Novellas are great for both authors and readers for a number of reasons, the length of the story, time spam of plot, fewer characters who usually have an established relationship in the present or the past, read in a shorter time for readers who don’t like to put a good book down and a story that can please.
The novella is between 20,000 to 30,000 word count so it’s easier for the author to write and it provides short but enjoyable stories for readers. The plot focuses on the main characters and one major event but can still provide twists and turns. My new novella, Apple Blossom Daze, has humor and a great twist to the romance. In this busy world, readers who hate putting down the book can finish the novella in a short period of time.
The story is usually set over a few days, weeks or occasionally months and usually with characters who have a connection. This is the most common relationship in romance novellas. A suspense will more likely be a cozy suspense than a heavy duty plot.
The storyline in a novella must remain focused on the characters, so a subplot must provide a direct purpose to the outcome of the novel and be short and significant.
Where the novella is set adds a sense of place, including the time of year and the time period. The author can use items or incidents to help the reader know the time period. A cell phone tells the reader it’s contemporary or a stage coach sets it up for a historical. Signs of the seasons are picnics or swimming in a lake, leaves drifting from trees, snowfall or tulips peeking up from the soil. Sun or moon tells the time of day. This gives the reader a taste of realism and takes them to the familiar senses of the seasons in a few words.
The mood of a novella is best recognized as soon as possible. Apple Blossom Daze makes the humor evident by the title, Daze instead of Days. A silly situation or a snappy line at the beginning also shows humor. A dark street and eerie shadows in the opening scene sets up a suspense or terror novel. But the mood needs to tug at the emotion throughout the shorter novella. Though the story might have a serious message in and under the humor, the lighthearted feeling needs to be prevalent. The same with suspense, mystery or romance.
Whether a novel or a novella, the important element is to leave readers with tears in their eyes or a smile on their lips. Tension is important in the character’s lives. It heightens a romance or suspense. Even comedy is set up with tension, resulting by reader anticipation or hints of what’s to come. Novellas get to the plot, the goal and the problems quickly in a realistic manner, and because it’s short, it provides readers with a satisfying ending.
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