Author Louise Rose-Innes is with us today, talking about writing novellas and her latest release, The New Year Resolution.
Take it away Louise …
They’re punchier than category romances, often only in one POV, and usually with a single plotline (as the length doesn’t support multiple subplots).
Despite the shorter format, they still feature the normal goals, motivations and conflicts of a full length romantic novel.
This makes them fairly difficult to write, especially for authors who are used to a longer format. The trick to writing a fast-paced novella is planning. You have limited space so you can’t ramble or waste words. You need to be absolutely clear on your characters central conflicts, what drives them and how they react in different circumstances. This way you can outline your plot points and build your character arcs convincingly.
Novella writing is a good exercise for any author, as it forces you to focus on what’s important. It also forces you to up the tension of each chapter. A novella is usually faster paced than a full length romance, so you can play with sentence structure and length to keep it interesting all the way through. You can stick to one POV, or try writing in the first person.
Lee Child likes to experiment in his short stories. Stephen King thinks that all young writers should hone their skills on novellas. He calls the novel a “quagmire that young authors stumble into before they’re ready.”
Personally, I struggle with traditional short stories (under 20,000 words). For me, the novella is a better format to work with. I like delving deeper into core conflicts and motivations and building a relationship between the reader and the heroine from the first paragraph. The novel itself, is a more complex beast, but it does give you more room to move and can be a little more forgiving.
As writers, we should experiment with all formats as we develop our skill, as this will make us more versatile overall.
Last year, divorcee Nicole had only one New Year’s Resolution – to have a date for this New Years Eve – but with no strings attached. One thing she knows for sure is that she isn’t ready for anything more complicated than a casual date.
So when eco-tycoon and international jetsetter, Ryan Jackson begs her to accompany him to a tropical island for a week, in order to impress his benefactor, Nicole categorically refuses. He’s way too hot and she’s way too vulnerable. Not a good idea.
Yet Ryan won’t take no for an answer. It’s for a good cause. She would only have to pretend to be his lover. It’s a luxury island resort with all expenses paid. How can she refuse?
Under the tropical sun, things heat up and their pretence goes out the window. Nicole gets cold feet. She’s not ready for this kind of affair. It’s doubtful she ever will be.
But have they come too far? Distancing herself from Ryan will cause him to lose the funding he so desperately needs for his eco-project, but staying with him means she’ll lose something far more valuable… her heart. And that’s a risk Nicole is simply not willing to take.