It’s time for another TCWT post! This month’s prompt is:
“What are your thoughts on reading or writing books in non-novel formats? Are there any you’ve particularly enjoyed?”
I’m going to make a list, because lists are A) fun and B) easy. (See what I did there? Another list. I’m sorry, I’ll get on with the prompt now…)
NOW THIS IS MY “THING.” I mean, I do write other forms of stories, but short stories are my preferred type. Honestly, I lose track of the plot (and some of my characters, usually) whenever I attempt to write something longer. And I get distracted.
But short stories? They’re perfect. Their length makes them fun yet challenging, because a good short story needs to go through all the stages that a novel does – rising action, climax, et cetera – but in a much, much shorter time.
As for the short stories / anthologies / novellas that I’ve enjoyed… well, there have been many. MANY MANY MANY. Some of my favorites include Am I Blue? by Marion Dane Bauer, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” and “A Scandal in Bohemia” by Arthur Conan Doyle, The Maleficent Seven and “Across a Dark Plain” by Derek Landy, and Past Perfect, Present Tense by Richard Peck.
2. Serialized novels
My brother and I read one of these for school not too long ago, actually – Stephen King’s The Green Mile. Basically, each installment was published separately and people read them as they were released. (There were six total in this particular story.) Dickens used to write this way, and it seems that serialized novels are slowly gaining popularity once again.
It’s a neat format for telling stories, but I can’t honestly say I’d try it. It’s not currently on my list of “writing projects I would like to try someday,” that’s all I can say.
AKA novels told through a series of documents. These are SO COOL! I love seeing how all the different – and sometimes contradicting – sources come together to form a story. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, Dracula by Bram Stoker, Carrie by Stephen King, and Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary are some of my favorite epistolary novels.
I’ve experimented with short stories told in this format, and would eventually like to attempt at least one full-length novel in the epistolary style.
4. Novels told in verse
Otherwise known as poetic novels. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse is an example of one that I enjoyed, but there have been plenty that I didn’t like: Basically, I would usually much rather read shorter, individual, unlinked poems. I don’t know why. I guess… I guess that when it comes to poetry, I prefer something short and sweet. Also, I’ve read far too many poetic novels that just ended up sounding really, really pretentious because
Because they thought it looked
I always feel that I don’t read as much nonfiction as I should, but my Goodreads account says that I read nineteen nonfiction books last year, so I guess I’m doing OK on that front after all. I especially love nonfiction books about history, although I’ve also enjoyed a few books about science and whatnot.
I’d like to write a few of my own someday, I think. It’ll take one heck of a lot of research, but that’s OK. I think I’d like to write about WWII, women’s history, or some aspect of queer history. Or some combination of all three, maybe – Danny @ The Meeping Koala and I were discussing “old-timey queer stuff” yesterday in the context of relationships on Marvel’s new show Agent Carter and AAAAAH IT IS SO COOL.
Of course I have to include these! I LOVE graphic novels and comic books – I read eighty-five last year. I definitely want to write some of my own some day, although I’d have to find someone else to illustrate because I can only draw stick figures. I love the nonstop actions, frequent flashbacks, and creative panel arrangement in such stories.
If you’d like recommendations, let me know in the comments: I’m not going to list any here because I probably wouldn’t be able to stop and then this post would be waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long.
7. Combinations of prose and pictures
I haven’t stumbled across too many of these, but the ones I’ve found so far were AMAZING: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick and Chris Wooding’s Malice / Havoc duology. Basically, as long as I can get someone else to do the illustrations, I’m totally down for writing this kind of novel.
I have great respect for people who can write good plays. Shakespeare, for instance. I, on the other hand, tried writing a script once, way back in the spring of 2012. It was terrible. I don’t even want to talk about it.
Sometimes I daydream of having one of my books A) published and then B) adapted into a
screenplay and turned into a movie. I’d be very fussy about the movie, though, and would want to be EXTREMELY involved in its adaptation, casting, production, design, et cetera. I’d want to help write the screenplay, basically. I think I’d do a better job with this than with a play, because I’d be using a pre-existing story.
I think I’d like to write for TV someday; it’s basically an onscreen version of a short story, isn’t it? A few years ago I didn’t think one could learn anything about writing from TV shows but I’ve since changed my tune: They ended up teaching me a lot about pacing. I’d love to write for Doctor Who someday, but I doubt that’ll actually happen.
What are your favorite non-novel books/stories, or your favorite novels told in unusual formats?
Want to follow our blog chain? Here are the participating parties, day by day:
23rd – http://miriamjoywrites.com/
27th – https://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for April’s chain!)