Novels and novellas

I started my latest book this morning. It’s a time travel novella to be part of a boxed set of time travel stories. I had it plotted so I started writing. When I took a break I looked over what I’d written and wondered if I’d have to pare down the story because it might go over the 20,000 to 30,000 words allowed for each story in the set.
This happened while I was marketing the six books I wrote for Winged Publications. Since they are clean romances, a woman from church suggested I add them to the church library so church members can read them. It seemed a good idea so I gathered a copy of each of the six books and piled them in order from the first one to the latest. And looked at them. And laughed.
Because the first book — Spirit Legend — was a lot thinner than the rest. It was my first serious attempt at a novel after many years of writing short stories. As a former short story writer, I’d had a hard time coming up with enough words for it to qualify as a novel.
If you’ve read Spirit Legend, you know that the story starts with a prologue from the viewpoint of the spirit in the story and then each chapter starts with a paragraph or two, also from the viewpoint of the spirit of the legend. Those additions to the story were a desperate attempt on my part to add words to a story that wasn’t quite long enough. They turned out to be one of the best features of the story.
As I compared that first novel that needed a bit of padding to make it as a novel to my latest novella that’ll probably need some paring down, it came to me how I’ve grown as a novelist. Or changed. Or maybe just become more wordy than I used to be.

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