Tuesday, September 22

Novel vs. Novella

On our Michigan writing/vacation odyssey, Liz and I talked about everything  two women on the road could possibly talk about, but it seemed the conversation always came back to story. Probably inevitable given we are both very avid storytellers. If you don't know that already, then you definitely need to hit our Amazon author pages, which are here (Liz) and here (Nan). Go ahead and click now. I can amuse myself while you check them out.

Oh, you're back! Pretty cool stuff, huh? 

Personally, one of the things I really wanted to sort out on this trip was the whole "where do the Women of Willow Bay go next" dilemma that has been haunting me for dang near a year. It's not that I don't have plenty of ideas, but I'd sorta gotten stuck on one of them and for some unknown reason was unable to release it. So, in addition to dealing with more life stuff than I've dealt with at one time in my whole life, I was spinning my metaphorical wheels as a writer.

This may sound really silly, but this trip and talking in depth with Liz seemed to give me permission to set that story aside and work on something else. For some reason, I couldn't do that for myself. So I'm trying something entirely new for me--a novella. I've never written one before, which shouldn't surprise anyone who knows me--I'm pretty darn wordy most of the time. I'm giving it a shot though, and I hope I can do it. Liz has done a couple of them this year--check out her story in the Small Town Summer boxed set, it's great! And be sure to head over Amazon and pre-order her other one--A Heartwarming Christmas, which is a Christmas boxed set due out October 13. They are both fantastic examples of novellas that get the story told in fewer words than a full-on novel.

In the spirit of Liz's post yesterday, here's the question I'm putting out there to all of you: Full-length novels or novellas or hey, even short stories--do you have preference? Would you rather read short and quick or do you want to wallow and get deep into characters and story? And writers, talk to me--have you written novellas? How'd you like the process? Did you feel you got your story told in 40,000 words or less?

9 comments:

  1. I'm a fan of both, honestly. When I'm short on time, I'll go for a novella and when I've got a whole, rainy afternoon stretching out before me, it's novel all the way! My only requirement is this: I don't want a cliffhanger. I don't like serials unless I can read the whole thing in one shot. And a serial that ends (as in book 4 of 4) on a cliffhanger so the author can start another 4-book serial? Ummm, no. Make it a complete book, happy for now or happily ever after, I don't care. But don't leave the hero on a cliff in metaphorical-California while the heroine is on another in the South of France!

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    1. I agree totally, Kristina--books that end on a cliffhanger are irritating. I'm okay with series, where each book stands alone, but you get to see characters you loved from other books in the new ones, but don't make me wait and guess...

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  2. Writing them is a lot of fun! I have trouble narrowing down the story, but for an instant-gratification person like me, novellas are good stuff either writing OR reading. I tend to think many books are too long anyway, and novellas takes away that complaint. Thanks for the shout-out, by the way!

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    1. Good point--I hadn't thought of the instant gratification element and I'm kinda that way too, although I do love to get lost in a novel if I have the time to sit and read. Oh, and you're welcome! Can't wait for the set to come out!

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  3. I haven't tried writing a novella, but I know many authors who do write them. And many readers who love them. I rarely read them, and seldom read short stories. I love the meat of a novel. :)

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    1. This is my first and I am a little nervous about how I'll manage to tell the story succinctly--not my strong suit. I'm a big Diana Gabaldon fan, so meaty stories work for me, but Liz is fast turning me into a novella fan--her's rock! And my friend Liz Kelly writes kick-butt novellas. I'm excited to give it a try.

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  4. I'm not much of a short story reader, but I know writing one that is great takes excellent writing skills. I do like novellas. Marie Force did a great job with Sam and Nick's wedding in a novella in the Fatal Series. Kim Harrison introduced her new Peri Reed Chronicles with a novella also. Liz does a wonderful job with them. I loved her contribution to the Small Town Summer Boxed Set. You write a terrific story. Give it a try. Can you hear me chanting in the background "more Women of Willow Bay?"

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    1. Carolyn, what a sweetie you are! I'm working on a novella for WOWB right now--hold a good thought, okay? Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I love both short and long fiction, both writing and reading. When I finish writing a book, I usually write a short, 40-page story to "cleanse my palate" before I start a new novel. It jogs my mind to something completely different and helps me transition.

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