This is a big topic for me lately. I love writing but I have a short attention span. I have made 4 attempts at writing a novel and fell short to a novella. I love the novella. When I was a young girl romantic novellas were the thing. Now publishing houses like the big, fat story. And readers, if they get into the story and characters, they hate to see it end so fast. I get it.
I’m just not cut out for going the distance with my characters no matter how charming they turn out. I also find all the fillers annoying as hell. The details of the landscape and then the lengthy ponderings of the characters as they work through their issues. I can see that most of those novels out there would all be novellas if not novelettes if you cut out the silly party favors to keep us busy and fill up 300 to 400 pages.
I was reading a Swedish author lately, Fredrik Backman. He has a few books and one, Britt-Marie Was Here is the only one I’ve had the pleasure of reading thus far. He is so well liked that I’m in the library cue about 200 holds deep. His characters are eccentric and interesting, he leaves out details of the landscape and towns and he doesn’t go into the deep psychological debates of the heroine. You get the feel of the character and her issues with little moments or ways she reacts to situations, how she replies in conversation, and her actions. The town is left up to our imagination, which I prefer because I find that no matter how detailed the author is, I still can’t really picture things and it only frustrates or annoys me. Sure I like to know what season it is or if the town is small and dilapidated…but stop there and I’ll create the movie myself thank you.
I did some research online, of course, this is my comfort when debating a big move in career or life. I had started a book and could tell already that the idea of making it into a novel was weighing on me. My girlfriend encouraged me to stick with what I do best for great success. Novellas! If we try to do something that we have to force ourselves to do we will surely kill the spirit and drive in our dreams.
Here are a couple links to articles regarding what a Novella or Novelette consist of and the popularity of them:
There are many articles on this debate. The short story (as that is what I’m good at) is that Novellas have been making a comeback with the digital age. Readers love a good, short book on the train or at their lunch hour. Many great classics have been novellas, let us not forget this. Here is a list of all the great authors and their short works:
See, I’m too lazy to even list things myself.
I just love the idea of getting to know a character or two, visit a town and watch a drama unfold…then get to the happy ending and go on to meet other new people and travel to other towns. I don’t want to be with the same people for years and stay in the same drama for another few years. I get restless, I get bored, I want the heroine to pull her s–t together and make her life happen. I want to pack up the car and get a move on down the road. There are so many stories to tell. I wouldn’t want to watch a movie for 2 days, why would I want to work on one book for a whole year?! Hell no, I won’t go!!
So, I’m at peace with being a novella sort of author. I can whip up a good story within months. I’m not writing complex mysteries or sci-fi. Just simple and lovable people working through life’s obstacles and finding their happy ending.
Here is to the Novellas and Novelettes. I think I’ll celebrate with cake!