Novella! Novella! Novella! Here are some tips for writing that not-so-novel story you thinking of writing.

Did you guess that this post is going to be about novellas? Let me go on.

You could say that it’s the novel’s little cousin. The unwanted and barely tolerated child of the publishing industry and pushed aside by society. People do not realise that there are some very prominent novellas; Animal Farm, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, A Christmas Carol, The Little Prince, and The Metamorphosis. These stories have left a major mark on people’s collective consciousness.

You too can do that (whether it’s because of good writing is up to you)!

So how do you write a novella?

Well, just like how you write a novel. You need a lot tears (or repressed tears if you don’t cry), feels of inadequacy, some imposter syndrome and a sprinkling of hope and desperation. Oh and maybe have a story to tell as well.

Here is what you need to do to write a novella;

  • Stick to one major conflict and revolve around that. No side quests, they’re a distraction, especially that insta-love bull.
  • Focus on one or two main characters/POV. No one else matters, especially that one character whose purpose is to say one line and then disappear forever into the abyss.
  • Use fewer words, with fewer letters. After all, big city fancy words are for novels written by pretentious wannabees who talk about writing rather than actually writing.
  • Pick an idea that it total unoriginal, but totally original to you because only you can write it like no one else.
  • Find time to write. Have one less kid if you need to, or maybe ditch the child-rearing onto the other parent and then wonder why your kids have a favourite parent, that just happens to not be you. After all, it’s a novella you’re writing, not a novel. What’s their problem?
  • Step back and see that story you were working on has become something and that should make you proud because completing a story no matter the size is not a task done every day. And not just anyone can write a novella. It takes someone with just as much muchness to create a novella as a novel.

So this is what you need to do to write a novella. Use all this and you’ll at least create something that resembles a shorter version of a novel.

100 days of writing, editing, and story-making.

My arrival in Utrecht coincides with the coronavirus shutdown. The beginning of my six months of freedom should be documented to make me more accountable. I plan to make the most of this time and make up for the last year of general disappointments. I’ll be updating my progress in 10 day lots as opposed to weekly because I’m now running in a different time zone. So look out for my progress reports and see if I either fly or fall ūüôā

2020 two book goal

I’ve decided what my two stories are for my 2020 goal are. It’s the witch story and Tune In (landing page TBA). I’ve already got my prequel Jumpstart almost completed and are now working on the next book in the series. I have no idea where about the story will end, but I think I will have a lot of fun with it.

I’ve given myself the goal of writing 500-1000 words a day on either story so I can at least finish it. I have no idea how long either is and I’m mostly winging it by planning a couple thousand words ahead each time.

Using a plot outline for the first time

I had a loose idea of a story that I wanted to write. It involves witches, ye old times and maybe the undead but I didn’t really know where I was going with it and how to get there. So instead of doing my old and tried true method just doing a rough outline with points and ideas added to it as I go or just winging it, I decided to find a novel template (something I hadn’t bothered to do before) and see where it takes me.

I found Derek Murphy’s ‘The One-Page Novel Plot Outline‘ and was like, this looks put together, so I printed it out and started to fiddle with my story. With brainstorming with the ideas I had and intending to set up the inciting incident, I somehow ended up with a 6000-word first chapter that maybe is its own contained story with leads to a sequel. I’m not tossing out what I wrote because I like it and maybe that’s how I’ll set my book up. Long chapters that contain mini-stories that push towards an overall story, why not?

I’m working on chapter two and brainstorming ideas that will lead to connections to later on for foreshadowing or something. Who knows what I’ll think up of.

Works in progress

Currently, I’m looking at shorter works that I can polish up while I’m in a bit of a writing slump. There is this one group of short prequel stories that belong to a story I haven’t written yet. That’s three years old now and I’m starting to panic. The days are passing by, and I’m not as successful as I want to be.¬†I am also moving to the Netherlands in about two months and the stress is getting to me.

The most current things I’m rotating between are;

  • A social sci-fi YA that I think will be quite¬†long. It’s 60ish thousand words and maybe a third? done. Not too sure where I’m heading with the end. Maybe I might have to break it into two books? Atm, I’ve run¬†out of steam so it’s going on the back burner until I get some¬†more ideas for it.
  • A dystopian novel that is not even halfway through the first draft but I have a guestimate of where the ending is. I’ve changed the POV from first to third so it needs a rewrite.
  • A sci-fi YA that’s over 120 thousand and I need to complete the 3rd draft. I’ve lost a character somewhere and need to resolve that one.
  • The prequel stories I’m editing at the moment does not have a novel attached to them and I need to write a story plan for that, plus write a first draft of the novel.

I don’t think I’ll have any stories ready for publication for at least 12 months. That worries me because I wanted to have more done by now. I’m almost 30 and with not much to show for it. I know when I move I will¬†have some time off and hopefully, I’ll use it to my full advantage.

 

Looking back on my first book

Feet or Fins was first published four years ago. It entered the world quietly because I didn’t market it and that was a good thing because of how bad it was written. I had to have a friend point it out¬†to me and I went back and was like, ‘Yeah, your right. Good thing no one bought it.’

That was my first foray into the self-publishing world and boy was I glad no one noticed.¬†I did like 14/15 drafts of that book and it still wasn’t good enough ūüė¶ But the next draft was immensely better. Thank you,¬†friend.

For the longest time, it was only on Smashwords and then I got over the idea that Amazon was somehow lesser because it was a global corporation and knew that it would help me if I joined. Then I used the site to create a paperback version. By this stage, I had created a second cover image and when I finally got around to ordering a physical copy for myself I saw a few formatting issues. I used asterisks to separate some scenes instead and a few of them were out of place. Recently I updated my cover image again! I think this one is a lot nicer, and it features two mermaids.