The stories that I have written and destined for publication fall into the novella category. Longer than a short story and yet not as long as novels. So it may beg the question, why?
I write in the novella length, because I can.
E-Novellas, especially self-published ones, are a viable product
In the age of e-readers, shorter stories are viable and marketable. Shorter, self-contained stories are just as entertaining and people do buy them.
When I self-publish, I don’t have a publisher putting a potentially artificial word limit on the story. I can write and finish the story that I want to. I read somewhere (I’ll add the citation if I find it again) that the 90K novel format was pushed by the publisher houses to justify higher book prices. Not sure if it is true, but it well could be. I look at my favorite books from the 1990’s and they are much shorter than the tomes now.
I can write, edit and publish stories faster.
From a reader and fan point of view, it means that the series can move forward more smoothly. Novella length stories are a lot easier for me to work on. My mind can hold the whole story at once and I can do edit runs in one or two sittings.
My plan is to publish one story every few months. No need to wait for a year for the next novel. That way if I get some extra time and ideas, I will be able to do a few standalone stories around the edges of the main series as well.
My mind can hold a novella.
Don’t get me wrong, I would love to put out novels as well. And as I develop into a more mature writer, maybe I will. I have started several, but the grand sweeping nature of them tends to overwhelm my mind. I get lost in the threads and the complexity and it falls apart. The novella length, though, seems to fit in my head better. I can know the whole thing and mentally direct it easier.
It fits with my idea of the series.
I love epic fantasy. I read David Eddings’ five book series’ as a kid and loved them. I re-read the Wheel of Time saga every time a new one came out just to have it in my head to devour the latest book. And yet I don’t really want to be that kind of author, at least not right now.
On the other hand, I love Anime. An Anime series isn’t like a sitcom. It has a story arc and a definite direction within the season, and yet each episode (or small group of episodes) is a complete story as well. This is the idea that I driving me for Crossing the Dropline. Characters that are definitely going somewhere longterm, but with the overall story told in smaller chunks.
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Although I kind of fell into writing shorter works, I am thrilled to be doing it like this. My mind is happier and I actually finish projects that I start.