Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thursday Thirteen, Edition 5

OK, because I'm a sucker for lists here's another Last Antholopalooza post.

13 Random Thoughts About Anthologies

1. Verdict? I still don’t like them very much. I’d rather read a full-length story.

2. Unless Meljean Brook is a contributor. *

3. Or if there is a story by another author that is related to a series that I’m addicted to. See also: JR Ward, Kresley Cole, Nalini Singh.*

4. I think it’s a great way to get some “bonus” material about an existing series or “world;” I’ve seen authors say things like “Character X just doesn’t have a full story to him, but maybe a novella…”

5. They can work nicely as prequels too, where perhaps an author realizes that there’s more to a secondary character’s backstory, or an element of world-building that would have to take place out of chronology to make sense.

6. I won’t pay $14 bucks for an anthology, even if there is a Psy-Changeling story in it. Sorry Nalini, it’s a used or library version for me!

7. It’s a bad way for me to get to know a new author, because I’m pre-disposed not to like it. An unknown author could unfairly get onto my “Nah, no good” list, because I might still like their full-length work.

8. On the other hand, if you impress me with a novella, then color me *really* impressed. Angela Knight & Virginia Kantra, I’m lookin’ at you!

9. So in statistically geeky terms, you could say that my novella-test of a new author is biased against a false positive.

10. On an up note, there is a marked absence of novella characters who are TSTL. I think it’s because the short page count doesn’t allow enough room for The Big Misunderstanding to grow to TSTL proportions.

11. Another reason they don’t work for me: a single novella is typically too long for one bus ride, but too short for the round trip. My reading rhythm gets thrown off.

12. On the flip side of that, the other day when I finished a novella, I ended up getting off my butt and starting something productive a lot sooner than if I’d just waited to run out of reading steam or to finish the whole thing. Although I feel compelled to poinr out, one should not expect "reading novellas" to have a causal relationship with "more housecleaning." (I know, again with the statisti-geek).

13. I have learned that if I’m going to write a review of an anthology, I should do it right away because it doesn’t take long for all the relevant details to fall right out of my head. This is true of most of what I read, actually, but more so with the short things.

*In which case I'd still rather read a full length story by that favorite author in that addictive series, but I'll take what I can get.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

**Note: apparently I'm out of the loop on the official Thursday Thirteen site -- the administrators are no long going to manage the meme. However, there are still plenty of T-Thirteeners out there, posting their Thirteens and tagging them, and they still show up on the Technorati link. So I'll keep playing for a while.


Anonymous said...

"7. It’s a bad way for me to get to know a new author, because I’m pre-disposed not to like it. An unknown author could unfairly get onto my “Nah, no good” list, because I might still like their full-length work."

I find sometimes it's a good way to get to know an author's writing style, but not necessarily her plotting, because of the length. Also, many excellent novelists are not good short-story writers, so an anthology doesn't perfectly predict whether I'll like longer works.

Nicola O. said...

Just all-up, if a writer can boil down their character development and some kind of reasonable plot in 1/3 the page count they're used to, well, that's an exceptional writer. I'm just saying I can't assume I won't like a writer just because I don't like their novella -- because I don't like most novellas.

Lisa said...

I can't often sink my teeth into an anthology either. For some reason my attention wanders in shorter stories, but in longer lengths I have no problem. Not sure what's up with that. Exceptions for me are the same as your #s 3,4,5.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

My goodness. Both the Thursday Thirteen and the Tuesday Thing people are stopping, right when I've started? My timing, as usual, is impeccable.

I would tend to agree with most of what you say about the anthologies. I, too, only tend to read the ones that have stories related to some other series I already like.

Still, I admire you for working this hard and giving them a serious try like you have.

Chris said...

The thing that drives me nuts about anthologies is when something in one is completely critical to the next book in the series. Of course, then I didn't like the JR Ward story I just read in an anthology because, although it was set in Caldwell, none of the Brothers were in it. Heh.


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