Friday, August 04, 2006

Novel, Novella, Novelette

I think that's the downsizing order. Novels are supposed to be at least 70,000 words, novellas 20K to 70K, and novelettes 10K to 20K. Or, something like that. It varies, depending on publisher.

So, I'm writing this novel that's turning into a novella, or maybe a novelette. Why is that? I've got chapters 1-8 pretty much written. Everything is there that should be there, but it's only 14,000 words. I'm looking at another 4 or 5 chapters and danged if it only adds up to a little over 25K words even if I meander around all over the place.

What's missing? Characters - check, fleshed out, fully-formed. Plot - yup, goes from a beginning to an end with a nice middle.

Am I a died-in-the-wool short story writer? Must be as anything and everything I think about adding I envision some critter (critiquer) saying "well, that's just excess crap--cut it out."

I just finished reading "Crypt0nomicon" for the second round. It's nearly 900 pages long. Neal Stephenson meanders off in these side things all the time. For goodness sakes! He's got four or five pages on the proper way to eat Cap'n Crunch cereal! Could I get away with that. I'm pretty sure that I couldn't.

So, I'll just see if I can get up to 25K words this time round. Maybe my next try at a novel will actually get to novel size. That's a lot of words. Hmm, can I write a couple thousand words on granola?


  1. Hey Marva, "Sam" here from WD. :) I suppose it depends what POV you write in. I'm a 3rd person limited. Subplots worked for me. Six or seven of them. You have to make sure they all have a purpose in the story and all must connect as some point--certainly by the end of the book. It will enrich your plot, add depth to the characters, and help add those much needed words!

  2. These are what I go by:

    Novellas: 15,001 - 30,000 words
    Categories: 30,001 - 45,000 words
    Novels: 45,001 - 75,000 words
    Plus Novels: 75,001 - 100,000 words
    Humongous Novels: 100,001 + words


  3. Thanks, you guys. It's nice to know somebody reads my blog.

    M.E. Thank you for that clarification on lengths. Now, we figure out what "Categories" means, right?

  4. Write the best story you can. Tell the story and nothing more, then sort out the words. Writing to word count is a job; telling a story, now that's an art form.