Guest Post: Why Novellas are Great by Nick Wilford

Hello everyone! I’m back from my holiday and it was fantastic to get some time away. However, it’s taken me a little longer to get back into the swing of things. Fortunately Nick was willing to help me out by writing a guest post. His collection: A Change of Mind and Other Stories is part of this month’s giveaway. For more info about the giveaway please click here.

Please welcome my buddy and wonderful guest, Nick Wilford.

Reasons why Novellas are Great

Thanks for having me over today, TB! It’s an honour to be included in your giveaway for September and to have the opportunity to contribute a guest post.
I’d like to talk to your readers about why I consider novellas as being one of the hottest trends in literature today. When I wrote A Change of Mind, the central story of my collection, I didn’t set out to write a novella. The story clearly wasn’t novel-length, and yet it required a bit more space than a short story. It rounded out at about 25k, which was the space needed to tell the story. I’ve since written a second novella, a companion prequel to my YA series, and I’ve found that I like the format a lot. Why? 
  •          Depending on the story, a novella can be more intense than a full-blown novel. There isn’t that much room for sub-plots – which I love, don’t get me wrong – but you’re likely to be spending most of the book with just one or two core characters, and if you’re invested in their fate, then you can’t stop turning the pages. For a slow reader like me, a novella is more likely to be devoured in one sitting.
  •          You get to go into that little bit more detail than a short story. I liken writing a short story to trying to cram all your crockery and cooking utensils into a dishwasher. It can probably be done, but it’ll require a few attempts, things are likely to be jammed in at odd angles, and something is bound to get broken. I love writing short stories, but novellas just give me a bit more room to breathe and explore those characters a bit deeper. Of course, you should still polish to make sure your novella is as tight as possible.
  •          When it comes to publishing, it’s much easier to get attention for your novella since the dawn of self-pub. Traditional publishers usually have minimum word counts; they want a big book, especially from an unknown author. Self-publishing allows for unlimited experimentation in terms of word counts and formats. You can publish a series of novellas, or release them all together. Your novella can consist of a series of flash stories linked together, a phenomenon I’ve recently heard about.
  •          For a reader checking you out for the first time, a novella is a manageable length for them to see if they like your style, without committing to the possible weeks or months needed for a full-length novel.
  •          It’s a good bridging point if you’ve only written short stories, but want the satisfaction of having your name attached to an actual book. There are novelettes too, although debate rages about the exact parameters of each.

Do you enjoy reading novellas? What about writing them? Do you have anything to add to the above, or anything you don’t like about novellas?

Author Bio:

Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those rare times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He is the author of A Change of Mind and Other Stories, a collection featuring a novella and five short stories, four of which were previously published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog, or connect with him on Twitter or Goodreads.




Links for A Change of Mind and Other Stories:

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About TBM

Recently I entered the world of self-publishing with my novel, A Woman Lost. Follow me on my indie publishing adventure on tbmarkinson.wordpress.com. Follow my challenge to travel to 192 countries, read 1,001 books, and watch AFI's top 100 movies on 50yearproject.wordpress.com
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27 Responses to Guest Post: Why Novellas are Great by Nick Wilford

  1. Welcome Nick :). I have only read a few novellas, but I like the idea of them giving the reader a chance to get to know the writer’s style without spending a large chunk of time reading a full novel. As for me, I will read anything whether it be 100 pages or 1000 pages. I just love reading!!

  2. Liza says:

    I like reading good writing, in whatever format it occurs. 🙂 I will say that I like getting “invested” in the characters and that might be a little harder in the shorter format, but if the story is compelling, then I’m all in!

  3. jeffo says:

    Good thoughts, Nick. I tend to write long, so for me to write a novella I’d have to start with a short story in mind!

  4. Frank says:

    Over the past 2-3 years I have written a number of short stories / novelettes. The ones that have felt more complete and satisfying have been 10,000 words or more. I find when looking for books on Amazon, anything less than 10,000 words feels light, and even if free they can be unsatisfying.

  5. I’ve not written a novella length story yet. But I do like to read them, especially as I am a slow reader.

  6. betty says:

    I recently read a novella; I didn’t realize it was one until now in reading your description of it. It was good and held my interest. I do like longer stories though, but maybe because I’m a faster reader?

    betty

  7. Pat Hatt says:

    Yeah, no room for sub-plots just makes them go go go, which can be fun indeed.

