I've never read any of James Patterson's novels or bookshots, and I've only written one official novella myself, so I'm no expert. However, I always told my creative writing students that poetry was the shortest distance to emotion, short-shorts were very short stories, short stories were 15 pages or so, and novellas were in between short stories and novels. Yes, I gave other descriptors, but I never introduced another format with the idea that it was the movie version of a novel in 150 pages or less. 

I was told at a recent meetup that it might pay to get on the Bookshot bandwagon. Unfortunately, I write more articles, poetry, short stories, and even screenplays, so the advice might be a bit above my pay grade, but it did get me to thinking that there's no real harm in identifying my works in a way that might appeal to an audience. For example, James Brian Jaeger's Numbers Cool Book is kind of bookshot-length at 100 pages, even if it's a children's story about numbers rather than a teen vampire book. My screenplay, The Jeff Movie, is also under 150 pages, so it's kind of a bookshot. In fact, it's so movie-like that it's an actual screenplay, as is Eighth Grade Ends

I know, you're thinking it's not just similar length. These are full novels without the fluff, and it takes a lot of skill to write this way. I agree. The folks who create SparkNotes are very talented in a similar way. And, yes, that payoff in A Tale of Two Cities takes more time than most of us want to spend with one author. I have no problem with bookshots, though I have to wonder how long it will be before the Bookshot Classics series exists, maybe with illustrations. Movies have replaced plays and pop music has replaced poetry, so it makes sense that novellas would replace novels just as we're all about to get self-driving cars and iphones implanted in our brains. 

I wonder if I can invent a new writing format, like a really long poem that details the adventures of a heroic individual. Or maybe a play in Latin put on at church about biblical stories. Or this cool idea I have where people write emails back and forth in order to tell a story. I am so clever. Please note that I am not totally making fun of one of the only authors in our country who can make a living as an author, and I'm sure there's some legitimate literature in bookshots-length. Of course, I wish it was my idea, but I would not have had the clout or money to make anyone believe in my new format. 

 

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