How To Write A Novella

By on July 13, 2018
How To Write A Novella -Writer'

A novella can be a great stepping stone in a writer’s journey towards completing a novel, or it can be a standalone project. Whatever the reason or motivation for writing a novella that a writer may have, what it can do is teach them about how to build characters, introduce themes, and convey a story in more depth than short stories do.

Writing a novella might give you an idea for a novel, or might end up turning into one itself.

Like much in writing, the word count for novella’s is not set in stone, though 30-60 thousand words is about right. This gives you enough leeway to expand your story if you see fit, or keep it quite concise.

Either way, even at the lower end of the word count, writing a novella is no small undertaking. It’s long enough that the reader should become immersed in the world created but short enough that a person might be able to devour the whole story in one sitting.

While there are lots of elements of a novella that are also important in a full-length novel, there are also some crucial differences, and it is essential to understand what these are and pay attention to them as you write your story.

So if you are hoping to write a novella, remember these valuable tips:

Pay attention to structure

The beauty of a novella is that you need to pack so much into a limited number of words that there is no room for an excess of anything. The plot needs to be watertight; the story must unfold without deviation. A good structure will provide the base from which to tell the story and needs to be smart and simple. There're likely to be fewer characters, fewer scene changes, and a clear unifying idea that pulls the story together.

Use characters wisely

There should be fewer characters in a novella, and those that do appear should be used economically. Characters need to be impactful, and their presence must be felt right away. All characters should play an essential role in the story, should drive the action and plot forwards and be cleverly executed, so your readers feel as though they know them without having to know everything about them. You don’t have the luxury of pages of backstory, or of letting your readers get to know your characters gradually - they must feel a  connection with them almost immediately.

Have just a single theme and conflict

While in a full-length novel there are opportunities to bring in several conflicts, dilemmas, themes and subplots, because of the limited word count of a novella, there should only be one. Single time frame, single place, single idea - this way you can fully execute your story with as much power, and attention to detail as if writing a full novel rather than giving a watered down version where the story feels weak as it isn’t fully explained.

Remember simplicity is key

When it comes to writing a novella, it’s important not to over complicate things. Don’t make life difficult for yourself by trying to pack too much in. Instead, keep things simple while still creating a story that is complex enough to come to a satisfying conclusion without any subplots or digressions from the main idea.

By following the above tips you can write a novella that is perfectly paced, keeps the reader hooked, allows them to immerse themselves in your story fully and yet remains simple, sweet and satisfying. So if you are thinking of writing a novella follow the above tips to help get you started.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

About Ty Cohen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *