Saturday, April 16, 2011

N - Novels and Why I Love Them (also starring Dorothy Parker)

The novel is the form I write in most often. Certain friends of mine may say that this is because I can't shut up and novels tend to be quite long.

Kinda true, actually.

I am not good with things ending. I prefer TV shows to films for that reason - with a TV show, you're following someone (or several someones) on a journey. You become part of the characters' lives. With a film, you're only allowed to see a single part of their story.

Take a romantic comedy film. The couple live happily ever after. We don't get to find out that a couple of years later, they're struggling with fertility issues. Or that they break up afterwards. Or that six weeks later they have a row about toaster settings and both are too proud to climb down for days on end.

Compare that to say, Friends, which was essentially a several-hundred-hours long rom-com. I didn't even particularly like the bloody show and I teared up when Monica and Chandler discovered they both had fertility problems. Because I knew these characters. Without even liking them that much, I was invested in what happened to them.

I love to read good short stories (Dorothy Parker's Big Blonde is a favourite, as is The Wonderful Old Gentleman and Here We Are and. . . well, the rest of them). And a good short story, like the ones above - including Big Blonde which spans a period of years - feel complete. You don't need to know more. You know all you need to. The same is true of a good film. Really, I don't need to know whether Juno and Bleeker got married. I'd rather not know.

But while I can respect and admire perfectly self-contained art, I like to sprawl. I like forms that sprawl. So I'm a TV girl., and a novel girl, and a girl who will always need a good beta reader to say 'For the love of GOD, do we need to know where the bitch went to school? The novel opens when she's sixty-five.'

Why do you write what you write?


  1. I write novels because I got bloody frustrated with my stories having to end at 500 words.


  2. I find writing short stories and flash fic less intimidating than a novel - then again that's probably because I have the attention span of a gnat and am distracted very easily! :-)

    Take care

  3. I write short stuff for blogs and other online stuff, but typically I'll write them as being in their own continuity, so the story becomes ongoing.

    Novels are for my serious work

  4. I'm not a writer, however, I am an avid reader and there is nothing like escaping into a great novel!!
    Found you from the A-Z Challenge, I’m now following you on GFC and I hope you have a chance to check out my blog!


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