So as you may know, I’ve been writing a novella since December. Yes, when I was supposed to be giving myself a break after NaNoWriMo, I instead picked up a new project.
I’ve been very vague with you all as to the details of this book, and though I don’t think I’m ready to share the contents of the book , I thought I would tell you all my experience thus far with novellas and writing my first one.
I suppose I should start with the definition of a novella. A novella is considered a short book or a long short story. Basically it’s a book, but the word count is limited from around 15,000 words to no more than 50,000. That’s not a lot of room to work with. It is not a novel that’s been chopped short, or a short story that has been dragged out. A novella is its own creature; a fully formed story, with an arc and fully fleshed characters, but short and faster paced. I like to think of it as a little baby book.
Last I checked, my novella was at around 39,000 words, right in the comfort zone. I have a little wiggle room for the editing process to shorten or lengthen as needed.
So why did I decide to use this uncommon format for my story? Well, it started in my head as a short story, but then I soon realized it would be longer than any short story I’d ever heard of. So I did some research, trying to find what to call this story. The word novella came up, and I was skeptical at first because the only other time I’d heard the word was when talking about little books that accompany series nowadays, But I’ve found that it’s actually more common than I thought; a lot of self publishers release novellas when publishing e-books, because people like short books that are easy to read.
So the story I’ve written wasn’t smashed into the format, it was fully conceptualized and I happened to find a format that it happened to already be following. And I’ve found it intensely interesting to work with, as I’m used to writing (or attempting) full novels. The novella format has been a way for me to get to the heart of a story, cut out all the jabbering and unnecessary details I have a tenancy to write and focus on creating a story that is concentrated and doesn’t lull.
Novellas have most recently been known to be connected to a series, like a bit of extra content, and there are definitely mixed feelings out there. In my research I found, though, that I’d read and heard of more stand-alone novellas than I’d thought I had. Here are a few well-known ones:
Animal Farm by George Orwell (which I read but wasn’t a huge fan of, but a lot of people like)
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (which I read and loved)
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
I think I like the idea of a baby book. It’s short, takes less time to write, and I think they are hidden gems of the book world.
Additionally, I’ve been looking for more stand-alone novellas to read, so if you know of any out there (or have written one yourself) I would love some recommendations in the comments 🙂
And as always, I hope you all have a lovely day!