I read this article on The Writing Cooperative this morning by Tim Denning, suggesting that most books could have been a blog post (or email, or text, anything shorter) instead.
At first, I was terribly resistant to this idea. Admittedly, I went into the article expecting to have a hate-read/hate-react to it, but I’ve read Denning’s work before and figured there was something to his animated — albeit, wrong (*laugh emoji* *I kid*) — stance.
Being a novelist myself, and someone who has ghostwritten fiction and resource e-books for big clients for a living, I wanted to tackle Denning’s article with this sentimental “novels are precious and should be preserved” vibe. Someone worked hard on that and put something of themselves into those pages, after all. That should be respected.
But as it turns out… Denning really isn’t wrong.
He doesn’t diminish the concept of the full-length book, far from it, and he certainly doesn’t laugh at the work and often art that goes into writing a book.
What he does suggest, however, is that there are too many books out there that could have been delivered in a shorter, more accessible, more achievable form.
As much as we book lovers/book collectors would like to imagine ourselves reading every book on the planet before we die, that’s simply impossible. What can be achieved, however, is more knowledge — and if that knowledge is delivered in a smaller package, the sooner we can apply that new knowledge and begin learning something else.
Let me say that another way: The more accessible and brief a piece of information is, the more we can learn in our lifetimes.
As much as this idea of shortening novels, or questioning their existence for any reason, makes me squirm — I have to agree with this logic.