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?





Do you know how to avoid a stale bio?

Not smothering your screen with Febreze, nope that’s not going to help at all.

I’ve been doing some housekeeping on my website lately and realized my bio needed a bit of updating too. So I wondered if maybe I might not be alone.

Do you need to update yours?

Like most things about writing, a bio needs editing and tweaking to keep it fresh. If you’re like me you spent hours writing a good description, posted and then forgot about it.

I mean writing about myself in the third person was embarrassing enough the first time much less revisiting it again and again.

However, as a writer, we are always evolving and changing and our bio should say that to a degree. And you need to have more than one bio.

Why? Because what works for your website may be too long for a contest but may not be long enough for an in-depth interview. And won’t work at all for a byline.

So what to do?

Write several now.

That way when the time comes you aren’t struggling to write one that meets the requirements of the publisher. You will only need to tweak it a bit.

Most ask for a third person bio, however on occasion, a first person is requested. As with all publishers, the rules are important. Read them carefully.

The things that should be included in a bio are pretty basic. Name, rank, etc.

However, don’t include:

  • I’ve been writing only 6 months and look how great I am. It’s taken 5 years to write this amazing novel. (really?)
  • I love writing! I love writing more than ice cream. (if you didn’t love to write you wouldn’t write.)
  • My husband thinks this will be a best selling novel! All of my friends love my book. (they don’t care.)
  • Copyrighted with the US Copyright Office, so don’t try and steal my story. (Geez.)
  • I have 5 kids, 3 cats and love to knit. (not important unless the book is a how to knit matching sweaters for kids and cats.)

So what type of bios do you need?

  • A short one sentence byline that can be tagged before an article:

Jean M. Cogdell, Author and blogger currently living in Texas.

  • A short paragraph bio, (usually 50 words or less) for contests and magazines.

Jean M. Cogdell, grew up in a small SC town, but now lives in Texas. Her first book, Tryout’s for Ben, available at Published stories and essays in magazines, anthologies, and journals, online and at Read about her writing and life on her website, at Jean’s Writing.

  • A longer paragraph for where requested.

Jean M. Cogdell, Author and founder of Jean’s Writing a blog dedicated to learning and sharing more about the art of writing. Her first book, Tryouts for Ben received a Five Star Review from Reader’s Favorite. The book is available at She has published short stories and essays in various anthologies and journals, for more information, visit her website. Ms. Cogdell grew up in a small SC town near the Great Smoky Mountains but now resides in North Texas with her husband where she is currently working on a new book due out this Spring.

A website bio – Go crazy – Go wild – this is your page to shine!

Personal info about yourself, your blog, family and interests. This is where you can share whatever you think inquiring minds might want to read.

Tell me, when was the last time you updated your bio?

Do you have any special tips or tricks for a good bio?

Do share in the comments and reach out on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdell and, stop by and say hey! Please remember to click and share this post with your Twitter peeps and Facebook fans.


To read more tips on writing a good bio click below:

5 Tips for Your Bio by 

How to Write Your Bio for a Byline or Query by 


How to avoid mistakes with your story

Avoiding writing mistakes is not as easy as it sounds.


At least for me. So I loved finding more helpful tips.

I enjoy short stories. Especially flash fiction. Maybe it’s my imagination. I think Flash Fiction leaves a lot to imagine. Having said that, this article helped me think how I write both short stories and Flash.

In the following post:

Mistakes to avoid in Short Story Writing By  

Ms. Parrish explains not only what mistakes to avoid, but also what is and is not a story.

What she said really resonated with me.

The reader should leave a story, seeing something they didn’t see in the beginning.

That’s a story, it’s not a description goes how things are or were, it’s not a sensibility, or a mood. These things are elements of the story, but not the story.

I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of getting bogged down with too much detail and description which can slow down the story.

Read the post by  and let me know which part of writing a story do you have difficulty with.

You can find me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdell and, stop by and say hey! Please remember to with a click and share this post with your Twitter peeps and Facebook fans.

Tips to Improve Your Odds

Sorry, I’m running late this morning. The rain pounding against my windows convinced me to snuggle down for a lazy morning. My choice was to snuggle down and enjoy the morning storm or get up and check my email for another dreaded rejection notice. I pulled the cover over my head.

When I finally finished a long, lazy morning of coffee and toast, read the newspaper – cover to cover, I opened my email. And what a pleasant surprise!

Only great tips waited on me. Thanks everybody!

Low and behold, one of them was 9 Secrets for Publishing By Andrew Winch. 

As a senior editor for Splickety Publishing Group, Mr. Winch explains the process he goes through when selecting a story. Focusing on submission tips-n-tricks as well as a few elements specific to flash fiction.

Seems as if there’s a lot more to submitting than “just follow the guidelines.”

For instance, Mr. Winch recommends, in Flash Fiction, as a guide– One character and one scene for every 300 words.

Hop over and read the entire article for inspiration and let’s make something happen.


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