A novella way to write a book

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde po...

Novellas. The spotty teen of the literary world it seems. Not as cute and concise as the short story, nor as mature and deep as the full blown novel. But wait a second, could it be that our sulky teen is just misunderstood?

There isn’t a single definition of what a novella is but, broadly speaking, they usually have a word count of about 15,000 – 50,000 and a structure with a single central conflict and less subplots than you might find in a novel.

As I’ve been working on the second draft of my current WIP, I’ve started to realise that it might not end up being a novel in it’s length or structure. And I’ll admit, it made me feel bad. It won’t be a real novel, I moaned, I won’t be a real novelist! Oh woe, woe and thrice etc etc.

Then I did a bit of research and was confronted by the fact that a number of classic works that I own and love can, in fact, be classed as novellas. Animal Farm, A Clockwork Orange, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, A Christmas Carol, Of Mice and Men – I could go on. Not only that but in this digital day and age, a work being a novella won’t be an issue. Length isn’t a selling point for an ebook.

I no longer feel bad about the fact I’m writing a novella. I know I’m in good company. Great company in fact. Actually I’m rather intimidated by that list…

I’ll never be a real novella-ist! Woe, woe and thrice etc etc.

3 thoughts on “A novella way to write a book

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  1. You know, I might be facing the same problem and it’s partly why I’ve avoided my unfinished, begging to be revised and edited first drafts. (The other part is simple procrastination.) I had to work very, very hard to write 50 thousand words. And I fear that with proper review, they might get shorter. But your post reminds me that there is no shame in a “short novel.” Not only would we be in good company, but I think a fair number of readers would be happy with novellas. They say, less is more ;). Thanks for this post. Wishing you the best with your novella!


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