Writing A Novella


The revolution in publishing brought two major consequences with it. The first being the fact anyone can publish as much as they can write. The second is, of course, the fact that it is much harder to get discovered and earn money from it. That problem can be solved by marketing your book all by yourself. It does seem that more and more jobs are left to you to do, but that’s more economical after all – and you can always hire someone to do it for you.

But, there is another consequence of e-book publishing that you maybe haven’t considered.

As a writer, your goal is to write novels. Of course it is – it’s the only serious thing for a writer to do. But is it? Do you know how many novels there are that are just plain bad? I have no idea (if you know, please tell me in the comments, I wish I knew).

The problem with many novels that turn out to be just bad is that they are stretched too much. The author maybe had a good idea, they maybe had a great plot but it all faded as the author continued writing just so they could have a novel.

If the author of the mentioned bad novel decided to finish their work in a different form, it could have all been great (note: it’s not necessarily the length that is the problem, this is just for the sake of argument).

That’s where novella comes in!

Novellas have always been popular. A compact story without the subplots that are unnatural (because they are often thrown in just for the sake of the word-count) and that can be read quickly.

The only problem novellas had was the fact the publishers hated novellas because there wasn’t much money to be made after they price it accordingly and share the income.

But, these days are different. We publish our work all by ourselves and share a small portion of it for the services we get. Now, according to Forbes, among others, novellas are booming.

I strongly advise you to consider writing a novella. I will, during the year, conduct an experiment myself, but before that I did my research.

Novellas are shorter than novels, obviously, so less time is needed when writing and rewriting. But the bigger picture is this: you’ll be able to deliver high-quality work that doesn’t suffer from boring subplots just to get the word-count up!

If you are writing novels, that great! No one says you can’t do both. But, if you find yourself loosing the enthusiasm for a novel or even worse, if you find yourself stretching the novel just to make it a novel – stop now! Novella is the way to go.

Novellas will definitely sell just as good as your novels, even better. We are all busy and unfortunately, some people just can’t find the time for reading lengthy novels so do your best to offer them a way to enjoy reading and save time.

As always, keep writing!

Author: Mladen Reljanović

Mladen Reljanović is the founder and lead writer at Writer to Writers. He is the author of Oaktown stories, senior student of communication and a pianist.

24 thoughts on “Writing A Novella

  1. I’ve written and self-published a few now (Freedom Lane da’ Movie, Mediterrania, and Envy). They do better in this digital age of ours. I’ve read multiple sources stating that some readers prefer shorter novels from independent authors. I agree too that you shouldn’t add fluff to increase word count. Every story is its own length for a reason. Don’t add what doesn’t belong.

    1. The important thing is that you always add to the discussion and I usually find myself thinking after reading your comments because you raise some great points 😀

    2. I’m full of them! Especially when I decided to do some novellas last year. I have a few more in the bank. The one I’m working on is thy infamous work that went from a novella to a full blown novel…

    3. Now that is the right way to go if you ask me. Letting your story unfold and realizing there’s much more to it. It’s a natural way.
      And again, I do hope I’ll get to read it 😀

    4. That’s the way to do it. Mediterrania started as a short story and ended up turning into a novella as I got deeper into three story and wanted to tell more of it.

    5. You should serve as an example to all of us – starting with modesty and overachieving 🙂
      By the way I really like the title, Mediterrania. I’m probably biased since I ‘live there’. I couldn’t find it on your blog, though. Is it on Amazon?

  2. Cool blog! I totally agree with your post. I read a novel recently that had a great premise but was unnecessarily stretched to some 90,000 words of which 40,000 was the children of the protagonist bickering. I skim-read (like a sentence or two per page) the book as not to leave it unread but I was not going to waste my time reading pages that belonged in a shredder. It seems that book sizes have grown like portion sizes in bad restaurants. Sometimes, less is more.

    1. I agree – less is more in most cases if you ask me. I did the same thing when reading a thriller (don’t even remember the name of it) where the detective’s wife was dying from cancer. All those chapters contributed nothing to the plot and were there just to give depth to him and make us feel for him – unnecessary is boring because you can tell there was no passion in writing those extra scenes.

  3. I am a big fan of novellas as a reader and writer. In a reader’s perspective, a novella length tells me that the author knew and wrote exactly what needed to be written to tell the story. As a writer, novellas are more contained, intimate, and deliberate. Their shorter length makes me feel I’m allowed to tell a sharper story. It makes me so glad to see that self publishing has helped readers appreciate novellas more, but I hope publishing houses start giving them respect and consideration again.

    1. I agree. I also very much like novellas but I fear mainstream publishers won’t bring them back. It’s just the matter of math. Honestly, I don’t have a very high opinion of publishing companies because all it boils down to is numbers – the side of quality of a novel(la) that will bring the most profit. No wonder Amazon occupied the market with its way of doing business. 😀

  4. I agree about novellas. Their length is beneficial to the reader and the writer.

    But I’m not so sure authors “pad out” their novels anymore, with all the pressure today to keep things concise, and given the amount of work required to write (especially revise, edit, and produce) a novel. There’s less reward with a longer work; however, some books do require more length, and complexity is not necessarily a bad thing if done well. The important thing is to know the difference.

    1. You might be right about that. The last couple novels I’ve read didn’t leave much impression on me so I was biased a bit because it was fairly visible there was no clear idea in them and the chapters were just passing by without affecting plot.
      As for the complexity, I encourage it completely as long as the author isn’t confused and can deliver! 😀

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