Saturday, October 29, 2011

Emerald City Writer's Conference : Does Size Matter? Writing novels, novellas & short stories with Susan Lyons

Size matters more in the traditional publishing world than in digital publishing.

  • The shorter the story is, the more straight-forward and fast-paced the plot needs to be. Consider using first person and present tense to draw the reader in more quickly and identify with the heroine.
  • Short stories are perfect moments of time, moments of connection, growth.
  • Offering a short story on your website as a free read is a great benefit for readers. A wonderful way to showcase your voice, or for published authors to build momentum for their novels.

  • Trust the process, write through the moments of angst, and get to the end. Completing the story gives you the confidence to know you’ll be able to do it again and again.
  • The longer the story, the bigger the ripple effect of changes during revisions.
  • There is a copious amount of information on craft for novel writing. Study it, but respect your own process. Try different things to find what works best for you.
  • Work on it regularly. If you let it go too long between writing, it is difficult to get back into.
  • If short stories are too restrictive, and novels are too time consuming, novellas may be for you.
  • Less time to conceive, write, edit. Easier to have more releases in a year.
  • Limited word count can be a blessing and a curse. You may plot our more than you have pages for.
  • Introduce the hero, heroine and conflict right away. Letting them have a backstory helps create a believable romantic relationship and a more relatable happily ever after at the end.
  • Limit secondary characters. Snowbound or island settings help with this. They are forced to deal with issues without the distractions of real life and other characters

Take – or make – opportunities to write different lengths. At different times in your life, different lengths may work better. You may find you like to ‘pants’ novels and plot short stories. Do what works for you.

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