The Many Shades of Fiction

Before I started writing, I knew about the comics, graphic novels, manga, novellas, novels, short stories, biographies, epics and screenplays. I did not know about some other forms; such as micro-fiction, six-word stories, 140-character stories, dribble, drabble, sudden fiction, novelette and flash fiction. Let’s look at these forms of fiction.

Per Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a comic book is “a magazine containing sequences of comic strips-usually hyphenated in attributive use.” The earliest known form of a comic book is called “The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck” by Rudolphe Töpffer. First published in Europe in 1837 and an American version in 1842. David Kunzle wrote in his preface, “publishing a large volume treating "picture-stories" in European broadsides from about 1450 to 1825. His new large volume continues this history up to 1896, the year of the famous American "first"” (Rearick 661), means that comic books have been around for some time in some form. Comics are in picture form with words attached. They can just be a picture, a strip of pictures, or in book form.

Per the University of Maryland, a graphic novel is a full-length story that is published as a book. The university said the term originated from Will Eisner’s 1978 graphic novel called, “A Contract with God.” Per Britannica, graphic novels are, at times, a comic book series that is repackaged in a book form, an example is the upcoming “Lost Boys” graphic novel. From October of 2016 to March of 2017, each month had a comic. Coming out in August, they are combing those six comics into one book and labeling the book a graphic novel. Then there are those that have material created just for a graphic novel.

Manga (mangaka) are Japan’s version of graphic novels. The making of mangas can be traced back to the twelfth century with picture scrolls showing animals, humans and objects. Each artist has their layout-related elements. Manga’s are also read the opposite of how Americans read. Manga’s are from right to left, and how Americans view books, we would read it from the back of the book to the front of the book, right to left. (Cantrell). My favorite modern day mangas are, “Naruto” (“Boruto”), “Death Note,” “Rurouni Kenshin” and “InuYasha.”

Epic novels, is just that, epic. They are a long read and takes much time to read such stories. Epic novels have different meanings. People can see an epic novel more of an epic story such as the “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling or “A Game of Thrones” series by George R.R. Martin. People can also view an epic novel via word count, which can be over 90,000 words, again it all depends on the publisher. Such epic novels are “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy and “Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo.

A novel is one of the most popular forms of fiction literature. Per Britannica, the novel is a way to assume burdens that have no place in the epic novels. Word count for novels can range from 50,000 to 110,000 depending on the publisher and type of story. Examples of novels are “Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins, and “Carrie” by Stephen King.

Per Britannica, a novella is a short story whose narrative is well-structured. Word count comes into play. Novella word count is between 17,000-60,000 depending on your publisher. Examples of novellas are “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad, and “The Mist” by Stephen King.

As you notice, we are getting shorter on our word counts. Novelette is a short novel. Per Cambridge Dictionary, most of the novelettes are romantic. Word count on such stories range from 7,500 up to 20,000, once again it all depends on the publisher. Examples of novelettes are “The Call of Cthulhu” by H.P. Love Craft and “Daisy Miller” by Henry James.

The famous short stories comes in with a word count between 1,000 to 7,500. The word count depends on the publisher. Examples of such short stories are “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry, and many works by Edgar Allan Poe.

Flash Fiction is one term that is new to me. As you can tell, we are getting shorter in word count and flash fiction is not the shortest. Again, this depends on the publisher and people’s personal beliefs. Flash fiction has a word count of 1,000 words or less. Examples of flash fiction are “Before the Storm” by Alex Sheal and “Enough” by Jalisa Smith. There are sites called Flash Fiction Online, NANO Fiction and Flash Fiction Magazine where you can read flash fiction stories and submit your own.

Using the definition of flash fiction being 1,000 words or less, I notice there are branches with each branch representing a form of flash fiction with a word count. The word count depends on the publisher. One branch of flash fiction is called sudden fiction. Sudden fiction can range from 500 words to 750 words. The term sudden fiction is not a new term. There are books you can find on Amazon such as “Sudden Fiction: American Short-Short Stories” that came out in 1983 and “Sudden Fiction (Continued): 60 New Short-Short Stories” that came out in 1996 by Robert Shapard and Hames Thomas that came out in 1983. There is a recent book called “The Really Short Story Project: 54 Stories of Micro/Flash/Sudden Fiction: Volume 1” by James Lott Jr.

On June 8th of 2017, I went to my local library and heard G.E. Smith talk about the short-short flash fiction stories he writes. In the handout that was laying out is where I notice the sudden fiction term. I also noticed a term called micro-fiction, which is a fiction story that is 100 words or less. A branch of flash fiction that has branches of its own. One branch term is called drabble, which is a story told in 100 words. You can view such stories on Reddit and Drablr. Another term I learned is dribble, which as 50 words. You can read such stories at Short Stories, Wattpad and Fiction Press. 140-character stories, better known as twitterature. As you can tell, instead of a word count there is a character count of 140. You can read such stories at Twitterature.

You think writing a story in 140 characters is hard, try writing a six-word story. Yes, you read that right, six-word story. The most popular six-word story is “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Who wrote this story, Ernest Hemingway? Snopes and Open Culture say otherwise. You can read six-word stories at Six Word Stories and Reddit.

Some of these branches of fiction writing I find hard to write. But like anything else in the world, it takes practice. I am hoping to start a type of micro-fiction writing where people can write drabble (100 words) or a dribble (50 words) based off of a picture on my Facebook page. I hope to post it on Friday's and leave it up until Tuesday mornings sometime. Hope you all can join in and what is your favorite form of fiction?

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