Am I a Novel guy?





So, I guess every writer has it in his or her head that they are going to write a novel. I remember telling myself that at a young age, 14 or 15 maybe. “One day I’m gonna write a book.”

And by book I meant novel. Because there are books and there are novels. Books are, pardon the expression, a dime a dozen – there was a time I could walk into a bookstore (because there were a lot of them then) and see shelves and shelves and shelves of books. Most were those that you think of as quick reads – books for a rainy day, beach books, finish-it-in-an afternoon type books. Easy to pick up, swallow and then move on to the next.

But when a writer says they are going to write a novel, what they mean (at least in my case anyway) was that they were going to write something that was more than a quick read – it was going to mean something.

Truth is, you’ll never know if it means something until you are done. And what you may jot down quickly and think, well, it’s ok. It doesn’t mean anything really, might in fact mean a whole lot to someone else who reads it.

Those beach books that are snatched up every spring in anticipation of a lazy afternoon on the sun and the sand mean something… they may not change the world, but then again, they might. Because they will touch somebody.

Sure, sure… all this has been said before. And that’s the doom of men (stealing from Excalibur, because if you are going to steal… steal something cool) because we repeat and repeat and repeat what we’ve seen and heard over and over again. Because we’re not carbon copies of those that came before us and we all learn on our own at our own pace.

And I guess I’m starting to think that I’m not a Novel guy. Now, that doesn’t mean that the stories I do write aren’t going to have meaning… it just means I’m not sure that I’m the 100,000 word type storyteller. May be I am, but at this point in time I am enjoying writing things that are much smaller in scope, the less than 20,000 word type tales.

Part of that I think is my tendency to get distracted, not just by shiny things but because I also like to leave the house on occasion. When I write I tend to write in bursts, and though I’ve trued to establish a routine… I generally get sidetracked from that schedule because of some stupid real world b.s. that “needs” to get addressed.

And so I find myself writing pieces that are shorter, that fit into those bursts of creative output. Could I combine some of those things I write in bursts and cobble together something 100,000 words longer? Sure. They probably wouldn’t make much sense, but I could do it.


And perhaps a few years from now my view will change and I’ll write and write and write and a novel will appear.

But right now I’m enjoying the short story form.

Brevity is the soul of wit. So they say.

And so, back to writing short things



One thought on “Am I a Novel guy?

  1. Everybody’s writing tolerances differ. I have much more trouble with short fiction than I do with novels. The longer form just seems easier to work with for me–more moving parts and less economy of space makes something easier to revise, I think. With short stuff, I find myself stuck when revising and I just have to start over or trunk it.


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