Recently I released Fortune's Risk, a novella set in the Star Thief universe with some of the same characters from the first book. I'd never written one before, but I wanted something to bridge the gap between books and I thought it might be a good way to do it. So I said what the hell!
Fortune’s Risk was a lot of fun to write, but it was also a much bigger challenge than I expected. I love writing novels, love having all the freedom to explore the themes, plot and characters in as many words as I like. You don’t necessarily have that in a shorter form story and there were some major lessons learned!
5 Things I learned writing a Novella
1. Less is more - You're working with a limited amount of space in a novella, and you need to choose your words and descriptions very carefully, to both paint a picture and convey personality. I thought about my word choice much more carefully in the novella than I usually do in my longer stories.
2. Plotting is key - because of the length, you need to make sure your writing and plot is as tight as it can be. No meandering dialogue, no extra scenes. Everything needs to serve a purpose.
3. Characterization is equally important – You have fewer words to help your reader get to know your characters, so you have to really focus on the words and scenes that will help readers understand their motivations and personality.
4. You can still slip in some romance – All of my books seem to have some romance in them, and Fortune’s Risk was no different. But with this novella, since the focus wasn’t the romance, it was more of a secondary plot twist. It wasn’t as fleshed out as it would be in my full length novels, but it was fun to sneak it in.
5. Novellas are good for commitment-phobes – Writing a novel is a huge commitment and can take several months (or years). A novella is a fun way to get a storya completed in a fairly short amount of time and a good way to play with different aspects of your writing. Fortune’s Risk focused on two characters who didn’t get much screen time in The Star Thief, but didn’t rate their own full length novel.
So there you have it. I will definitely consider writing more novellas in the future. I think it was a lot of fun and readers have been very excited to have that extra peek into the Star Thief world.
How about you guys? Does length of a story matter to you? Do you prefer to read novels or novellas?