Short vs long. Which do you prefer as a reader? As a writer, which do you prefer to write?
As a reader I prefer a good long thick book. I like a good multi character story told from different perspectives, and showing how they all link together. Or I like a first person narrative with a circle of friends around that person, again a long narrative. I don’t tend to like collections of short stories as I just get into one story and the characters and then it’s over and onto the next one. It’s like the characters had a drink with me, then were whisked off away from me, never to be heard from again. I suppose that’s why I love a good long running TV drama, so you can follow the characters over six or seven series, hundreds of episodes. In my mind a long 800 page novel is just that, a sweeping following of the characters, so when it ends I’m sad as I have to leave the characters, and I feel I’ve been living with them while I’ve read the novel.
As a writer I prefer to write longer than a novella, because by having quite a few characters it’s hard to fit that all into a 20,000 word story. So having the extra wordage gives you more time to explore the different sub characters’ relationships with the main protagonist. It’s a broader canvas and you can also have more fun as you’re not constantly trying to squeeze it all into a set number of pages. Maybe I write long naturally, I think I do actually. I tend to talk long, so that’s probably why I write long too!
EXTRACT – Darryl is in the photography studio with Callum, a ginger haired model. They’ve just been left alone
This was normally my cue to turn the lights off, remove the coloured gels, pack away the backing, and set it up for the next client, after checking the schedule on the computer. But this time I didn't do any of that. This time I just stood behind the light, staring at the beautiful man in front of me, sat on a white wooden box, leaning backwards on his arms, his legs open and stretched out in front of the box. His white T-shirt riding up slightly to reveal a tiny wisp of ginger hair and his belly button.
"Had a good look eh?" he said, leaning back further, revealing a bit more of his stomach.
"Don't know what you're talking about." My eyes darted between his stomach and his bright green eyes.
"You gonna come over, or do I have to actually ask you?"
I walked to him and stood up against the white wooden block. Now I had a much better view.
"I've seen you."
"I know, I'm standing in front of you." I smiled, and worried he was a cute, clever psychopath. That's what I was getting into now. A psychopath. I allowed that to wash around my mind for a moment.
"Not now, at the club. I've seen you at Truvy Jones."
"You go there?"
He nodded. "Why the surprise? Just because a man doesn't put glitter in his hair and make-up on his face, doesn't mean, well it doesn't mean what you thought it meant."
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