Novel, Novella, Novelette

In 6 days my novelette “Torven” will be released for sale. (That’s August 2, 2016 for anyone wondering.)

For those unfamiliar, this is my little fairy tale about a man named Torven who has been cursed into the form of a wolf and how he defeats that curse. It was written primarily for my son but given that it is a story and I am an author, I have opted to put it out for sale for as cheap as I possibly can.

Readers will be able to get it for .99 cents on Kindle OR for those who really like the feel of paper under their fingers, the paperback will be 3.99.

However, I feel the need to warn everyone that it really IS a novelette. Which means it’s a mini-book. A baby book. A teensy-tiny book.

Seriously.

It’s only eight chapters long.

Which brings me to my discussion of lengths.

You see, my original intention was to write a novella. 25-30 thousand words at the most, nice and easy for an eight-year old to consume.

But as I was working on the Outline -since I took James Patterson’s Master Class and have been playing around with the way I do this writing thing – I began to realize just how much of the story I had planned out was fluff.

So I started cutting scenes.

I started focusing on making sure each chapter drove the story forward, on eliminating all those scenes that only showed character development or world building, and then combining all that character development and world building into the chapters that were essential to the story itself.

15 chapters fell to 10 … which then fell to 8.

By the time I had finished the first draft I knew I wasn’t looking at a real Novella.

But it wasn’t a short story either.

So what the heck was it?

As embarrassing as this may sound, I actually had to research it. I’d never heard the term “novelette” before so it was a fun little surprise to learn that these little stories actually exist. (Well, maybe I did hear it in High School once but I obviously forgot.)

In any case, writing this little novelette taught me some extremely important things. You see, I’ve had a lot of editors over the years and there’s always been this fight between wanting to “live in the work” and to “experience life on a space ship” and therefore to have those extra scenes in a novel that create color and perspective … versus the need to drive a story forward and make sure your pace doesn’t snag.

It’s … really hard.

(No, seriously. Writing is hard. Don’t ever let anyone tell you different.)

In working with Torven’s outline and then watching that outline come to life on the page, I was able to understand how every chapter and every scene really CAN drive a plot forward while still allowing me to live in the work and showcase the world. And I could do it without sacrificing forward momentum.

So for any writers/authors out there, I recommend trying to write a novelette. Limit yourself to 10 chapters or less. Cut out the “fluff” chapters and add all that color and perspective to the essential moments of the story. Believe it or not, it works.

 

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