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.

Save One draft 8

Beautiful-African-Woman-174795229_2560x3835_preview4largeI’ve just managed to finish the eight draft of this novella 🙂 It’s been a long time coming. I wasn’t going to be doing any editing at the moment, but after having a talk to one of my friend’s convinced me to push myself. I did 39 pages in one day and the other 15 the next day 🙂

Overall I didn’t need to do that much to it I think it might be ready with three more drafts. I don’t know exactly when I’ll put this one out, but I want it done and dusted by July.  It is currently 32,500 words or 54 A4 pages.

Are publishers going the way of Hollywood?

I seem to be noticing that quite a few new books are being presented as retellings. I don’t know if I’m getting a skewed sense of what’s coming out, but is anyone else noticing all these reboots?

Is it because it’s just easier to piggyback and not bother taking a leap of their own? If that’s the case then why are you so scared? I mean how much seemingly original/innovated content is there being published and how much is being overlooked?

Then what?

In 9 weeks I’m going to be 28 years old! I’ve never been so old before. Yesterday I was thinking about my future as a writer and storyteller. Currently, I’m making very little from my writing, but I do only have four titles out. My immediate plan of 10 books by age 30 seems like something I’ll accomplish either on time or even beforehand.

But then what?

All the money I’m earning at the moment is coming from my day job as bartender/waitress. It helps immensely that living in the UK means I do not have to worry about healthcare 🙂

But sometimes my thoughts go to where I’ll be in ten, twenty even thirty years time. I have ideas of what or where I’ll be like to be. I’m planning on still being writing, I’ll be disappointed if I’m not getting some form of decent income from it. I expect that after a decade of publishing I’ll start to see those dividends. But if I don’t, I won’t regret writing at all.

I try not to compare myself to other authors regardless of how they become more well known than me because their path is different to mine. But then again it would be nice to have enough of an income to take an extra day off work to work on my stories instead of using the time between my shifts. But the only way that can happen is to keep on writing.

How do I write my books faster?

Can’t I just look at a screen and have it materialized through my thoughts alone!?

If only.

Personally, I’ve found that there are a few tips that make writing my books faster.

  1. Be passionate about writing. Emotions will fuel my desire more than anything else.
  2. Knowing your destination is half the journey. I usually have a rough idea of where I want a new story to end. That means I have to work out what happens along the way so I can get there.
  3. Actually, like your story idea. If I don’t then I don’t bother with it.
  4. Keep at it. It is not the smartest or most talented that succeed, it is the ones that persist the most. Remember brilliant authors started out terrible.
  5. Have fun and write for yourself. Writing for pleasure takes me further than writing for money or market. If what you’re writing is hard then something is probably wrong with it. ie, number 3, not enough research/limited life understanding, doing it for the wrong reasons.
  6. Edit like a machine. What I like may not be right for the story and characters I have created. So I change them to make them work for the story’s overall theme/idea.
  7. If something seems not right, then it’s not right. My intuition about something out of place is usually correct, something I have honed in over time. But it may not be for the reason I think. That’s why it’s best to leave your work for a week or month. Or get others to read it and have them tell you what they think.
  8. Accept that it will be flawed. To be human is to error and be imperfect. Accepting this view makes me less of a perfectionist and it frees up my mind so that I’m not afraid to write that first draft.
  9. Forgo other things. Ultimately, like any other skill, the more your write the better you become. To be a great or proficient writer you have to sacrifice the time you would have spent on others things and divert them to sitting in front of a computer. Less time socializing, less time at the gym or doing other hobbies. For some people, this is an issue, but if you think yourself as a full-time writer then it is not.

All my new stories from 2016

Once you go sci-fi you can’t go back.

It appears that in the last year I have been working on nothing but sci-fi story ideas. Being inspired by The Force Awakens has really left a deep impression on me. I’ve got a fourth story being mulled out atm 🙂 I’m writing down my thoughts on it as I type.

I’ve written and edited twice over a draft of one YA Sci-fi, I’m almost finished writing another and I’ve got two other stories in their beginning stages 🙂 But I think it is going to be quite a while before they see the light of day 😦