Storytelling Forms: For or Against?

Bibliobibuli
(n) Those who read too much
Coined by H.L. Menken in 1957: There are people who read too much, bibliobibuli. I know some who are constantly drunk on books, as other men are drunk on whiskey or religion. They wander through this most diverting and stimulating of worlds in a haze, seeing nothing and hearing nothing.

As readers we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to genres, and now with the revolution of eBooks, we’re privy to all sorts of forms at the push of a button. Whether it’s the short story, novella, full-length novel, or even series and serials. There’s an ideal book to match the mood and time you have.

The beauty of writing is that there’s no limitation on imagination. So why should storytelling be subjected to something as constrictive as word count?

As a writer, I let my characters dictate how much they have to say, it’s their journey not mine. Because of this, I’ve written a series of full-length novels, a 3-part serial and even a bunch of short stories that come together with the same theme. I’ve recently been polishing a novella I’m submitting for my Master’s degree, and come next week, I’m going to be starting on the longest novel I’ll have written to date.

It’s all incredibly exciting because there’s so much room for creativity. If I bound myself with the ties of a mundane routine, sticking to the same style, form, genre, even the type of hero/heroine, there’d be no joy and life in what I write. The characters would be as dead as I’d feel. And you, the reader, would be throwing the trash back at me for wasting your time.

I know that there’s a lot of controversy when it comes to the length of a book. Some people love the episodic serials, they’re great for commuters with limited spare time, or for those that like to consume its entirety before bed. Others complain they’re not getting their money’s worth, but in this age of eBooks the pricing has no limit. And it’s all relative. How do you base the amount you’re willing to pay for an eBook? Is it on length? Quality? The author? Would you consider the daily cup of coffee you buy from the local chain-store is worth more than the story you pondered purchasing?

I love to read. And like my characters, I don’t confine myself to just the one genre, form, and size. Having the choice is what makes it enjoyable. Do you agree? Or would you rather we took a step back and stuck to more traditional rules?

You can make anything by writing.
– C.S. Lewis

 

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