I never got novellas. What the heck was the point of them? They seemed too short. I always wanted more. I longed for a big, fat, juicy, full length book where the characters got to explore every nuance of expression and sensation and moment between them.
I made this decision based on reading only a handful of novellas. Maybe I was reading the wrong ones.
Once I started writing seriously, I didn't think I'd be able to write a novella. I thought it would be too hard. How to write a satisfactory story in sometimes less than half the length of a novel?
And then the idea for Sanctuary came along. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Angels and demons flying around in spaceships, at some point in the distant future. Who in their right mind would publish that, let alone even attempt to write it (thank you, thank you, Jill!)? I wanted to write this book, the idea was eating at me. And at the time I came across a publisher asking for angel and demon based stories for an anthology. I didn't know if I wanted to submit the story, because once again the issue of who-in-their-right-mind couldn't be ignored. But I set myself a challenge. I was going to write a novella in time for the publisher's deadline on the anthology.
Little did I know, a big lesson was about to come my way.
Because the story couldn't be any longer than 30,000 words, I knew I had to get my characters on the page, lay out their situation and get them on the journey in as few words as possible. I couldn't let any extraneous or irrelevant detail get in the way of that. But on the other hand, I also needed to give the reader enough to become invested and feel satisfied.
I did get the manuscript written in time, but then left it to take up space on my hard drive for over a year.
We all know how this story ends, because eventually I came across Noble Romance Publishing and Sanctuary was my first published work.
I didn't realize it at the time, but after writing that novella, my view of writing undertook a drastic change. I later recognized the importance of not wasting words, no matter what length your manuscript is. After that, when I started a new story, I didn't fluff around, but took my characters and plunged them – and the reader – right into the action. As a result, I'm much happier with what I'm turning out and if the reviews I'm getting are anything to go by, so are my readers.
Another thing I love about novellas is instant satisfaction and quick turn around for me as a writer.
I've been working on a full length romantic suspense for a few months now, though it feels like a lot longer! I actually wrote half of it, decided it wasn't working, trashed it and started again. I'm a chronic re-writer (editing, what's that?) but that story is for another blog post. After complaining to my editor (probably for the tenth time) about how much trouble I'm having with it, she suggested I take a break and write a novella.
Why didn't I think of that?
I'm now halfway through a sci-fi fantasy type thing. It’s a bit different, something I've always wanted to try. With any luck, my editor will love it and it'll be out in another few months. See? Quick turn around!
So for all those reasons, and probably some I've forgotten, I definitely have a new appreciation for novellas.
To win a copy of Severance (which recently got a 5 star review from Long and Short Romance Reviews. Yes, I know, I can't stop going on about it.) tell me if you've ever read a novella and what you love/hate about them.