Should I write a series or a novel?
Tips and Tricks to figuring out which would work best for you.
The amount of times I've heard, "Oh! I wish I could write series, I usually only write short stories or poetry." is... not as common as one might think, but still common enough to cause me to raise an eyebrow and wonder. After all, there have been many times where I wished I could write a short story or novel reliably with the skill these other people have that wish to write long form.
However, I don't. I sometimes come up with a solid short story that I am proud of, but, majority of the time, I am working on long form writing, such as series, volumes or multi-chaptered epic novels. However, over time, I've learned a few tricks to settle into whatever your strength is. So, read on, dear reader, and let's find a way to help you decide if you feel more comfortable writing short form, or long form.
Tip #1 - If you find yourself world-building, you are probably a long form writer.
Now don't get me wrong, short story others and poets do need to develop the worlds of their stories, but not to the same extent as someone who is making a series or multiple works.
If you find yourself settling down to write and exploring the hows and whys of the setting, the characters and themes and cultures... even the religion? Then you probably have a longer work on your hands.
World building is a critical tool in writing, no matter what type. It is especially important for longer works where the chance of pulling the reader out of the story because of a non-matching situation is much higher than a short story. So, if you find yourself going into immense detail, you are more likely a long form writer.
Tip #2 - You like things to be concise you are probably a short form writer
When you start to write or develop your stories, you find yourself coming up with one idea, character or topic you want to settle down and expand on.
If this is you, then you are more likely to be able to work on short stories. Short stories are complex in their conciseness. You are trying to get across a point and if you focus in on one idea, or find it easy to, then the chances are much higher that you'll be able to write a quality short story.
Tip #3 - If you find yourself doing both, narrow down which you prefer.
Now, contrary to the previous too, if you are unsure about the situation then let's spend some time thinking it over. Let's say, you enjoy world-building immensely, but you only want to focus on one aspect of the entire thing you built. When you sit down and write you find it 'easy' or, for anyone else, not as excruciatingly difficult. If this happens, you are more likely able to focus in on the wonderful aspects of a short story.
Now, let's say you come up with a sporadic group of different ideas, like multiple characters, but no world or anything. When you start weaving them together, the world forms around them and you slowly build it up as you write. If this happens, it's possible you are a long form writer. After all, long form writers tend to combine many different ideas.
To sum up: A long form writer works with many ideas and ties them together to create a fluid story that can span multiple books. Meanwhile, a short form writer is able to be concise and focus down on the theme or aspect that they want to emphasis and bring it to life in a poignant and precise tale that's manageable in bit sized chunks.
So, are you a short form or long form writer?
I hope this gave you some ideas on figuring out what type of writer you are. It's okay to be 'just' a novel writer or 'just' a short story writer. Short stories are as necessary as epic length works. Some of the best works to date are compilations of short stories. Both are necessary so, if you find yourself uncertain, take time to figure out which you are.
It will help you in the long rung so you are no longer stressing about trying to do something that you aren't as strong at. Go with your strengths and write that masterpiece.
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