You May Be a Novelist If…

Thanks to Steve Buchheit for pointing me to Dr. Doyle’s Identity Crisis article. BTW, you should read Dr. Doyle if you’re not. It’s great writing stuff.

Steve says he now knows he’s a novelist. There are some people in my general acquaintance who fit this bill naturally. (I’m looking at you, Chris East!)

I know that there are people who can do both. I’m one of them, but I have a very hard time staying within the constraints of one episode. When I wrote, oh, lessee, “O-Taga-San” I could tell you how the mother and father met, why the grandfather ran away. Who cares? It’s not essential in the narrative, but I know it. Anyway, I really worked hard at staying on one track in that story.

When I wrote the werewolf novella, I have a whole huge back history for three of the main characters, where they come from and what they want. Who cares in the context of the novella? I didn’t work so hard, and things leaked in.

Well, it turns out that people read these things, and they say, hunh. What about this? Or this? I think we need more information. And suddenly I’m into a novel.

As I look over Dr. Doyle’s points, I see a lot that’s familiar. Subplots, digressions, lots of characters, consequences, expanse. Let’s just call this thing a spade. I’m a novelist.

Which I like. I admire all the short story writers of the world. But yeah. I’m cut from a different cloth.

And next writing session, I’m going to go back to plotting my 5 book, 4 generation, 90 year family saga. Book one. And I mean it. I really don’t care what happened to Carlo’s father. Book one! Only about the Klarions. Not the Borgias!

Oh, damn. I do care. 😀

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

One thought on “You May Be a Novelist If…”

  1. One of the most often repeated phrases in my short story critics was “This feels like it could be a novel” or “I wanted to know more about (this small hinted diversion).”

    If you write down what complete strangers say in conversations you are not engaged in, you may be a novelist…

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