Happy December Friday from Gail Gaymer Martin.
Today I’ll talk about writing a novella. I have a lot of experience with these short novels when I wrote for Barbour and even Love Inspired has the Duet books which is two short novels under one cover. They are interesting to write since they are a challenge to create a great story in only half the pages of a regular novel.
In Part I will cover Major Differences Between a Novel and Novel and Connection between the Hero and Heroine. Part II will cover Subplots in a Novella, Setting’s Purpose in a Novella, and Time Span and Romantic Expectation
Part I – The Romantic Novella
Romantic historical and contemporary novellas are popular among readers. They are short novels, running from 20,000 to 38,000 words, yet are complete stories of two people struggling through conflicts to reach a romantic happy ending. These shorter reads are usually placed into anthologies that are thematically based on holidays, location, pleasurable interests—camping, chocolate, sewing, quilting, etc— and are enjoyed by people who dislike putting down a novel, but who have time restraints. A novella meets their need for a good book that can be read in a shorter time period.
How do novellas differ from novels?
Major differences between a novel and a novellas
• The hero and heroine often have some connection from the past—old friends, childhood playmates or who have heard about the other through friend or family.
• The plot line limits subplots to none or a minor subplot that enhances the relationship between the hero and heroine.
• The setting descriptions are mainly used to create a sense of place or to reflect the mood or emotion of the hero or heroine.
• The story covers a shorter period of time than a novel, usually no more than a month or two.
• The story does not necessarily lead to a proposal or wedding, but allows the reader to assume that as time passes the couple will make a life time commitment.
Connection between the hero and heroine
Because a romance moves through three stages of romantic feelings—awareness, interest, and attraction—a novella does not allow the time to explore these three stages fully. Having a past connection between the hero and heroine allows the relationship to develop in a speedy yet believable manner.
In “To Keep Me Warm” from Barbour’s anthology, Home for Christmas, Ken Richmond runs into Julie Gardner at a church singles group and recognizes her as a nurse from his son’s orthopedic surgeon’s office. “An Open Door” from Barbour’s From Italy With Love takes Steffi Rosetti to Milan for a fashion magazine feature where she meets, Paul DiAngelo, a newly employed photographer who works for the same magazine.
The Barbour anthology Once Upon A Time offers an anthology of modern-day fairytales. In “Better to See You,” Lucy Blake enters a wood-crafting shop in Oberammergau, Germany and finds an old friend. Here is an example:
Ahead of her, she saw a young man bent over a piece of wood. Curious, she headed toward him. She’d never seen a woodcarver and the experience excited her. But before she drew near, she faltered, a shiver of familiarity rising up her arms and down her spine. Ron. The similarity between this man and her college steady took her breath away. Ron Woodson. How long had it been? Six, maybe seven, years. Standing a few rows away, Lucy couldn’t take her eyes from him as a tender sadness washed over her, remembering their parting.
In “All Good Gifts” part of a Steeple Hill Two-in-One, The Harvest, Jill Roddy meets Ryan Walsh in a dark wooded setting, then realizes they’ve met before through his sister.
“You and I have met before. I don’t suppose you remember.” He shifted the flashlight to the left hand and extended his right. “I’m Ryan Walsh.”
“Ryan?” She accepted his handshake, allowing her memory to take her back to a sun-filled afternoon. “Yes, I remember. I’m Tess Britton.” She searched his face, recalling the vague familiarity but wondering about the change. “But you look so different.”
“I had a beard then. Plus a few extra pounds.”
“Is that it?” His amiable smile sent warmth humming along Tess’s limbs.
Whether old friends, ended relationships or familiarity through relatives, friends or coworkers, the hero and heroine’s relationship is more appealing and realistic when using these techniques.
Next month look for Part II and you’ll have the full scoop of the romantic novella.
Read my latest novella release:
Apple Blossom Daze