Exploring the Contrasts: Short Fiction vs. Long Fiction – Insights from Jonathan Blum

Welcome to our blog post, where we delve into the intriguing realm of fiction! Today, we explore the captivating contrasts between two novel forms of storytelling: short fiction and long fiction. Join us as we embark on a literary journey, seeking valuable insights from none other than the esteemed Jonathan Blum. Let’s uncover the distinct features and unique magic these two literary forms possess, and discover how they transport us to different worlds with their own set of rules. So, fasten your seatbelts, dear readers, as we delve into the enchanting realms of short and long fiction!


When it comes to storytelling, the importance of both external and internal structures cannot be undermined. These structures serve as the foundation upon which captivating narratives are built, and can greatly impact the overall effectiveness of a piece of fiction. In this article, we will dive into the world of fiction writing and explore the contrasts between short fiction and long fiction, while gaining valuable insights from the experienced author, Jonathan Blum.

External Structures: Guiding the Narrative

External structures play a crucial role in providing guidelines for plot and character development. They act as the scaffolding that supports the narrative, helping to shape and mold the story into a coherent and engaging piece of fiction. Let’s take a closer look at how external structures come into play.

Plot Development

One of the key components of external structure is plot development. In short fiction, the plot is often concise and focused, with a clear beginning, middle, and end. The limited word count necessitates a streamlined narrative that gets straight to the point, leaving little room for digressions or subplots. On the other hand, long fiction allows for more intricate and complex plotlines, with ample space to delve into various story arcs and explore multiple layers of conflict and resolution.

Character Development

Character development is another aspect influenced by external structures. In short fiction, characters may be sketched with broad strokes, with emphasis placed on conveying their essential traits and motivations in a concise manner. The limited length of the story leaves little room for extensive character exploration. Conversely, long fiction allows for a deeper dive into the nuances of characters, providing ample opportunity for their growth and transformation throughout the story.

Internal Structures: The Fine Details

While external structures provide overarching guidelines, internal structures focus on the finer details that make a story come to life. These elements include time, point of view, scene length, and plot, among others. Let’s examine how these internal structures contribute to the overall narrative.


Time plays a crucial role in shaping the narrative structure of a story. In short fiction, the passage of time is often compressed, with events occurring in a condensed timeframe. This allows for a sense of urgency and intensity, as the story moves swiftly towards its resolution. In contrast, long fiction allows for a more leisurely exploration of time, with the freedom to span days, weeks, months, or even years. This extended timeline allows for a deeper immersion into the characters’ lives and experiences.

Point of View

The choice of point of view can greatly impact the reader’s connection to the story. In short fiction, the limited word count often necessitates a singular point of view, allowing for a focused and immediate narrative experience. Long fiction, on the other hand, offers the opportunity to explore multiple points of view, providing a broader perspective and allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of the story.

Scene Length

The length of scenes within a story can greatly impact its pacing and flow. In short fiction, scenes are typically concise and focused, serving to advance the plot quickly and efficiently. This brevity creates a sense of immediacy and keeps the reader engaged. In contrast, long fiction allows for more expansive and descriptive scenes, providing space for intricate details and atmospheric elements that enrich the reading experience.


The internal structure of plot within short and long fiction differs significantly. In short fiction, the plot is often tightly woven, with a clear conflict, climax, and resolution. The limited length requires the story to be condensed and focused, leaving no room for unnecessary diversions. Conversely, long fiction provides the opportunity for a more intricate and layered plot, with the potential to incorporate multiple storylines, subplots, and character arcs.

Insights from Jonathan Blum

Jonathan Blum, an accomplished author who has written two books of fiction, offers valuable insights into the contrasts between short fiction and long fiction. His works have been named as the best of the year, and he has also taught fiction writing at prestigious universities, while receiving awards for his contributions to the field.

Blum emphasizes the importance of understanding the limitations and possibilities of each form. According to him, short fiction requires precision and focus, with every word and sentence serving a purpose. On the other hand, long fiction provides the space to explore the intricacies of character and plot, allowing for a more immersive and expansive storytelling experience.


In conclusion, the contrasts between short fiction and long fiction can be seen in their external and internal structures. External structures provide guidelines for plot and character development, while internal structures focus on the finer details that bring a story to life. Understanding and utilizing these structures effectively is paramount to creating compelling and engaging fiction. By gaining insights from experienced authors like Jonathan Blum, we can enhance our understanding of the nuances and possibilities inherent in each form. Whether crafting short or long fiction, the power of a well-structured narrative is undeniable.

FAQs After The Conclusion

  1. How does the length of a story impact its plot development?
  2. What role does character development play in short fiction versus long fiction?
  3. How does the passage of time differ in short and long fiction?
  4. Can the choice of point of view affect the reader’s connection to the story?
  5. What are the differences in scene length between short and long fiction?

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