Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Weigh In Wednesday #5
This is my first time participating in a meme, so thanks very much to Lauren at Epilogue Review for coming up with the idea and sending the e-mail that inspired me to participate! This week's topic is...
NOVELLAS VS. ANTHOLOGIES
I am going to say that I prefer--in fact love--novellas, although I'm not as crazy about short stories (in general--there are a few I adore!). I think of a novella as longer than a story, giving more time to develop the characters and plot, but not quite as long as a full-length novel. The perfect example for me is Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT, one of my favorite books of all time, which is 15000 words and about 90 pages in its original version. FLB uses vibrant, precise language and tight characterization to create a clear world and characters even in a short space. As a reader who gets easily bored with long, overly descriptive books with sprawling plots, I really appreciate a writer who's able to say a lot in not so many words! I also love the fact that I can reread novellas without sacrificing too much time, since I like to find new depth upon multiple readings and to see how my own reaction has changed over time. It's harder to do that with a book like, say, Lord of the Rings or the later Harry Potters! (Especially for me, since I'm a slow reader.) My appreciation for novellas is similar to my love for verse novels, many of which, with their short word count and emphasis on precise language , might also be considered novellas.
As for anthologies, I consider these to be collections of short stories, either by one author or a group. I find that when I read an entire anthology at once I tend to become a little dissatisfied, since I feel like I'm flitting from one thing to another. I do like to read anthologies in bits and pieces, especially to get a taste of new authors if I don't have time to read their longer works.
Speaking of novellas, I should also mention that my upcoming book, ALICE IN EVERVILLE, might be considered a novella by some. While it's longer than WEETZIE BAT, it takes place all over one day, and I tried to say a lot with few words the way so many of my favorite authors do!