What are some tips on writing novellas?

A novella falls into what used to be a creative desert between short stories and full length novels. No more.

People don’t always want to give the time to reading a novel that it requires, especially since novels are getting longer and longer and longer until sometimes a reader can measure a book’s thickness in inches! And yet, , though they don’t want to spend so much time, they often want a story with more depth than is possible in a short story.

Enter the novella. Here’s what it is and what to know when writing one:

  1. It’s normally between 20,000 and 30,000 words long though different publishers may have different length requirements that better fit their own business model.

2. It’s a straight-line, single subject story.

3. If plot twists or sub-plots are essential to the story they will be kept to an absolute minimum and will not be explored at any length. Just mentioned in passing.

4. There will never be a huge cast of characters. If the story requires a lot of characters, as in a battle scene, the ‘rule of three’ becomes even more important in a novella than in a novel. (The rule of three says to never have more than three characters — or groups of characters — in a scene. Never! Ever!)

4 thoughts on “What are some tips on writing novellas?

  1. Alicia Haney

    This is so interesting Florence, Thank you so much for all the pointers! I always enjoy reading your blogs, they are always so helpful! 🙂 God Bless you. Have a Great weekend.

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