March 17th, 2007

Watson likely stories

Make a new mistake! Run long.

The unfortunate people I've beta-read for know all too well that I mostly agree with this post by fairestcat wailing that stories are often too short.

We've all read the hundred-chapter epics that go on and on and progress at a rate of about half a plot inch per chapter. (HP fandom seems to have more of these than the corner of Buffy fandom I love best.) But more often I read stories that are much shorter than I think they need to be to achieve their goals as story.

A good drabble is a wonderful thing. It sets out to send you to the mat with a right cross to your jaw, and it does so.

A good short story has a different ambition. It has a plot to work out. Some characters to show in action. Some moment of change to visit. And so often I read stories that give me the basic idea of a story, without satisfying me. The writer pointed in the direction of the story, but didn't lead me all the way there. They gave me the pencils for a comic page, without the inking and the coloring.

Okay, that's enough with the metaphors. You've had an idea! Okay, great. Now the work starts. And please, do the work. Collapse )

I want to spend more time in these story worlds. I love the characters and the settings. I long to be with them and soak them in. Please let me! Please slow down and give me more. You know secrets about these characters and what happened. You do! That's why you're writing. Tell me all the secrets. Everything. I want all the juicy details, please!