The Longer the Book, The Better the Story?

The longer the book, the better the story, right?

Not always.

All books must have a final page somewhere. (That’s why I’m a fan of the series! There’s always the promise of another book coming soon.) But for those times when shorter is better, here’s what master fiction writer Stephen King says about short stories:

“There’s almost an art of miniaturization that’s involved. It’s a difficult craft.”

Stephen King

Well said, Stephen King. Sure, I can usually write a short read in fewer weeks than it takes me to write a full novel. But a short read adds the challenge of putting the complete tale in fewer words and increasing the pace. It’s a significant challenge to make one cookie instead of a dozen, right? A single television one-hour episode can be as challenging (or more so) to create than a feature-length film, story-wise. Packing all the necessary elements into shorter elapsed time isn’t easy!

Personally, I think a good short read is a great thrill because something happens immediately. The first page begins mid-action. And to hold our interest, the writer has no choice but to keep up that quick, thrilling pace.

It reminds me of that show on HGTV, Tiny House Hunters.

Tiny House Hunters

It follows home buyers in their search for a tiny home. Really tiny. Like, 200 square feet or so, making the most of every square inch. Which brings me back to Stephen King’s point. Even in a “Tiny House”, the entire home is all packed in there. Bathroom, sleeping area, kitchen, living space, and so forth. The space is just used very, very efficiently.

So? Does a bigger house mean a better home? Does a longer book mean a better story? What do you think?

Meanwhile —

Caffeinate and Carry On!

Diane Capri

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2 Responses to The Longer the Book, The Better the Story?

  1. judy September 19, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    Some times a longer book is ok. Some times it is not. Depends on the book and what it is about.

  2. John Kuvakas September 21, 2015 at 11:53 am #

    I enjoy both. It is highly dependent on how well written either is. However, given the same author, the same level of excellence, the same cohesiveness of the story line, I would opt for the longer format. I always enjoy immersing myself in the universe created in a good, well-told story. Truth be told, when the writing is first rate, I’m lays a little disappointed in the short story, wanting to enjoy it for a while longer and dreading those final pages, knowing I have to put the book down and return to reality.

    I liken the experience to taking a cruise. A short, three-day cruise can actually be disappointing if all the conditions are right. You just don’t want to get off the boat that soon! A longer cruise gives you an appreciation for all the boat and the locales have to offer. You can savor the experience, drink it in and enjoy it in a manner that allows you to absorb all the nuance and depth a special experience has to offer. A good novel is like a cruise in how I enjoy it.

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