Do you think your novel could be a novella?

This is something I’ve considered before.

Novel or Short Story, Part 2

Maybe I just need to wrap things up and call it a day.

Writing a novel is a daunting task. A finished novel, after editing and cutting, will be about 60,000 words. Which means I need to write about 80,000 or more. Gotta give the editor plenty to slash out of the manuscript. Sigh…

So maybe I should consider changing my goal.

Have you ever considered the novella?

There is a lot more wiggle room regarding word count, with a novella. Usually between 30 to 60,000. With fewer words, comes fewer characters, fewer scenes, and fewer conflicts. Story structure is still very important but with the novella, things happen fast. There isn’t time to drag out the tension nor room to waste words. 

No, we must get to the point quickly, leading the reader to the climax with little detours. 

How would you go about taking your current WIP and turning it into a novella?

  • Make an outline using 3 acts
  • Limit the characters to those necessary to the purpose of the story
  • Edit out unnecessary characters and subplots (this is hard)
  • Limit to one single but satisfying conflict, question or goal
  • Increase and build the pace toward the final conflict during the 3rd act.

Want to read more about writing a novella read the following article from Bridget over at Now Novel

How to write a novella: 6 essential tips

What do you think? Do you see a novella in your future?

Do you think it would be harder or easier to write a novella?

Still want more? Click and read Part 1:

Why Not Turn Novel into a Short Story?





17 thoughts on “Do you think your novel could be a novella?

  1. My ‘Irish Family Saga’ started out with a short story that turned into a novella, which had a sequel that was a bit longer and I’m now on the fifth novella in the series. So I wrote one by accident, really. I think what Tejaswi said about writing the story and not worrying too much about word count is the way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I wish I could still do it like that, Jean. That book was a once of, I think. Now I usually have the end before I even have the beginning, lol. At least it gives me something to work towards. It’s the middle bit that difficult. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am trying to write speculative fiction right now (scifi or fantasy, maybe) which seem to want more words. In the future I am thinking of mystery/suspense which might get by with less, but I haven’t looked into that yet. So novellas? Not there yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are several speculative fiction emags you might want to check out. I don’t see why a novella wouldn’t work with that genre but I can see how the need for world building is there. Good luck be sure and let me know when it’s ready for a look see.


    1. 20,000 words makes a whole lot of difference to length of narrative and intricacy of plot. It’s enough that you can essentially insert an entire sub plot.
      Novella’s I find read more like short stories. Much more focussed on the overarching theme whereas novel’s have the breadth to explore the setting and characters.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, you could add to it, you know 😀
    I agree with you, though… sometimes you must stick to the story rather than have a word count target. Well, I am not really well-read, but there is Marie Corelli to fall back to, as inspiration. (I doubt if anyone from this generation has ever read her works… but you can have a look as well… tell me if you like it 🙂 and as for novella, who really cares? A story is a story… write it as best as you can, how best you know you can… and we will love it.. )

    Take care…

    Liked by 1 person

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