Long and Short of It – Booking Through Thursday

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Which do you prefer? Short stories? Or full-length novels?

Comparing short stories and full-length novels is like comparing a weekend away with a month long holiday. A few days away means that you can only skim the surface of a place, not really getting to know it very well, seeing the highlights and you can come home thinking you wanted to stay longer, wanting more. Short stories can be like that. Or a weekend away can be just right  – you’ve seen and done all there is to see and do, you’ve enjoyed it but don’t hanker after any more. Short stories can be like that too.

A month away means that you can settle into a place, explore it in more detail, get to know people and become immersed in it, so much so that you don’t want to go home. Novels can be like that, you never want a good book to end. On the other hand it can get boring, repetitive and tedious and you can’t wait to get home. Novels can be like that too.

In other words both can be right under the right circumstances, but if I had to choose between an enjoyable short break or a longer one then of course I’d go for the longer one.

7 thoughts on “Long and Short of It – Booking Through Thursday”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. When I first started teaching instead of a week for half term in February we used to get a long weekend. Sometimes it worked better than the full week because you could have a break without getting so far out of routine it was hard to get back into it. It just freshened you up. A short story can do the same thing especially if you’ve just come out of a really involving read and need to clear your head before you start on another.
    Very little blogging this week as I’m catering for a garden party of 120+ today. At least the weather is good, but have I bought too much tea and not enough squash? Decisions, decisions, decisions!

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  2. Margaret – You really express this difference quite well. That’s why I’m so glad there are both short stories and novels. Both can be really wonderful for different reasons and at different times.

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  3. This is such a perfect metaphor. I would generally take the longer vacation, but I agree, sometimes a weekend away is all you need, and sometimes the long trip feels way too long.

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  4. I agree with you and I will say there are some authors who tell one type of story better than the other.

    Stephen King is, for me, one author who can effectively tell a story as a short story or an epic novel. He seems to know how long is enough.

    There are others who are better at short stories. Ray Bradbury is my big example. Great stories…his novels not quite as good.

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  5. I rarely choose short stories for my own sake, but of course I teach several stories every month. It is not that I don´t like them either, but it is like having a snack, not a proper meal. And fifteen snacks in a row is far too much.

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