The following excerpt (open the link for full Reading’s interview with Jennifer Mills) sees Jennifer differentiate between short story, poetry and novel writing – I love the notion of the novel’s ‘big gravitational field that tends to suck everything else in,’ and the relief of ‘escaping’ to the short story!
“I usually know from the beginning whether an idea is a novel, a short story or a poem. Novels are slow and difficult and frustrating, they have a big gravitational field that tends to suck everything else in. Poetry is less deliberate, something that happens to me; it tends to begin with an almost musical experience of language. Short stories sit somewhere between – a flush of connected images, a single situation, a fragment of dialogue and you’re away.
They still need months of work to get right, of course, but I love that you can hold the whole shape in your head at once. In fact I find short stories so pleasurable that I use them to escape my other writing.” Jennifer Mills