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Author Topic: novellas
cristinamontes
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What's the deal about novellas? Is there any market for them? I am asking because I originally wanted to write my story as a novel, and it has already grown too long to be a short story. However, I find it hard to develop it to novel-length. It seems as if the story does not call for being developed into a full length novel. Should I just write it as a novella? Or should I be patient and develop it further into a novel?
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Denevius
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If the question is one of marketability, ask yourself: what's the last novella you read? What's the last novella you've seen published?

If selling is your focal interest, I would stay away them. Not even most writers can define what one is in concrete terms.

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Pyre Dynasty
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I've mainly seen novellas in the self-publishing stream or in anthologies. A lot of the ones that hit the anthologies are from established writers.

But at the end of the day you have to do what's right for the story. If it wants to be novella length then you aren't going to do it any favors by bloating it out to novel length. Possibly cutting it down to a short would be hurting it as well, but there is something to be said for tightening. Marketing is a step that comes after drafting, put the work in and if all it produces for you is education then it would still be worth it.

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Robert Nowall
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I wish...it seems about the perfect length for a story, not so short that you skimp and cut important information, but not so long as to overload with the same. But they take up so much space in a print magazine or anthology, and they're (mostly) too slim for independent publication...
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extrinsic
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One answer for what to do about a novella so it suits marketplace dimension parameters is to lengthen it by deepening a complication's complexity, or decreasing the complexity of the complication. Dramatic complication, the kernel of drama, is wants and problems wanting satisfaction.

Another answer is to separately compose more than one related novella and publish them simultaneously in one closely related narrative product.

Publishing marketplace economy of scale best management practices depends on comparative uniformity of physical object dimensions. From book boxes to shipping containers to bookseller shelves, the distribution channel relies on products of a comparatively uniform size.

Also, readers who buy books expect consciously or nonconsciously to expend a measured time budget reading. The price-value point is also tied to this expectation.

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Denevius
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quote:
I've mainly seen novellas in the self-publishing stream
I've seen a lot of them self-published.

The last novella I read was "Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge", which won the Hugo or Nebula. I forget which one, but that's actually the reason why I read it, and boy it was pretty disappointing.

But yeah, in self-published fiction, they do seem popular to write. I have a feeling the reasons why aren't positive, though.

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History
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Some of my favorite stories of all time are novellas (defined as stories between 17,500 and 40,000 words per the SFWA).

Here's a list of Hugo winning novellas:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Award_for_Best_Nnovellas.

Of course, at my age, it is the stories from the first couple decades of winners that I recall most fondly. A number went on to become novels, and even series of novels.

However, the major magazine markets (Asimov's, F&SF, Analog) do publish novellas. It just needs to be spectacular.

Still, it is true there are far more markets for short works, particularly under 5Kwords/

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob (who, it seems, finds the novelette length a preferred length--which is similarly limiting in regard to markets who will consider them).

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Robert Nowall
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Well, I liked the old "Ace Double" format, where each half was a novella (at least most of the time). But they don't publish them anymore, and they don't publish them like that anymore, either...
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Meredith
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Far from an expert on this. However . . .

It depends on what you want to do with it. If only traditional publishing will do, your chances are slim. But then, they always are.

Traditionally, novellas are too short to be interesting to book publishers and too long for most periodicals. Most that I've seen get published in anthologies are by big name writers (and some of them are purely horrible).

Digital publishing is opening this up, though. And not only for self-publishing. There are some digital-only or digital-first imprints that might accept a novella. (The usual warnings about making sure you're dealing with a bona fide publisher apply.) I've even known Daily Science Fiction to break a longer work into chunks and publish it over the course of a week. (For DSF, that'd probably still only come out to a novelette length or a very short novella, but other digital publishers might do something similar for all I know.)

But as Pyre Dynasty said, the first thing is to write the story the way it needs to be told. Even if it never goes any further, no writing is ever wasted. All of it helps to make us better writers.

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LDWriter2
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This is of interest to me since I have been doing novellas again.

I did a bunch when I first started writing seriously but stopped for a few years. Now though I've done three and am working on two that are close to the 17,500 range.

Three are for Indie publishing but the shorter two will be given a try at traditional publishing.

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