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Thread: Short Fiction VS Novels

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    Senior Member Inmate Ronald Kelly's Avatar
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    Short Fiction VS Novels

    Just a quick question for my readers: Which do you prefer to read from Ol' Ron? Short stories or novels?

    Back in the early to mid-90s, I was a big novel writer (it was my livelihood, after all, cranking out those 400-page doorstoppers for the folks at Zebra), but I've always had a great fondness for writing short stories. I reckon it comes from listening to my grandmother spin tall tales and ghost stories when I was a young'un... she'd go from one to the other and, in one sitting, I could hear up to fifteen or twenty stories (sometimes more, if she was on a roll) of family history (or scandal!), rural folklore, and local tales of haints, giant rattlers, and psychopatic, skeleton-handed handymen. I reckon that's why I prefer the roller coaster ride over the long road trip, both in writing and reading.

    So, what do you think?

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    Senior Member 1st Rubber Room Confinement T-Dogz_AK47's Avatar
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    Well I think both your novels and short stories are truly epic, so I could not choose between them.

    Can I be greedy, and suggest you do both a novel and an anthology of short stories - southern fried Cajun horror style.... Yummy my favourite.
    "I watched Titanic when I got back home from the hospital, and cried. I knew that my IQ had been damaged."
    - Stephen King

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    Senior Member 1st Electroshock Session bsaenz24's Avatar
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    While I love a good short story, I think I'd still pick a novel hands down.

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    Senior Member 1st Rubber Room Confinement T-Dogz_AK47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsaenz24 View Post
    While I love a good short story, I think I'd still pick a novel hands down.
    But around twenty different short stories together in one anthology? That's a tough choice for me, I think he is a master of both.
    "I watched Titanic when I got back home from the hospital, and cried. I knew that my IQ had been damaged."
    - Stephen King

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    Senior Member 1st Electroshock Session bsaenz24's Avatar
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    I agree that Ron's writing is great, but as a reader, once I am into a story, I like to hang around a while.

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    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    How is this for non answer. I like both equally!

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    Senior Member 1st Rubber Room Confinement Ben Staad's Avatar
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    Your work in ATB was tremendous. I'm not sure which form I prefer but I think I enjoy your collections slightly more? Maybe.

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    Senior Member Inmate Ronald Kelly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by copefiend2 View Post
    Your work in ATB was tremendous. I'm not sure which form I prefer but I think I enjoy your collections slightly more? Maybe.
    Funny you should mention ATB... I was just discussing a sequel to ATB with Paul at Thunderstorm about a month ago. But this one would be a full-length novel with many of the main (surviving) characters, both good and bad, as well as some new ones. Interested?

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    Senior Member Jeez! Don't you have anything better to do with your time? bookworm 1's Avatar
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    Yes I am interested. But to answer your question I think for me, and you can relate is family. I have come to really love short stories because the kids keep us busy running from one activity to the next. So I have months where it is easier to read short stories and not worry if I miss a day or two to read that I will need to go back a few pages to refresh my memory. I still read novels and do love them and will continue to read them of course.
    I can imagine with the kids keeping you busy it is easier to focus on shorter works as well. Also as I get older I have come to appreciate the short story. Packing so much into so few pages when done well is an awesome craft.

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    Senior Member Jeez! Don't you have anything better to do with your time? bookworm 1's Avatar
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    Yes I am interested. But to answer your question I think for me, and you can relate is family. I have come to really love short stories because the kids keep us busy running from one activity to the next. So I have months where it is easier to read short stories and not worry if I miss a day or two to read that I will need to go back a few pages to refresh my memory. I still read novels and do love them and will continue to read them of course.
    I can imagine with the kids keeping you busy it is easier to focus on shorter works as well. Also as I get older I have come to appreciate the short story. Packing so much into so few pages when done well is an awesome craft.

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    Senior Member 1st Rubber Room Confinement Ben Staad's Avatar
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    Of course I would be interested. I need to do a re-read so I can remember who made it out alive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald Kelly View Post
    Funny you should mention ATB... I was just discussing a sequel to ATB with Paul at Thunderstorm about a month ago. But this one would be a full-length novel with many of the main (surviving) characters, both good and bad, as well as some new ones. Interested?

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    Senior Member 1st Rubber Room Confinement Ben Staad's Avatar
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    Of course I would be interested. I need to do a re-read so I can remember who made it out alive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald Kelly View Post
    Funny you should mention ATB... I was just discussing a sequel to ATB with Paul at Thunderstorm about a month ago. But this one would be a full-length novel with many of the main (surviving) characters, both good and bad, as well as some new ones. Interested?

