Short Story & Novel, is an essay written by Elif Batuman. In it, one of the main points that he writes about, is that people need to start writing long novels, rather than focusing on shorter pieces of work, like the short-story or flash-fiction mediums. On one hand, I do agree somewhat with his points, but on the otherhand I also have to disagree.
What makes a novel memorable for me, is the whole package. I read a lot of fiction, and mainly fantasy fiction, so unlike some other author’s, writers of fantasy need to try extra hard to suspend my disbelief and stop me from questioning their work. So if an author can whisk me away to a world filled with creatures that can breath and talk, and that may or may not be human, than they’ve already succeeded in that aspect. The rest comes from the characters, the plot, and the setting of the story. And that’s really what makes a novel memorable for me. No one likes bland characters, no one like rehashed settings, and no one likes boring plots.
Finishing a novel can be rewarding in the aspect, that, at it’s completion, it can feel like finishing a journey. Because oftentimes you really need to invest yourself in reading the novel, where unlike a short-story, you may only know a character for all of twenty minutes. With a novel, you can spend days, or weeks, or months (depending on the length of the novel, and the speed at which a person reads, of course) and you get more emotionally attached to them. On the flipside however, sometimes authors might not really get to the point of their book until well into the middle of the story, and people are very easily put off by having to read through a hundred pages of “set-up” so that they can finally get to the end.
My personal opinion, is that neither medium is inherently better than the other, and that, while I myself personally enjoy lengthier novels more than short stories, or pieces of flash fiction, I do realize there’s an audience for everything. So with that in mind, neither one or the other should be disregarded by authors looking to write and express themselves.