Short fiction can be a perfect showcase for brilliant literary talent

28 Oct 2011 in international | questo post è lungo 321 parole

Short Fiction Week

_Marianne de Pierres

_Award-winning author, Marianne de Pierres is an Australian speculative fiction writer (complete bibliography).

_Blog | Twitter: @mdepierres

Novels can have pauses, faults: a long story wins by points. A novelette, as Julio Cortazar wrote, needs to win by knock-out. Do you agree?

Yes, probably. I think readers are much more forgiving about novels. With shorter fiction though, it has to sparkle brightly and intensely to make the same lasting impact.

Is there a literary bias against the short form of fiction?

I don’t think there is a literary bias against short fiction, in fact if anything, it can be a perfect showcase for brilliant literary talent. Take, for example, “Singing My Sister Down” by Margo Lanagan - one of the best, most powerful, pieces of fiction I’ve ever read.
If a short story is not well constructed and tightly written though, it can be much less satisfying that a novel. Also, people do look for value for money in reading, and short fiction can sometimes be viewed as merely an entrée.

Plot, setting, ideas. What are in your opinion the perfect ingredients of a novelette/novella?

Tight plot, a powerful setting created in few words, a focussed idea. There is not time for plucking daisies in a novella.

Would you suggest 3 must-read novelettes/novellas?

I’m a big fan of Twelfth Planet Press’s novella series. From that I would recommend Siren Beat by Tansy Rayner Roberts and Nightsiders by Sue Isles. I’m also very keen to read Black Swan by Bruce Sterling published by 40K Books.

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