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    Senior Member Inmate Ronald Kelly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bookworm 1 View Post
    Yes I am interested. But to answer your question I think for me, and you can relate is family. I have come to really love short stories because the kids keep us busy running from one activity to the next. So I have months where it is easier to read short stories and not worry if I miss a day or two to read that I will need to go back a few pages to refresh my memory. I still read novels and do love them and will continue to read them of course.
    I can imagine with the kids keeping you busy it is easier to focus on shorter works as well. Also as I get older I have come to appreciate the short story. Packing so much into so few pages when done well is an awesome craft.
    I definitely agree that family time has a huge amount to do with what I write and read lately. I'm about seven chapters into DOCTOR SLEEP right now, but that's only because I have to grab a few minutes reading time here and there because of my kids' after-school activities, suppertime, getting them ready for baths and bed, etc. Otherwise, I would have finished the book weeks ago.

    The same goes for my writing. It's so much easier writing 2,500 to 5,000 words at a stretch, than devoting a massive amount of time to a 90.000 word (or more) novel. Maybe it's the way I approach my writing career now, compared to the early to mid-nineties; I'm not so much writing for the money now than the pleasure of writing. So the urgency of writing novels doesn't concern me as much as it used to. I'll be 54 next week and my priorities have changed drastically over the years. I enjoy writing... but it doesn't dominate my life like it did when I was 35.

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    Hey Ron: If I had to make a choice -- I'd say novels. However, I like both very much. There are times in short stories where character development is not as good as it should be. Or the story line isn't as well thought out as it should be. And, I'm left wanting a lot more. One of favorite past times is before going turning in for the night -- is to lay on the bed and get lost in a very good novel that captures my attention -- with a great well thought out story line with great characters. And, I enjoy going on the journey with a novel seeing how the story evolves from beginning to end. During this time -- the characters and the situations are very real to me. A very good medium that bridges these two things are the novella which I also enjoy.

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    Senior Member Ok, I really can't come up with anymore of these stupid things... srboone's Avatar
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    Write either, Ron. And I'll read it!
    "I'm a vegan. "

    ---Kirby Bliss Blanton , The Green Inferno (2013)

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    Senior Member Inmate Ronald Kelly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycloneed20 View Post
    Hey Ron: If I had to make a choice -- I'd say novels. However, I like both very much. There are times in short stories where character development is not as good as it should be. Or the story line isn't as well thought out as it should be. And, I'm left wanting a lot more. One of favorite past times is before going turning in for the night -- is to lay on the bed and get lost in a very good novel that captures my attention -- with a great well thought out story line with great characters. And, I enjoy going on the journey with a novel seeing how the story evolves from beginning to end. During this time -- the characters and the situations are very real to me. A very good medium that bridges these two things are the novella which I also enjoy.
    Good point. Oddly enough, I've written more novellas and long fiction pieces than since coming back to writing in 2006, than I ever did in the 80s and 90s. That long, satisfying fictional bridge between short story and novel really appeals to me right now. Of course, alot of it has to do with writing the novellas for the Essential books (I'll be writing the one for the Essential edition of PITFALL next weekend, over the Thanksgiving holiday).

    Incidently, I've collected all my best novellas and long fiction stories in one tome; LONG CHILLS, now available in e-book through Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Smashwords, etc. Check it out if you get a chance.

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    I was going to say novellas. "Timber Gray" is my favorite so far. Might be pushing the boundaries of a novella but it was an easy read in a hectic schedule.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Ok, I really can't come up with anymore of these stupid things... srboone's Avatar
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    I really like the short story format. A quick jolt that can easily be sustained, rarely oversyaying their welcome. Some of my favorites have come from your dark and twisted pen, Ron.
    "I'm a vegan. "

    ---Kirby Bliss Blanton , The Green Inferno (2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald Kelly View Post
    Good point. Oddly enough, I've written more novellas and long fiction pieces than since coming back to writing in 2006, than I ever did in the 80s and 90s. That long, satisfying fictional bridge between short story and novel really appeals to me right now. Of course, alot of it has to do with writing the novellas for the Essential books (I'll be writing the one for the Essential edition of PITFALL next weekend, over the Thanksgiving holiday).

    Incidently, I've collected all my best novellas and long fiction stories in one tome; LONG CHILLS, now available in e-book through Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Smashwords, etc. Check it out if you get a chance.
    Hey Ron:
    I received an Amazon Kindle Paperwhiite for my birthday this past Nov. 12 (turned 49). And, after the Geek Squad at Best Buy hooked up the wi-fi -- Long Chills was the first book I downloaded and read. I liked it a lot. However, some scenes in some stories were unsettling. I have Thunderstorm editions of Undertaker's Moon, Fear and The Dark[Un. Plus, I have Cumberland Furnace. So, there were five short stories I've already read. But, it was fun to read them a second time. I have Hindsight on Amazon wishlist.

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    Hey Ron: I forgot to mention that I also put Timber Gray on my Kindle. I look forward to reading it soon. I'm reading Dr. Sleep right now. I'm a little past the half-way mark.

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