Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Short Story Balance in Collections

I'm taking a break from Summon the Seasons so I can get a fresh perspective on it. In the meantime, I'm editing the Young Seasons collection. I think I've discussed that project before, but in case you don't remember it, it's a collection of four short stories, each featuring one of the Season Avatars (Gwen, Jenna, Ysabel, and Kay) at a critical point in their lives before Scattered Seasons. It's both supplementary material and an alternate entry point into the series (since there's about eight hundred years between the prequel Seasons' Beginnings and Scattered Seasons.) Right now, the word counts vary widely. Here are the ranges:

Gwen's story: 4,500 words
Kay's story: 2,100 words
Ysabel's story: 9,400 words
Jenna's story: 2,700 words

I'm a bit worried that the stories may seem out of balance. Gwen's story seems to be close to "ideal" short story length. (Five thousand words seems like average short story length to me.) I do have more material I can add to the second and fourth stories, and I'll have to see if I can tighten Ysabel's story.  In the end, though, I'd rather focus on making each story as good as I can rather than trying to shoehorn them into a predetermined story length or balance. Hopefully the readers will agree once the collection is done.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You'll probably get them closer and that will work.
I'll admit, I'm balanced when it comes to writing. Most of my chapters are about the same length. (Helps that I don't add chapter breaks until after final edits.)

Pat Dilloway said...

I wouldn't worry about it. Readers will complain about anything.

Crystal Collier said...

Honestly? I think variety is wonderful--which includes length. As long as the stories are complete, I wouldn't worry about it.

Sandra Almazan said...

I do the same thing when I edit, Alex.

I guess we have to write to please ourselves, then, Pat.

Thanks, Crystal!

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