Friday, April 27, 2012

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#153) -- Name Your Poison

As a writer, what's your poison? Novels, collections of your own shorts, or shared anthologies? What are your preferences, and why? (Thanks to Jim Beard for the question.)

You have bought my short
story collection, right?
I got my start on short stories, and I'll always be partial to them, I think. I still like the definition I learned in my writing classes in college (learning under the tutelage of a working writer, not just a "those who can't, teach" type) that writing a novel is like throwing paint at a wall and seeing what sticks, but that in a short story, with space at a premium, it must be carefully crafted by precise strokes of paint.

I have recently gotten into writing longer stories of 15,000 words, and I plan to tackle a novel or three over the next year or so, but my first love will always be short stories. I just love the immediacy of them, the way characters and style must hit hard and fast to win over the reader without having the luxury of "it really picks up after chapter three" that I often hear when people describe some of their favorite novels to me.

I also love (as my second favorite) writing comic book scripts. It's such a different way of telling a story to an audience of one (the artist) in hopes that what you describe, what you see in your head, and what the artist interprets all match up for the finished product. It's a beautiful, messy, terrifying sequence of possibilities that can drive you crazy as a writer, but in a good way.