Love to read but don't have time? Want to try a new author? Or a new genre? Don't have lots of money? Why not consider reading a novella?
Compared to novels, which are usually more than 40,000 words, a novella is between 17,000 and 40,000 words, with an average length of 25,000 words, making them the perfect length for busy people who like to read a book in one or two sittings. Or perfect if you're wondering if you'd like a particular author's 'voice' or style. And of course, the fact most novellas are usually 99 cents or less makes them a super affordable way of reading.
When I started writing, I'd never heard of a novella but once I discovered them, I found how much I love reading them because I'm so time-poor. I then decided to try my hand at writing one.
Operation White Christmas came out last year to great reviews (and was the winner of the Romance Writers of Australia Contemporary Romance Cover of the Year).
I loved the experience so much that a few months ago I wrote a second novella, Operation Mistletoe Magic, which comes out at the end of October.
In case you're not sure what a novella is, it is basically a short book. It involves multiple characters and multiple twists and turns but due to the constraints in length, there are often fewer conflicts than in a full length novel with the focus being on the main character's personal and emotional journey rather than an in-depth story line with lots of sub-plots.
For example, when writing a romance novella, the author has to get to point quickly, which means the hero and heroine have to interact quickly, usually from the opening chapter. That can have issues when it comes to sweet romance which generally develops over a longer period of time.
I got around this problem in different ways in my novellas. In my first story, Hollie and Jim meet literally by accident on the side of the road and due to circumstances, end up getting to know each other. In my second novella, Melissa and Chris are childhood best friends who meet up again unexpectedly and rekindle their friendship which slowly develops into a romance.
There are positives and negatives about novellas for both readers and writers.
As an author, I love the way I can contain the entire story in my head and get it written in a short time frame. (Operation Mistletoe Magic only took me six days to get the first draft down.) And of course a shorter story meant my awesome critique partner Andrea Grigg could get it back to me quickly and edits didn't take as long. But I missed being able to really explore the characterization and have more in depth sub-plots to the story.
From a reader's perspective, one of the negatives of novellas is the stories are too short but I take that as a good thing when readers complain the story ended too soon and they want to know what happens next. I have received so many emails from readers asking me to write a full length story for Hollie and Jim.
Because of that, I'm contemplating writing some short stories or novelettes next year that tie in with the characters from my Christmas novellas so that readers can catch up on the happy ever after endings of my characters and find out what happens after the stories ended.
Another big negative of the novella is that they're only available in e-book format. One day I hope to bundle my novellas together and have them available in a paperback version.
By far it seems Christmas novellas are the most popular. These stories are usually set in North America (such as mine, which are both set in Canada), but recently four Aussie Christian authors (Narelle Atkins, Rose Dee, Andrea Grigg and Meredith Resce) collaborated with two international authors to write Christmas novellas for a box set that is set in Australia with a very Aussie Christmas flavor.
I urge you to check them out as I've had the privilege of reading some of them and they are very, very good. Of course my favourite is Andrea's, but perhaps I'm biased!
Their Christmas box set, An Aussie Summer Christmas is available to pre order now and will be released on September 27th. My novella, Operation Mistletoe Magic is also available to pre-order and will be released on October 25th.
A word of caution, many authors are now publishing their novellas in multiple box sets so be careful you don't end up buying the same books twice!
What do you like to read the most?