture. A picture, interestingly enough, that I’ve painted for myself in the past, but have since forgotten to view.
You see, I’ve long theorized the return of the short story. The idea that something that takes less than a week to read might appeal to readers of today, might actually bring more people back into reading, seemed like a pretty smart idea to me. I mean, I myself tend to cringe when I pick up a book and realize that it’s going to be quite a while before I ever get to the end of it. It’s not that I fear words, but I definitely fear getting myself too deeply involved in something that could definitely be utter crap. Take any John Irving novel, for example…Okay, we all know that it probably won’t be crap, but it will be long, deeply involved, and ultimately, could really lose us as an audience for large portions of the text, even if it is brilliant.
But I dropped the idea of the short story, for the most part, as it very difficult to get a compelling narrative shoved within the small framework of a short story. Just read a few short story collections (as I have done lately), and you’ll find that most short stories devolve quickly into detailed character developments with very little else that can happen.
One of the main reasons that Daddy of the Dead ended up being so much longer than its original target was simply because I couldn’t quite get the feeling that there was any real separation between father and daughter in the short space 8000 words allow. Trying to develop a scene and the emotions necessary for that story took much more time to do in a way that I felt was effective.
In the end, short stories, although fun, hardly work as an alternative to the novel, because they really just can’t quite compare.
However, although I actually now have a novella under my belt, and personally appreciate it due to the fact that it’s a quick couple hour read, I have somehow looked over the format completely in my attempts to predict the future of storytelling. Sure, you’re not going to get any sprawling epics fitted into 30,000 words (or 100 pages for those of you not word-count friendly). But it’s about perfect for a single simple story, something that has heart and emotion and actually does something.
And…quite possibly, could be the true reason that Daddy of the Dead does so well on promotional days than Agora Files (or others). Agora Files does has something more of that sprawling epicness to it, a story told in three acts, each act being a book of it’s own, taking place over the entirety of the Unites States (and a part of Canada)…it’s huge.
Daddy, on the other hand, is a perfect little read for those who don’t want to get too deeply involved in something, especially if that something doesn’t have all the books released yet. Daddy is a taste of something, the taste is great, it’s pretty filling, but might leave you wanting a little bit more. Agora Files is a feast that you can’t stop eating.
The people of today are much more of the snacking type…perhaps I’ll have to look into ways to work with the novella format more as time continues. Obviously it worked quite well for Daddy and could lend itself well to other books in that world, but it might also have a place in some of the other stories I have coming up.
And here I was thinking that no one even liked novellas…
Alright, I’ve gotta get back to The Long Chron…I want to finish this sucker up this week, so I’m putting all my attention in there. It’s getting close…really close. And I’m really excited about it, even if I’m at the point in the editing process where I want to cry every time I open the thing up.
Have fun out there!