What is it that makes people cringe, close the book, or turn the pages before reading a single word when they are assigned a story or a poem to read, or even for leisure? I remember doing it in college, especially in my Poe class, which was of course an American Literature class that I accidentally registered for. I even do it with some news articles, still. Make no mistake, I’m not at all criticizing or slandering Poe’s work. Edgar Allan Poem was one of the greatest, and most innovative writers to ever grace a page with a pen. He set trends.
I distinctly remember Poe talking about the effect in one of his works. He talked about the length of poems, and stories, stating they should be short, to produce a desired “effect”. He was basically saying short fiction and poetry do something a novel cannot. Novels were too long to produce a desired effect.
So I return to the question, what makes people not want to read a piece of writing that’s too long? I find myself following those same notion of length and the effect that Poe discussed, and that if I am to write poetry and short fiction, then I must pay close attention to how long the pieces come out to be. I don’t want to lose a reader before they even read one word of what I’m writing. The piece should be something that can be read in one sitting. Analysis is for later, and is another topic entirely. I have a job to do, which is to keep their attention. I’m even thinking about the very same thing as I write this.