When you have so little space, you don't have time to rack up points

29 Oct 2011 in international | questo post è lungo 276 parole

Short Fiction Week

Livia Blackburne

Neuroscientist and writer, Livia Blackburne is author of From Words To Brain.

_A Brain Scientis's Take on Writing | Twitter: @lkblackburne _

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?

I do agree. When you have so little space, you don't have time to rack up points. You have your brief time with the reader, and one chance to make an impression.

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

I don't think there's a literary bias. There are plenty of prestigious publications and awards geared to short fiction, and MFA programs still spend a lot of time on them. If anything, I would say there's a commercial bias against short fiction because of practical restrictions with the paper format. But hopefully that is changing as e-books become more popular.

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

Any combination I choose, there will be countless examples of excellent stories that use a different combination :-)

Would you suggest 3 must-read novelettes/novellas?

I am not very well read in short stories, but I recently read "In the Stacks" by Scott Lynch, which I really enjoyed. There is also the original "Ender's Game" short story by Orson Scott Card.


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