The relative value of short stories vs. long novels
Stories of any genre, style or theme can be broken down into two main categories: long novel or short story. These categories include works of both fiction and fact, as neither one of them is exclusive. Both novels and short stories can range from well written to just plain bad; however, why do novels receive all of the glory? Why arenít short stories published in the same copious amount as novels? The only way to acquire short stories is to purchase an entire volume of them, usually for a couple of dollars more than the price of a regular book. Short stories can contain the same amount of emotional depth as novels, and can give as poignant a lesson.
When asked to give examples of ďgreat literature,Ē most people, including me, would give a list of novels that take hundreds of pages to develop characters and plot. These long novels make the reader feel emotions he or she wouldnít have experienced from a less well written book. Long novels are currently the most popular form of written literature; if you were to walk into any bookstore, you would see that the vast majority of the books on the shelves are novels. Short stories, when well crafted, can be just as powerful and moving as the longest of novels. The most likely reason that these stories have not become as popular as novels is that those who publish them probably feel as though it is not a profitable venue for publication, so they donít publish them in as large quantities, or outside of volumes of other short stories. Iíve read short stories that have moved me more than many full novels, but these stories have received no recognition, and have remained buried in the middle of a book of other, subpar, stories.
I am not trying to discredit the value and worth of novels; there is a reason that long novels are the main form of literature at present, Iím sure. What I am trying to show, however, is that short stories should also receive some of the accolades. Many of these stories are masterpieces, and can inspire their readers as well as long novels. My final request: next time youíre in a bookstore, donít immediately reject a book of short stories, or even a short book. Pick it up, flip through it, maybe even read the first couple of pages of a story. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy it.
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