0136A: Story Brevity and Location, Location, Location!

Back in college, we once got into that classic question of differentiating short stories and novels. Just how short is short? At one point does it some being just a story and it becomes a full-blown novel? And what about novelettes? I'm sure you too may have found yourself in the same discussion at one point in your education or another. Or perhaps you may have found yourself at a table in a bar with a bunch of drunken writers who have just come from a marathon of all 6 Star Wars movies. Something like that.


That's one of the bigger questions that I'm trying to answer for myself right now - How long is this story going to be? Am I writing a full-length novel of at least 200-300 pages? Is this just going to be a short story in order to keep my expectations realistic? Or will it only start as a short story and eventually get re-written as a novelette / full novel? Or should I make it a long-ish short story that can be released as a Kindle Single? The puzzling continues.

One might argue that the length of the story should follow the narrative flow. But I think it can go either way, at least in terms of how I write. When I know the relative length of what I want to write, I pace the story accordingly. And this is probably one of the reasons that writing a full novel is such a challenge - it's hard to accurately pace myself since I'm not entirely familiar with what getting to the end feels like. Oh well.

The other big question filling up a lot of the marginal space in my story development notebook involves the location of our little zombie apocalypse love story. The location is important, of course, since it will dictate a lot of the action and define the outer constraints of the story with respect to the environment.

I was initially thinking that it might be fun to place the story in Los Angeles since that means that I could setup some of the action along West Hollywood. I know, I know, what kind of supplies would human survivors expect to find at WeHo, but you have to admit it would be fun to have zombiefied go-go boys bursting out of the bars. I went to a few of the bars there back during my 2008 business trip in the US so I have a decent grasp of the area and LA in general, but of course I still risk some inaccuracies in terms of placement and such.

I could set it here in Manila, but I worry that my predominantly English writing constraints would mean that it wouldn't sound overly "authentic" somehow. But it might be fun to have zombie attacks at the heart of Malate, thus giving the book a nicely local feel for Filipino readers. Or am I reaching?

Or I could go the generic route and not clearly explain where the city is and just go from there. It'll probably sound like a place in the US but I'll also be free to mix in Filipino elements in order to keep things somewhat fresh or perhaps even relevant to a wider range of readers. And thus as I market myself, I'll also need to highlight my nationality and see if that doesn't somehow help me. I'm not kidding!

So what do you think? How far should I go with this LGBT romance set against the harsh backdrop of a zombie apocalypse? Where should the story take place? Your thoughts on the matter are highly valued!

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