Monday, March 28, 2016

Writing Short When You're Long-winded

I’m trying my hand at my very first novella. Anyone else had practice with that? It’s kind of tough for me to think in anything less that 75-90K words (or more). I guess that goes along with being an extrovert/chatty sort of person, but thinking ‘short’ is tough.

Plus I'm a good old Southern Appalachian girl. And we like to talk.
The one short story I’ve written took three weeks to write – just because I had to keep condensing, and condensing, and chopping away some more to meet the 2500 word requirement.
It’s tough stuff writing short when you’re long-winded.
So I’m finished with chpt 1- a whopping 2911 words out of 20K. Will I make it? We’ll see. LOL
What are some tips to writing short?
1. One basic story line - from what I understand, novellas focus more on one major story line than novels. There's not enough space for more. Since I write romance, the main story line focuses on the romance, even though I plan to still have a secondary motivation for my heroine. 
2. Less flowery and more concise (I have lots of trouble with that). 100,000 word novels give lots of margin to develop secondary story line and secondary characters. It also allows for more descriptions. But I'm learning that I can still describe things well but in a more concise way for a novella. Will see how well I do by the end :-) I have a sneaky suspicion my 20,000 words will probably turn into 40k and I'll have a lot of editing to do in the end.
3. Fewer secondary characters - having fewer secondary characters and less description does not mean you can't still make all of your characters memorable. I like a large cast of characters because they end up turning into other novel ideas. As I'm writing this current novella, I have only two secondary characters that are prevalent in the story.
So, I'm ready for your advice. Have you read the novella? What did you learn from the process?

Pepper D. Basham - Pepper is a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, mom of five, music pastor’s wife, and speech-language pathologist. When she’s not sleeping, she’s creating fictional worlds where good defeats evil, laughter reigns, and adventure thrives. She's won several awards for her fiction and currently lives with the writing motto – “Write in the moment. You’re not promised the next ten minutes.”

Pepper writes a variety of genres, from Contemporary romance to fantasy or historical to supernatural, all with some of her Appalachian culture sprinkled in.


Anonymous said...

I wrote a modern day Cinderella retelling novella a few years ago and um YES it was SO hard. LOL It's a really good creative challenge though to keep everything moving at a good clip.
You can do it, Pepper!

Angie Dicken said...

I am writing a novella proposal right now. It's tough to think of a story being told in 20,000 words! IF you want to critique together it might be super fun to swap as we go!!
Love, Ang