I'm glad you're a short story fan, too. Generally I know beforehand how long a story will be; for example, I knew that the initial selkie story I wrote had to be a novella (at least 17,500 words), because I was writing it for an anthology of novellas. Once I knew it had to be a certain length, I could allow a lot more into it than I would generally allow into a short story, which can contain pretty much one throughline to the climactic action.
A novel, of course, has to be much more complex, and the usual problem ends up being that I allow EVERYTHING in, so that I can no longer properly control the story, and it gets lost in maze of sub-plots that take it too far from the main plotline. This happened with The Brides of Rollrock Island—I wrote a couple of other chapters from different points of view that didn't make the final cut because they were me exploring around the edges of the story, not actually moving it along at all. So at a certain point I have to cut back on trying to fit the whole universe into a novel, and say, "No, this story is JUST going to be about this and this and a little of this, and everything else has to be banished."
I could be more disciplined about this and plan more closely, but I often find that a detailed plan kills off the interest I have in the developing story, and that to retain the mystery and the wonder, I have to be wandering about in uncharted territory. :)
Posted Oct 20, 2012, 11:08:37 PM