Mar 14, 2011

Goodbye, Short Stories

With the advent of the Nebula Awards, I decided to take a peek at the list and read some free stories. Now, the first stories I've read (but alas, I am not close to finishing any one), "Ponies" and Amal El-Mohtar's (May she win the John W. Campbell award!) "The Green Book", I decided to hold of on the novellaa and novellete.
I've always been one for short stories and flash fiction, and as you guys might know, Epic Fantasy. I can tolerate the length of an Epic Fantasy depending on the quality of the story, but me and works over 4000 words...its always been a bit of trouble. But then I read two stories on that list, remembered a few novellas/novelletes that I loved, and am eager to read more.
Christopher Kastensmidt's "The Fortuitus Meeting of Gerard von Oost and Olodura" had my mind running as I'm essentially reading a Sword and Soul story by a non-Black man (needless to say, I friend requested him on Facebook immediately)! Aliette De Boddard's "The Jaguar House, in Shadow" was another great read! Today I will download "The Sultan of the Clouds", read Ted Chiang's Nebula nominated novellete, and all the others on that list. I also read Tobias Buckell's "The Fall of Alacan" on Subterranean Magazine, which is a prequel to his novella "The Executioness" (it should be noted, that Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Alchemist", a novella set in the same world, is nominated for the Nebula for best novella). I remembered the thrill I had reading Ted Chiang's "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate", Yoon Ha Lee's "The Territorialist" and yesterday, read her story "Ghostweight" for a second time.
Needless to say, I'm beginning to love novellas/novelletes.
Which brings me to the fact that now I want to write them. I feel grounded in short stories and flash fiction. Also, in sorts, I feel limited. I've never written anything decent over 3000 words, and, honestly, the thought of writing something between 7000-20000 words scares me. But, I have to write it sooner or later, right? If I want to write novels, one day, then I must try for a novellete, and then a novella, right? I've thought that my attempts at a novellete be at 7000 words, max (the original plan was 8000 words as per SFWA requirements for "Best Novella", but I'm not even professionally published, so who am I kidding?). Reading more novelletes/novellas will also help me understand structure and most importantly, how to keep an audience interested. So, for now, it's goodbye to the short stories until I feel grounded in novelettes. Till then!