  8. I have been led to novelists by reading their short stories first. Nick makes great points.

    Susan Says

  9. Nick Wilford says:

    Thanks again, TB!

    photosfromaloonybin – Yes, it’s a good sample of a writer’s style while giving a bit more than a short story. Though I agree, I will read to any length if I’m enjoying it.

    Liza – With shorter work, the author has to work harder to invest you!

    Jeff – We all have different strengths. I’ve yet to write a full-blown novel I’m happy with!

    Frank – I would agree to an extent but a good short story can blow your mind in a short time. And it can tempt you to read more by that author.

    Alex – I like them for that reason too!

    Betty – I think actual labels might have less importance these days, with self-pub. Getting involved in the story is the key!

    Pat – It can be a wild ride!

    Susan – Shorter work is definitely a good appetiser. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. spunkonastick says:

    Right now the book I’m working on is a collection of four novellas. Might be five. But the trend does seem to be moving to shorter books.

  11. S.P.Bowers says:

    Novellas are often forgotten. I think there could be a great place for them with the reading public.

  12. I love reading novellas. Often I don’t even realize what you guys have written is a novella until I download it and open it…then BONUS…not as many pages to turn before I go from 1% to 2%!!! Mostly it just means that I’ll have time to squeeze more books in during a given month.

    Stephanie
    http://stephie5741.blogspot.com

  13. Welcome back TB! Novellas are a great addition to the usual fiction categories. It would be better for authors if publishers allowed them to write their stories, however long or short it needed to be, rather than enforcing strict word count guidelines.

  14. Chrys Fey says:

    I love novellas because the length is just enough to sink into but not as much of a commitment as a full-length novel. I also enjoy writing them more too.

  15. The Guat says:

    That is for the new writer profile TB, glad to hear that you’re back from vacation 🙂 hope it was a good one, visiting many Regal Beagles. As for the battle of the novellas, I enjoy reading stories of any size, but getting to know an author through short stories first is a good way to see if you like their voice/ style. I guess then you can really commit to a longer book. Good to meet you.

  16. Great guest post, Nick! I really enjoy reading novellas. My depression has made reading in general harder for me, but novellas have been easier to dig into whenever trying to get back into the swing of that. I’ve even dabbled with the idea of making novella-length comics, so I don’t have to invest as many years in a single story, but who knows if/when I’ll follow through with that, LOL.

  17. Sherry Ellis says:

    I like novellas, but as a writer, it can be a challenge to pack a lot in so little space!

  18. Denise Covey says:

    Welcome back Tyrean! And thanks for hosting Nick today. I love flash fiction, short stories, and now novelettes and novellas. I’m about to publish my first, which technically is a novelette (15,000 words). As Nick says, it isn’t about sub plots, it’s about intensity.

    Thanks for the good reasons for writing novellas, Nick!

    Denise 🙂

  19. I totally agree with Nick. I have a soft spot for novellas as well.

  20. I LOVE novellas. Like Nick, I usually finish them in a single sitting, and they’re incredibly satisfying.

  21. cheriereich says:

    I do enjoy reading and writing novellas. There is a sense of accomplishment with reading them since they don’t take as long to read as a novel as well as writing them since they don’t take as long.

  22. Great post! I’m a big fan of novellas, reading and writing them. I think they’re becoming even more popular these days too.

  23. melissamaygrove says:

    I’ve read a few well-written novellas. They can be very good. Usually, though, if I’m going to take time to get to know a new setting and new cast of characters, I want the story to be long enough to make it worth my while. For that reason, I generally stick to full-length works… a 200-400 page range seems to be the ideal length.

  24. I enjoy reading novellas, but I’ve only written one. It was incredibly challenging to keep the right pace, and I would agree that a novella length lends itself to writing a highly charged, high tension plot.

  25. ethornberg says:

    TBM,

    I thought Nick Wilford’s guest post was interesting and right on. I tried to let him know on Facebook with the comment below in red but I don’t know if I did it right so I’m not sure he got it.

    Ernie

    I liked your guest post on TBM’s Making My Mark. I also enjoy novellas. They let you have more time with a story without taking as long to read as a novel. And they let you explore authors you didn’t know before. Thanks!

    Ernie

  26. dolorah says:

    I do love reading and writing short stories and novella’s. Such a tighter focus for the plot, but takes every bit as much world building and characterization as a full length novel. Good points to consider Nick.

  27. S.P.Bowers says:

    It’s always so much easier to get out of the swing of things then to get back into them.

    I used to do a lot of writing in the 25-30K range. Correct me if I’m wrong. I though anything under 30K was considered a short story, albeit a long short story.

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