Novella problems

I want to start this posting with a disclosure. I do not mean this to sound harsh, ungrateful, like I’m attacking anyone, or in any way mean to offend someone. I merely just want to provide some insight to reason why novellas may not be as developed as one might want.

This post comes from comments relating to my novella The Last Christmas. I read every comment and review that I come across because I want to perfect my craft. I want to learn how I can improve and make a better reading experience. Some readers have wished that there was more of the character’s experience. I take this as readers want 20 events instead of 10 or even just more details with the characters. This comment was also made by a coworker of mine.

I am not disagreeing with any commenter who says this and my coworker and I had a great chat about reasons for the lack of more. The reasons are rather simple and I hope this explains why The Last Christmas or any novella you read may not have as much as you want.

The writing process is fun but the query process of publication is stressful. I have found few companies willing to publish novellas unless you’re someone like J.K. Rowling. Companies are far more flexible if you have a following of millions and your name will guarantee mega sales. I’ve have found that most publishers putting out novels will want about 80k words. The few publishers that I’ve found printing novellas want 50k or less.

With just these two standards you are looking at difficult choices. Let’s just say you’re at 65k words. Do you add fluff or unnecessary material to make the 80k mark? Let’s just say you do. Did the fluff add to the work? Will readers now get bored? Will the publisher still want it? So let’s just say you make the choice not to add fluff but you need to now take out 15k words.

The average double space page that is Times New Roman Font sized 12 is roughly 300 words which means you now need to cut 50 pages from your manuscript. This means that some details the reader wants are missing but the read isn’t slowed by unnecessary details.

This example is similar to one I am currently facing. I have a previous work that was about 82k words and I went through an editing process and cut out 16k words. I have a publisher who is interested in the work but I am going to have to make it a novella. This means I have another 16k words to cut which may mean the sacrifice of some details. Is it worth it to have the work out or is it better to have it on my hard drive?

I want you to know that I am grateful for your support and your feedback and just know there are times that I too wish there was more. However, I would much rather leave you wanting more than have never been able to introduce you to my works.


Published by dwsaur

Author of Metal Like Me (2019) and Dark Days (2020)