Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Is Less More in a Novel?

Recently, I've found myself skipping ahead in full-length novels--even by my favorite authors--because they are moving too slow. I've started reading more Kindle Singles and short novels. I find that I really like this format. It is longer than a short story and shorter than a novel. I can often read a complete work in one sitting.

My favorite movies and books are those that throw you right into the action and barely give you a minute to catch your breath. I tried to capture this pace in my first short novel, Bitnapped, by avoiding long descriptive passages and trying to include only the essential information.  (

If you are a writer or avid reader, you are probably aware of flash fiction, a genre with a word limit that strips content to its bare bones. Flash fiction ranges in length. I've read entertaining stories that were 1,000, 500, or even 100 words long. A recent contest challenged writers to create a 164-character story.

I have ambivalent feelings about works that short. I understand that everyone is busy and the fast pace of life leaves us with little time. However, the pleasure of reading includes soaking up the words and allowing your mind to wander to far away places. There must be a balance.

National Write a Novel in a Month month challenges authors to speed up their process and write 50K words in one month. What about shortening the length of the finished product? I'm not saying that there is no place for longer, slower pieces. But in my chosen genre, mystery and suspense, I'm betting that less is more.

In fact, I challenged myself to write this post in 15 minutes or less instead of the usual hours I spend agonizing over the words.

Please chime in with your feelings!

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