Wednesday, July 1, 2015

#IWSG Form of…A Novella!


I've written a lot of different things in my life. Poetry (all kinds: formal, informal, sonnets, villanelles, spoken word). Essays. Birthday Cards.  Eulogies. Diary Entries. Blogs. Papers for Classes. Reports. Emails. Articles. Reviews. Blurbs. Thank-you notes. Short Stories. Wedding Vows. Graduation speeches. Novels.

Me and my imagination, we're the Wonder Twins and we've activated in many different forms.



But I've never written a novella.

So, of course I was invited to be a part of an anthology and get to write a piece from the world of my novels. I, of course, accepted. It's a great opportunity. I'm excited about the company I'll be among in that anthology…which, of course, adds pressure to write something extra good (isn't that always the goal, though?). And the length: novella.

http://aprettybook.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Novellas.jpg
I've written a fair number of short stories now. My sweet spot for those has ranged from about 3K to about 8K.  I've completed four novels (and seen one published!) and they are all around 85ishK.  But, I've been asked for 15-20K for this story.  It's not a length I've ever tried before.

Medium-length fiction is an interesting critter.

As I've worked on it, it's been harder than I imagined it would be. I'll need more than an octopus and an ice-unicycle to get through this.

I'm not sure how big to the let the story get. Too many plot threads and the story is crowded and squashed into a closet too small to hold it. Too few, and it becomes like butter spread over too much toast.

Do you have a favorite novella? Have you ever written one? Any advice for me?
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This posting is part of the Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop. To check out other posts by writers in a variety of places in their careers, check out the participant list. This group is one of the most open and supportive groups of people I have ever been associated with. You should check them out!

14 comments:

  1. I've never written a novella before. I seem to gravitate toward novels--even my short stories turn into them.
    Good luck with the novella!

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    1. Thanks. Some good luck definitely couldn't hurt!

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  2. I have written a couple of novellas and for me, long length is not the problem. I have more trouble keeping things short. I set out to write a short story and before I know it, it's 15 K and growing. I'm not sure what to tell you except to let loose on the first draft, take a look at what comes out, and then pick what to cut or what to enhance.

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    1. Thanks, Tamara. That's been my approach so far. Here's hoping it works!

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  3. Listening in, because it's a form I'd like to try. I like Tamara's idea of shooting for a short story. Knowing how my brain loves subplots, it would likely balloon to that 20K range.

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    1. 20K is also an acceptable length for a novella. The publisher asked me for 15K+, so I'm allowed more words if I want/need them.

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  4. I haven't written a novella before, but I think since my novels tend to be short, I'd like to try it some time. The only thing I could think of is that even if your first draft is long, it could always be cut. For me, it's harder to add than to cut (although I always add more than I cut).

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    1. I tend to write spare in first drafts, and have to expand what's on the page rather than cut.

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  5. Some good advice here for you, Samantha. It's not a form I've tried either, though I have a few in the planning stage as parts of the series I'm writing just now. I'll be interested to hear how you get on with it.

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    1. Agreed! Some of these folks know what they're talking about. I'll definitely let you know how it goes.

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  6. A novella was the first manuscript I had published, which I never expected. Thankfully, keeping it short came easily. To be honest, I have no idea how I did it, but it's worth it.

    As for favourite novellas, Stephen King is the master. He has so many good ones. Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil, The Body, and anything in "Full Dark, No Stars."

    Good luck!

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    1. Ah true! I think of those as short stories, I guess since I read them in collections, but you're right: they're novellas! Maybe I just need to think of it as "long for a short story" to wrap my brain around it.

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