On writing a short story vs. writing a novel

by look i have opinions

“I always know whether a subject should be explored in a short form or the long form, that is, as a story or as a novel. For me, these two forms are very different, right from the start.

“When I write a short story, I start out with a particular moment that I find troubling, or compelling, or devastating. […]

“My task then is to write a narrative that will make that moment become as powerful for you, the reader, as it was for me, the writer. I must describe a landscape, introduce characters, and create the action as it unfolds, but all of this is directed toward the creation of that last vivid moment—difficult and breathtaking—that I found so compelling.


“A novel, on the other hand, is entirely different, and the process is entirely different. I start a novel when I’m interested—and troubled—by the idea of a conflict that connects and divides a group of people. […]

“In this, the long form, the characters and the conflict create the story. When I start to write a novel, I have no idea of what will happen at the end of it. I have no outline, no story line, no synopsis.”

—Roxana Robinson (x)