Monday, March 25, 2013

It's Too Short-It Should be Longer...

 "It's too should be longer..."

No, the heroine is NOT saying this to the hero in an erotic context, seeing he is pressing his hips against her lush backside~*snicker*

 But seriously, how many times as an author have you read this in any reviews you receive? I do.

 I write for e-publishers. Most are not interested in longer stories. A couple I write for have put on cap on submissions at 45,000 or 50,000 words. Also, I find I like telling shorter stories, easier to write and edit.

One person said about The Riding Crop (a free read) "I would have given it 4 stars but I am giving 3 because it was too short."

*Headdesk* First off, it was a short story. Forgive us as writers if we get a little frustrated over this constant thread in reviews. I don't mind someone saying they enjoyed the story and wished it was longer, I take that as a compliment, but to penalize me? I have noticed some best-selling print authors who have just taken the plunge into novella ebooks sigh with exasperation over this subject on social media more than once.

Chances are if you are only paying 1.99 or 2.99 or even 3.99 for an ebook, it most likely is a novella or short story. The lower the price, the less words in the story. The majority of releases from e-pubs are novellas. To judge the structure of a novella or a short story for that matter, the same way you do a release of 90,000 words is not a true comparison. The narrative is completely different.

I love how Robert Silverberg described a novella:

 [The novella] is one of the richest and most rewarding of literary allows for more extended development of theme and character than does the short story, without making the elaborate structural demands of the full-length book. Thus it provides an intense, detailed exploration of its subject, providing to some degree both the concentrated focus of the short story and the broad scope of the novel~

People are entitled to their opinion. I am not bashing reviewers or readers who kindly leave reviews. I appreciate each and every one.  I'm just giving my own opinion on this. I believe stories should be judged first on plot and characters, not the length.

I reviewed books for blogs before I ever got published, so I  see both sides of the coin. In a novella it is not necessary to explore every nuance of the plot or voice every conversation.
I hope in future writers will be judged more on substance and heft, than in length.
Hmmm. This does sound vaguely erotic! ;D



Patricia Preston said...

I love novellas and shorter fiction as I rarely have time to wade through tomes nowadays. I gave up on The Historian. :) I think the main thing is to have the length of your story clearly stated as many times as possible in your listing. Some writers are even including it on the covers, hoping the buyer will take note of the length.

Layna Pimentel said...

Well said darling. Terrible isn't it? I don't think I'll ever understand why people who don't care for short stories continue to review them.

Keta Diablo said...

Great article. I too was stunned when a reviewer recently 'docked' my review on Sky Tinted Water because it wasn't long enough at 55,000 words. Yes, you read that right. I think it grossly unfair that review sites actually penalize writers due to the length of their stories. Some writers can pack a lot into a short story and certainly 55,000 words at $2.99 seems most fair. Sometimes, we can't win no matter what we do, right?

Karyn Gerrard said...

Patricia, good point. I wish publishers would make that fact clear right in the blurb "this is a short story" 'This is a novella', would save a lot of grief for readers and authors alike~thanks for commenting!

Karyn Gerrard said...

Layna, its a headscratcher. Especially in my case, its a free read, of course its not long, lol~

Like I said, I take it as a compliment when someone wishes the story was longer because they enjoyed and wanted more. But to dock someone on length? *shrug*

Thanks for commenting!

Karyn Gerrard said...

Wow, Keta, 55,000 too short? Clearly they haven't read any of my 25,000 word novellas. ;) My first 55,000 word novel is coming out next month. It will be interesting to see if I get any "it's too short" comments.
And no, sometimes you can't win on any level. Name of the game. Thanks for commenting!