A novella is a story that is too short to be considered a novel and too long to be under the short story category. It is fiction with a word count between 15,000 and 40,000 words. In the past novellas were not considered profitable with traditional publishers because of the high cost of printing them. But now, with different formats like e-books and publisher anthology, the novella has hit it’s stride.
One reason novellas are so popular now is because, in this fast-paced world, a reader only needs to devote a few hours to a story. Also a novella can be sold in e-book format for as little as 99 cents which means readers can afford to buy more reading material. Many publishers have picked up on the novella craze and are creating anthologies with a group of novellas around one topic such as the Civil War or Christmas on the frontier.
Because a novella has a condensed word count yet isn’t a short story, the tools needed to write one are different than writing a full length novel with numerous sub-plots. The writing has to be tight and condensed without loosing any intricacies of the story. Although there are no hard fast rules in writing novellas, here are four tips to make your novella a page turner.
One Plot: Novellas generally only have one plot. The key word when plotting a novella is focus because novellas are too short to develop subplots effectively. If you find subplots popping up that need to be told, consider writing a series of novellas or stick to a full-length novel.
One to Two POVs: A novella does better with only one or two points of view. It’s too short for much character development, so by limiting the number of main character points of view, it makes it easier to have deeper character development.
One Topic: Keep the main thing the main thing. You want to limit yourself to a brief span of time and one problem your character needs to overcome. One major conflict will make your novella stronger.
Write Tight: Novellas are shorter than novels. They require you to get to the point as quickly as possible. This isn’t the genre to use long flowing writing or descriptions. Novellas require tight writing.