I have been working on a full-sized novel for more than a year. However, I have published a few short stories on Wattpad recently. This started me thinking, are short stories a better way to start? Or, should I put more effort into finishing the larger book? Perhaps it really doesn’t matter. This is a relatively new concept for me since I’ve spent the last four years writing for clients. Does it matter which one you create?
It’s All in the Story
Personally, I have read many short stories that were more engaging than a lot of full-sized books. For instance, Stephen King’s “Night Shift” is still one of my favorite reads. However, “Knight of the Black Rose” is also one of my favorite novels. What it all boils down to is how well the story is developed.
It’s too easy for people to become bored when reading a piece of content. As a ghostwriter, it’s my job to grab the audience as quickly as possible. In a way, it’s the same thing when writing fiction. If you don’t grab someone’s imagination right off the bat, they may be less likely to continue reading the story.
Of course I am only assuming this aspect because I am a new author. All of my information is from the last three weeks I’ve been writing on Wattpad and being a ghostwriter since 2012. However, I can see the similarities between the practices of an author and a ghostwriter.
Engaging a Target Audience
No matter what you write, it’s all about engaging the target audience. This may be why some people stick to a specific genre instead of diversifying their work. For instance, I know quite well how to engage an audience when it comes to setting up an eCommerce site or operating an online business. However, I’m not as good when it comes to writing about automobiles.
As a reader, I can attest how capturing my attention in the first chapter is important. As such, I want to make sure I can do the same thing for my readers. Essentially, this is one of the biggest reasons why I started writing on Wattpad first instead of publishing with a major house. I really don’t have the money to invest in producing a book that isn’t going to perform well. Using services like Wattpad gives me a chance to see if I have what it takes to make that investment.
Keeping the Audience Engaged
As a ghost writer, it’s important to keep the audience engaged beyond the first opening paragraph. The longer a person sits on a client’s website to read the content, the more often he or she will send me work. I can see how this is the same from an author’s perspective.
Readers, no matter if they are opening a book or visiting a blog, want to take something away from the experience. They are looking to be entertained or educated. This means you need to hold their minds throughout the book. Personally, I get disappointed with a book if it starts off strong and then feels like the author “phoned it in” a few chapters later.
Does Size Really Matter for Short Stories?
For me, the only real difference between a short story and a novel is the number of words. As long as I feel fulfilled after reading the piece, I am happy. While I feel that some stories may have been better as novels while including more detail, I can understand how additions like those may take away from the experience.
From a ghostwriting perspective, it is possible to cram a great deal of quality information into a shorter piece. However, a longer and more drawn-out blog post or article can be beneficial by adding pertinent details. In fact, studies show how articles longer than 1500 words are more productive when it comes to engaging an online audience. Not only are they read more often, but they are also shared on social media more often as well.
Would a novel have more of the same appeal as opposed to short stories? Unfortunately, I am unable to answer that question. However, my experiences so far may lean to longer pieces being more attractive. This is also according to the performance of my own works currently on Wattpad.
To some degree, I can see how a miniature tale can be as effective as a much larger one. But would these collections of shorter tales be ideal for the audience I am trying to engage? That remains to be seen. But I look forward to continuing my progress as an author and seeing just where this can take me.