Five years later, I wish I could read the four books in the Red Queen series for the first time all over again. Thankfully, Aveyard seemed to have known that her YA fantasy fans would want more.
As I learn more about fiction, I’ve found the different types of fiction very interesting. Normally, the “types” of fiction refers to genres: whether a piece is literary fiction as opposed to romantic or sci-fi. However, I’m talking more about length in fiction. There are about four general lengths in fiction: flash fiction, short stories, novellas, and novels.
Flash fiction refers to short works that are, usually, under 1,000 words. This includes Dribbles, Drabbles, and six-word stories. Flash fiction is like a burst of juice on your tongue; something short and sweet. These short, short stories truly pack a punch, somewhere between a sour candy and an actual hit, when it comes to their emotional toll. Stories like The Visitor and A Story of Stolen Salamis, by Lydia Davis are steeped in memory and care. They make you smile in a wistful way as you think of your grandpa or something you hold dear. Jamaica Kincaid also packs a heavy hit with Girl, the story of a young Caribbean girl and the lessons her mother gives her. You think of social expectations, whether you’re on the good side or the bad side of what your mother wanted.
Image via Genius
Short stories are, almost always, significantly longer than Flash Fiction, spanning from 1,500 to 10,000 words. These stories are like short films in their ability to tell a full, detailed story in a short amount of time. There fun to read on the go; great for snacking. Bullet in the Brain by Tobias Wolff is just that. This compact little story, gives context to the death of a book editor and does a great job of giving you just enough. There’s just enough detail, just enough dialog, just enough of insight on the main character’s life. It’s a little bag of perfect.
Image via Goodreads
Novellas are usually around 15,000 to 60,000, even though the word count is not set in stone. Think of them as a dinner plate; it’s enough to fill you up without making you full. Novellas are satisfying in that way. They’re full of detail, all without dedicated pages to setting or description. John Steinbeck seems to be a good chef when it comes to novellas. He wrote Of Mice and Men, The Red Pony, The Pearl, and Lifeboat, with the first being his most famous Novella. Of Mice and Men is the perfect example of what a novella could be. It presents a full, satisfying story that is, like a short story, easy to read wherever you are.
Image via Amazon
Novels are the most common form of fiction around, the full course meal of fiction. These stories can stretch from around 50/60,000 words onward, even though readers usually prefer novels that don’t pass 250,000 words. Everyone has their own favorite novel, but every good novel has one thing in common: it’s extremely engaging. Because a novel has to keep a reader’s attention over a longer coarse of time, it’s more important they are engaging from the beginning. Another thing about novels is that they give you the room to build an entire world. It is perfectly acceptable to spend a significant time on setting and world-building. Take the Harry Potter series for example; those books are long and spend a lot of time setting up the scenery. That works in a novel because it gives depth to the world and keeps the story interesting.
Now that you’ve gotten to see the full spread of what fiction has to offer, go out and read. Have a novella on the train; read a short story with breakfast; enjoy the variety of fiction because it is truly endless.
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Featured Image Via Los Angeles Times
Featured Image Via Los Angeles Times
Can you picture this: You’re curled up on a comfy chair covered in soft pillows and warm blankets. The fireplace is crackling as fluttering embers ascend through the chimney and there’s a hot mug of something sweet at the table next to you. Throw in a cute cat or dog, some fuzzy socks, and it sounds complete, right? WRONG! Where the bloody hell is your reading material?! ‘Tis the season to read everything you possibly can in the coziest settings and highest spirits!
If you’re like me and can’t pick a book or two to focus on this season, then keep reading! You just may find what you’re looking for. I’ve come across some pretty magical Christmas tales and short stories over the years and they really do leave you with that wondrous feeling of the possibility and unexpected twists of fate. No, I do not think that is dramatic… And I know I can’t be the only one to feel that way. Check out the list of lovely Christmas stories below and hop on the holiday bandwagon.
1. ‘The Gift of the Magi’ by O. Henry (William Sydney Porter)
Image Via The Art of Simple
This enlightening short story revolves around a young couple at Christmas time, faced with buying each other gifts with the little money they have. I don’t want to set up any spoilers here, but let’s just say they give away something they really care about in order to make someone they care about truly happy. The plot twist is fantastic, recognizable, and if often seen as humorous…in a sentimental way of course. The true meaning of Christmas lies within this story.
2. ‘A Kidnapped Santa Claus’ by L. Frank Baum
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The classic battle is portrayed here: good vs. evil. When Santa is visited and tempted by five daemons, four of which are undoubtedly bad figures, they underestimate Santa’s morale. Temptation fails and they kidnap him, leaving Santa’s pixies and elves to fight for the good of Christmas and to bring everyone their treasures before the night is through. I think you know which side wins, but it’s not without some vital lessons.
3. ‘A Christmas Memory’ by Truman Capote
Image Via Goodreads
Well jeez, if this makes you cry I am definitely not sorry. It’s good to feel strongly about a story and share in the beauty of what humans do for each other during the holidays! Capote’s heartfelt work does that with a young boy (the narrator) and his elderly cousin who is also his best friend. They spend the month of December taking part in holiday cheer and enjoying the process of gift giving despite they’re authoritative family and lack of money. They spend Christmas in the purest way and really just enjoy each other’s company… That’s before life sets in. I know, I know, such sadness, but this one is a must.
4. ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ by Dylan Thomas
Image Via Aurea Ensemble
This isn’t like your average short story in the way it’s composed. It’s detailed, somewhat like prose, nostalgic, and almost autobiographical as Thomas thinks back on winter days and Christmas time as a child. It’s very short, but beautiful in its reflection of the past and how Christmases used to be. I think that’s something we can all relate to; that feeling that the holidays filled you more at a younger age and the world seemed so much bigger with more to offer. Thomas teaches us how to embrace Christmases of past, present, and future. We may all reminisce now.
5. The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home by Charles Dickens
Image Via Family Christmas Online
Oh, the ever-glorious Mr. Dickens. The man is the epitome of Christmas and each of his works encapsulates the cheer of the holidays! This domestic novella of a guardian in the form of a small cricket grants a small family true joy just before Christmas. Although there are some mishaps here and there, all is well in this Victorian household setting, so cheers to that… Am I right?
Before you start reading these make sure you’re ready to set the mood with comfy sweat pants and an unnecessary amount of cookies or something sweet. That’ll do. Get in the spirit quick and don’t forget about what people truly want for Christmas each year: Love… And probably socks.
Image Via Giphy
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