Novella vs. Novel:
It’s a marathon, folks, not a sprint.
Andrea has asked me to write about my experience writing a novella versus a full-length novel. It’s a very apropos subject, given that I’m writing a full-length now and have just passed the point where a novella would have ended. While I’m no expert, I have learned a couple of lessons the hard way.
His Abductor’s Desire is a novella. I chose novella length because at the time I had an eight-month-old and a three-year-old. With a baby still waking up at night and a household in general chaos, there was no way I could write a full-length novel. Fast forward to a year later and my household is still in chaos, but I’m trying my hand at a full-length romance anyway. (The chaos isn’t going away anytime soon!) I’m running into challenges I didn’t have with the shorter format.
With the novella, I knew what I wanted to happen in the story and how to get there. I had a very clear idea of what the conflicts were along every step of the way. I did not know my ending, but I did know my beginning and the climax of the story. I had a lot to work with from page one. This made me very excited about writing my story and getting to the root of the conflict.
All of these are true for my full-length novel. I know my beginning, I know my climax, and I have a very good understanding of my characters and their conflict. The BIG difference is that, just when I would be wrapping my story up with the novella – I have two-thirds of the story left to write. The excitement that would have propelled me right through the ending of the novella is beginning to wane. Oh, it’s still there, but more of a putter than an actual zoom.
Enter the subplot. In a novella, a writer is so focused on getting the characters from point A to point B in a short amount of time, there generally isn’t much time to focus on a subplot. Or even secondary characters for that matter. But this time around, I’m able to explore this handy tool and I hope to master it.
Montana Territory, 1887
Heiress-turned-outlaw Charity Blake is determined to get back the fortune the Davenport banking family took from her father—even if she has to hold Brent Davenport ransom to do it! After all, the seductive charmer stole something even more valuable from her five years ago: her heart. But once she has Brent in chains, Charity must face the fact that her desire for the man has grown from the sweet dreams of a young girl to the unquenchable passion of a woman. And soon it’s not clear whether she’s the captor, or the captive….
Harper St. George was raised in the rural backwoods of Alabama and along the tranquil coast of northwest Florida. It was a setting filled with stories of the old days that instilled in her a love of history, romance, and adventure. By high school, she had discovered the historical romance novel which combined all of those elements into one perfect package. She has been hooked ever since.
She lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband and two young children. Look for her short story to be included in the first Romance Writers of America anthology. She would love to hear from you. Please visit her website at www.harperstgeorge.com or connect with her on Facebook www.facebook.com/harperstgeorge