Friday, February 27, 2009

Thoughts on Novellas

A few weeks ago, an author friend expressed that it was harder to write a novella (about 25,000 words or 100 double-spaced pages) than to write a novel (about 100,000 words or about 400-450 pages).

I just now put the finishing touches on a Christmas novella that will come out in October and--she's right!! Since November, I've written two novellas (both for Xmas anthos for next year), and one short story (for the Mammoth Book of Vamp Romance II).

Within a tight space, you have to get deep characterization; a feasible plot with beginning, middle, and end; an emotionally satisfying romantic plot (in Romance); and enough detail to flesh out the story without going overboard.

It's a good exercise in "less is more." In novels you have a little time to explore the character's deep, dark past and how they got to where they are now. In novellas, you still have to explore the character, but in a few short bursts here and there (a pithy paragraph in this scene, a few lines of pivotal dialog in that one.)

It took me four intense weeks to write this one, and I'm exhausted!

I have gotten excellent reviews on past novellas (even ones I thought weren't that great), so maybe I know what I'm doing more than I think I do.


Now it's back to novels, which I hope I can remember how to write. Plus go through the copyedits of the novel I turned in back in November. Maybe I'll go through that and remind myself what novels are.

Speaking of novellas, I had one come out Tuesday in Immortals: The Reckoning. That one took me about six weeks.

I used to write entire novels in six weeks! It takes me longer now--I spend much more time rewriting and polishing than I used to. I can't tell if that's because I'm more picky in my rewrites, or my drafts have gotten so bad it takes me longer to go through them.

Both, possibly.

But, whew, I'm done with the novella and can return to the two new paranormal series I'm starting, one for each name. Fun stuff.

1 comment:

Colleen Thompson said...

I'm about to begin work on my first novella. I'll be eager to see how I make out "writing in a phone booth," as I've heard it described.

Congrats on the new Immortals novella's publication. And I swear I'm getting slower at writing with each novel -- definitely pickier. And my tendency toward typos is *not* improving with experience. If anything, I'm increasing the disconnect between what my brain says and my fingers type. Grrr.