Books. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Life, the Universe, and Everything? (Yeah, yeah, 42. But I’m serious, here.) Books are refuge, friend, and opiate. They console, engage, and educate. They can change the world and, sometimes, end it. Endings lead to new beginnings, and so it begins again.
When Rachel and I started writing together, we talked about length. We still do, periodically. “Oh, this will be a short story.” (Which became the Chicagoland Shifters series. Of novels.) “This one is a quickie.” (Said four years ago about a book we’re finishing to submit now.) In the intervening time, I’ve realized that I am a novelist, in particular. I am also other types of writer – essayist, diarist, poet, etc. But my favorite fiction medium is the novel. I love the format, the way one can tell a story, the blending and interrelationships of characters to each other, the setting, and the plot, all of it.
There are others who like short stories. It’s not that I don’t like them, particularly, it’s just that I read so fast that it’s over before I’ve had a chance to engage with the story. I think that’s why I like series: even though one book is over, there are others to eat.
I admire writers who can do short. I’ve tried. By the time I get through saying what I have to say, nine times out of ten it’s not enough room. Rachel and I have done shorts (under 8,000 words) and they were, I felt, very tough to write. I couldn’t add any of the layering I wanted to, or follow side plots back to the main one. The discipline of learning to write short has been useful, but at the end of the day, I like a good, long novel.