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Why Do Writers Start with Novels?

Kelly J. Hand

woman with bookIn a recent GalleyCat blog post,Jason Boog commented on an online debate about why new writers start with novels.  One participant in the exchange mentioned that composers do not start off writing symphonies, but instead begin with smaller pieces.  The analogy is interesting and suggests many new writers are overambitious.  However, I think it is a reflection of current literary tastes, and how they motivate writers.

The short answer to the question is that we want to write novels because we read novels.  I love novels because they become a part of my life and capture my imagination for days or weeks at a time.  It is a pleasure to live with stories and characters to distract me from my own preoccupations—and help me to reflect productively on my own life.  The best stories stay with me and shape my thinking.  Short stories, on the other hand, may…

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The thing remains what it is. It is not you. You are not what it is. You know nothing of the thing apart from the growing emerging context. You know nothing about the thing. The thing itself. The thing with respect to itself. From the thing’s frame of reference. From the thing’s point of view.

context, emergence, epistemology, fiction, flash fiction, Friday Fictioneers, philosophical fiction, short stories, writing challenge

Stories

My offering for the latest Friday Fictioneers challenge.

Out of context. Everything begins out of context. Everything begins out of context at least with respect to itself. From its own frame of reference. From its own point of view.

Out of context until something emerges to give it context. A detail. A broad stroke. A battery.

Then the context grows. The context and the emerging details grow and develop a context around the thing. At least with respect to itself. From its own frame of reference. From its own point of view. A jar.

But does the thing grow? Does the thing grow within the emerging context? The detail, the broad stroke, the battery, the jar? Or is it your understanding that grows when the context emerges? Your understanding grows but the thing does not grow. Only the context around it–the context that you understand–grows and emerges and grows. Like…

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