Charlie’s Diary: Bang, Bucks, and Delivery in Recompense

Charles Stross has posted some typically thoughtful comments on the nature of length in fiction. What, exactly, is a short story and how does it differ from a novel? Can a novel itself be a chapter?

It’s a truism of the writing business that short stories are not like novels. There are any number of novelists who simply can’t work effectively in the cramped space of a short story; and there are many writers for whom the short form is their natural métier and the wide vistas of a novel seem impossible to fill, an invitation to agoraphobia.

This is something I think about as I write the third book in a ‘universe’ that I’ve put together as I go along. I don’t really have plot threads connecting the books, though some characters overlap.

Also of interest are some of Mr Stross’s comments on the convention behind the nomenclature of stories. For me, flash fiction is about 100 words in length, which is why my fiction flash podcast is about a minute in length, on average. But what do I know?

(Via Charlie’s diary.)

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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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