Genre Basics Series: Length

My last post dealt with the writer’s career, which might seem like an odd choice for a Genre Basics series.  But an understanding of the differences between genres and how a writer’s career can be informed by those differences can be significant to understanding genre from a writer’s perspective.  Similarly, length of the stories we tell is influenced by genre.

All genres produce flash fiction, short stories, novellas, novels, and series.  However, not all genres rely on these lengths to the same extent.  For example, mastering the short-short and the short story is a great way to develop a fan base in speculative fiction and mystery genres, but there are fewer venues for thrillers and chic lit at these lengths.  Relatively few literary novels become series, whereas mysteries and fantasy are well-known for series length works.  Romance, on the other hand, often produces book series, in which the novels’ characters have little to do with each other—the marketing, the publisher and the style tie them together, not the characters.

Familiarize yourself with the length expectations of your chosen genre, and how those expectations influence your writing career, to better inform yourself regarding the skills you need to develop.  Telling a short story is a very different thing from writing a novel.  Develop the skills you need for this moment in your career, but do not neglect those skills you will need for future success.

About Stephanie Allen Crist

Stephanie created and produces in answer to a call from God to use her experiences and gifts to help others. Stephanie is also the author of and two books that can be found on that site. Stephanie strives to share her love, faith, and talents in an inclusive manner to help others who know spiritual pain and who know the bitter taste of the dregs of despair.
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