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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » A Novel?

   
Author Topic: A Novel?
Bent Tree
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Does it make any sense to begin a novel when I haven't even published any Shorts?

It seems the ideas are comming for the shorts stories. I outline them, and the pictures of the scenes are vibrant in my mind, but I just cannot get the words down.I can't get them finished with any sort of satisfaction.

My attention is of course divided. In the middle of writing one short, I get an idea for one of the others. Needless to say, I haven't been too productive as of late.

I have two worlds that I have created for novel Ideas, that are pretty well thought out. I have just been reluctant to begin them with so many other things going on. WOTF, and other contests as well as trying to get established as an author of great short stories.

But now, I can feel myself being drawn in that direction, my attentions anyway.

It seems logical to hold off, but is this logic justified? Does it matter if I write a novel first? Will it have any less of a chance to get published?


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SaucyJim
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A lot of people will tell you that it's better to publish short stories first before the novel, but that's for the experience. If you have the idea and the drive to write a novel first, go for it. As far as I know, editors pick novels based on the quality of the book, not of the name that goes on the front cover.
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jcc2k4
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I have just finished reading a book by Ben Bova entitled "The craft of writing science fiction". In the book it states that authors usually pick one or the other, either short stories or novels. He also states that the author who picks short stories isn't ABLE to write novels, but feels more comfortable writing them, they come easier. vice versa for the novelist.

What i get from that is: Write what you're good at. If you feel the need to write a novel, write one. If you find that you're better at writing short stories go back in that direction. A great short story is better than a bad novel. Just my $0.02


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annepin
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I think you should write whatever you want to write. Sure, it's nice to get some short stories published. But you can do that while you write your novel, or after during the editing phase, or whatever.
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JamieFord
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I'm with annepin.

Write what you're burning to write. Writing shorts is a great way to hone your craft, but there are plenty of published novelists without short story credentials.


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Grant John
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I agree. I find writing short stories a very different thing to writing a novel, and I have found it extremely difficult to write short stories in the genre of medieval fantasy (never tried writing one in SciFi) but love writing novels in both genres, and only once have I looked for an author because I read their short story, and that was George R. R. Martin after reading Hedge Knight in Legends, which he wrote after publishing Game of Thrones.

On a side note, would anyone believe that I had to search high and low for a copy of Game of Thrones and eventually found one on in a seconds store with a strange stamp of a star on the top? Bought it for a couple of dollars, started the prolouge on the bus and never looked back.

Grant John


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JeanneT
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That's funny. You sure wouldn't have to look for one now.

I have written a few medieval-type short stories and they are both hard to write and hard to sell. The market for them is miniscule. It's possible to sell them, but not easy.

It absolutely is not necessary to write short stories before writing novels. If you can write a few and sell them, sure it looks nice on query letters, but plenty of novelists never write them.

[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited April 01, 2008).]


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Tiergan
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I agree with everyone. Write what is clawing to get out of you and be heard.
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InarticulateBabbler
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quote:

Write what is clawing to get out of you and be heard.

Ooh-oo. Write about the decadent depravities of the pickle-wielding nude dwarf uprising and the malevolent potato-waxings of infidel zucchini worshippers!

*The crickets are deafening*


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Bent Tree
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IAB Aren't you the jovial fellow today. You have been making me laugh since WI BAD. If I do write about these characters, do I have to split the credit with you?


Dear Editor,

A collaborative submission for your consideration.

Malicious Vegetables of Spring
By: Inarticulate Babbler and Bent Tree

Hell hath no fury like a broccoli's scorn. The niblets were all crying in their plastic beds. Nightmares of pickle wielding dwarves threatened their little minds. "Hush now little ones,"


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Rhaythe
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quote:
Ooh-oo. Write about the decadent depravities of the pickle-wielding nude dwarf uprising and the malevolent potato-waxings of infidel zucchini worshippers!

Brilliance!


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rickfisher
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Pardon me for uprooting the vegetable discussion, but to return to the original question:
quote:
In the middle of writing one short, I get an idea for one of the others.
While I basically agree with everyone's comments, if the reason you're not getting the short stories finished is because you simply abandon them to move on to a newer, more attractive idea, rather than because short stories seem unsatisfactory--well, then . . . good luck with getting a whole novel finished before the same thing happens.

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Bent Tree
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Rickfisher I feel you are right there. Perhaps I just need to focus my attention and discipline my self better.
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InarticulateBabbler
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Ideas are a dime-a-dozen, but pickle-wielding naked dwarves...

Seriously, write the story. When it's finished, edit it. When it's edited, polish it. Then, and only then, you will discover what length to classify it as. Short stories, novelettes, novellas, and novels all have a couple of things in common: beginnings and ends. Most of all they are written, not pondered. And something tells me that if the problem with you writing short stories is consistantly getting interrupted by new ideas, a novel is going to pretty difficult to write as well.

Now, as for the malevolent potato-waxing infidel zucchini worshippers...

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited April 02, 2008).]


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JeanneT
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Oh, listen around about 40,000 words I come to the point of hating any novel I'm writing. I fall completely out of love with it. Writing a novel is a great exercise in staying power.
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Patrick James
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Hey I like stories that dont let me sleep. Send those nudist dwarves with the pickles and the potato-waxers, zuchini worshippers, whatever you got, over.

I haven't heard of something that scared me that much since I was very young. And even then I think it was about giant killer tomatoes or something.

Fruit and vegatables are a subject with oh so much more possibility than I had thought. Thanks guys. I am now writing my own story along those lines.


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Tiergan
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I'm getting a little nervous now. I thought veggie tales was a children show. Maybe I should think twice about letting my children watch it.
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urodela1
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If you're still on the fencepost, no reason you can't to both at the same time. String together a bunch of related short stories into a novel--I forget what these wonderful creatures are called off hand--but they're a good steppingstone if you want to try switching between the 400 meter dash and the marathon.

I agree with fellow posters who say, "write how you like." There are many successful, published authors who compose both short stories and novels. You don't know until you try. My only advice is to take the marathons in nice, easy sections: the first guy to run one burst his heart, doncha know?

Sincerely,
Urodela1


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InarticulateBabbler
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I would only add that you wash your shorts before making them public.
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SimonSays
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Tiergan,
Speaking of vicious vegetables... try making/eating some Dillasours."What are Dillasours?",you ask. Dill pickle dinosaurs!
Just after Jurrassic Park(the movie) came out,I made myself a fun 'Vlassic Park Dill-a-rama';

Dillasours I made:
1.)Goddilla (T-Rex wannabe)
2.)Vlassa-raptor
3.)Crock-a-dill (toothpick toothed)
4.)Terror-dark-dill
5.)Dillfin (sweet dills-fins)

Materials needed:
1.)Vlassic pickles (sour/sweet)(body/fins)
2.)Olives (green/black)(make great eyes!)
3.)Pimentos(red)(tasty tongues)
4.)Toothpicks(green/white)(connectors/teeth)
5.)Twist'em ties(green)(connectors)

I got the idea for this from Dennis Nedri's character,the scene where he steals vials from a freezer.
Picture this; [cruching sound.] Dennis Nedri is munching on a Vlassic pickle from the freezer section of a store. He turns torward the camera saying; "Dillasours... don't find yourself in a pickle... eat them... before they eat you!"
Cheers, Steve


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Cheyne
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My current short story is 40,000 words and I'm only about half done. Seriously. At least it started as a short story. But that is me; my shortest finished story ran about 7500. Can't write shorter so I don't.

But yeah, write what you write. Don't worry about sales etc until it gets out of your head.


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