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Reading The Art of the Novella

Stretching it into a standard-length novel would only dilute it. Some stories meant to be brief, enigmatic vignettes; some require more of an arc but are still streamlined enough to fit in a single-sitting, cinematic timeframe; others require hundreds of pages to fully realise their ideas.


  • “Life” – Burbuqe Raufi’s Epic Novella – Part II.
  • The First Adventure: Feyland Series Prequel Novella;
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I think trying to force a story into a length it wasn't born for leads to books that feel either underdeveloped or overstuffed. Wikipedia has a list of wordcounts for various novella prizes, and the range is huge, from 7, to 40,, the lower end of which many might still consider a short story.

Some definitions place the top end of the novella as high as 70, words. But some authors disagree that novellas should be based on word counts at all. Others suggest that the novella is a story in one act, a definition I find problematic as there is plenty of room for structure within a 40, word piece.


  • The Cambridge Companion to Sam Shepard (Cambridge Companions to Literature).
  • The Joy of the Novella.
  • Blenheim Orchard.

For the early career writer, the novella provides a great opportunity to learn not just how to write but also how to edit. Novellas are less intimidating, can be written more quickly and give the author the opportunity to explore different genres and voices. A novel, and especially an epic, is a huge emotional investment and it can be risky to put all your creative eggs in one basket if things go wrong.

Gillian Redfearn, deputy publishing director of Gollancz , suggests that novellas provide authors with valuable experience. For self-publishers, novellas also provide an opportunity to rapidly create a body of work. It also gives you the chance to experiment and develop your voice.

4 thoughts on “What is the basic structure of a novella?”

My own self-published output has been made up of novellas and short stories , with more on the way. Publishing shorter works more frequently helps with profile-building because it gives me more to talk about on social media and in my monthly newsletter. But is there any point submitting novellas to a traditional publisher, who generally have shied away from publishing mid-length works?

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Redfearn says yes. Chen creates a hybrid West Coast restaurant noir novella. A great read. Finn Roose is an opportunistic restaurant manager who finally gets in over his head when he meets an underage femme fatale.

Writing A Novel? What’s in a Word Count? Lean Novella vs Mighty Novel

Lives are shattered and bullets fly through the salty ocean air in this fast-paced debut from Sarah M. Lauden, Bad Citizen Corporation and Crosswise. A challenging, unsentimental look at a man who may be beyond redemption. Chen is a writer to watch.

M- An Epic Novella! by Annie Landreville | Blurb Books

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