Monday Musings: The Long and Short of It

I have had The Novelette out to readers for the past couple weeks. Feedback has been positive for the most part, and I have gotten some good suggestions for improvements. One thing mentioned by several was that it could (should?) be longer. It is sitting at just around 16K words right now. The suggestions have been to bring it up to novel length. It is a bit of a weird thought to me, because I have always thought of this as a shorter length story. It has been around for a long time. I found, in cleaning out some old files in my desk drawer, a hard copy of it dated from 1998. Now, I have not been working on it steadily since then. I hit a block and didn’t really know where I was going with it, and put it aside for a while. “A while” in this case meaning years. I started thinking about it again last year sometime, but then I was busy getting the short story collection pulled together and published. I just recently began to look at it seriously again, and I discovered I now knew where it was going. But I still thought of it as a shorter work. Now, I am thinking in a different direction.

I think what I will first do is pull out my very old copy of an article by Orson Scott Card titled To Make a Short Story Long…, which he was kind enough to send me many years ago. I don’t remember all of it, hence the re-read, but I do remember there being some very good tips in there. That will, I hope, get my brain out of “short” mode.

And then, I will need to pull together an outline of the three chapters I have. Yes, I am an outliner. I never could do very well with discovery writing. I normally don’t do a formal outline like you and I were taught (at least I hope you were!) in school. In this case, I think I may need to at least start there, so I can see all the big and small parts, and perhaps where to start expanding. This with the help of the suggestions I am getting from my readers.

After that, I guess it’s start adding the new pieces in there, and see where it goes. I was going to end this by saying I haven’t completely made up my mind to try this yet, but reading what I just wrote, I guess I have made a plan, haven’t I? And I think it is worth a try. After all, if it doesn’t work, I have a nice novelette I can go back to, right?