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.)

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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