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Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com • Novel or novelette? : FAQs • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com
Page 1 of 2

Novel or novelette?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 3:26 pm
by Katie R
Hi everyone I'm back!

First of all congratulations to anyone who has had their stories published already. As you may have guessed I haven't yet and would like your advice.

I realize this question pertains to those who self-publish shorter e-books and those who try to traditionally publish longer novels. I'm doing my own research on that subject, but would welcome any input on which is better for getting published for the first time.

One of my short stories took on a life of it's own. The word count is growing from 5,000 to 30,000 and could go as high as 80,000. I don't want to go overboard if I add in more of the backstory, but I want it to have some substance so it keeps the reader engaged.

If this were your story what would you do?

Re: Novel or novelette?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 3:38 pm
by pls
Keep writing until it's finished.

Re: Novel or novelette?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 7:56 pm
by DrG2
to me, the worst place to be is between 7.5K and 60K words (for adult fiction). That middle ground means it's hard to place in a magazine, and is too short to be a novel.

Re: Novel or novelette?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:49 pm
by Colin Johnson
Of course, you could always make it a novelette. But personally I've always thought 45k words, give or take a few thousand,is an awkward length for a work of fiction. Long enough for the reader to get heavily invested in the story, too short for them to leave satisfied. But anyways, don't worry about word count. Make it the length the story has to be.

Re: Novel or novelette?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:07 pm
by DrG2

Re: Novel or novelette?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:50 pm
by Colin Johnson

Re: Novel or novelette?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:17 am
by mammamaia
if you're looking to publish traditionally [= with a paying publisher] in the US, your chances of getting a novella/novelette [they're close to synonymous, often used interchangably] published are slim to none...

most publishers want 80-100k for first novels by a new and unknown writer... mss much shorter than 80k will have little to no chance of being accepted... sure, there are famous exceptions, such as the 65k 'bridges of madison county,' but if you want to maximinze your work's chances, not minimize them, don't count on being a rare exception...

that said, the UK and european markets seem to be more open to novellas... and, if you want to self-publish, or offer it as an e-book, the size won't matter...

Re: Novel or novelette?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:32 pm
by Katie R
Wow! That’s a lot of input for only being posted one day.

I just told my significant other that I’m too stubborn and persistent to quit. He said good, cause this is still my dream. Like most fledgling writers, I’ve left and come back to this story. There’s no way I’m quitting until it’s finished.

Like I said, it started as a story I wanted to use in a writing contest. Then it just grew and grew.

I split the original scene I wrote between the beginning (to hook the reader in) and the anticlimax to create a satisfying ending (I hope).

It seems like expanding the story in the middle, and adding more backstory to keep the reader interested, would be the best way to make it to 80k. I don’t think I could go beyond that without rambling and losing everyone’s interest.

Keeping it under 1,500 words was hard. I wasn’t sure if it can be told the way I want around 30k for a novelette, but wanted to weigh my options before committing to a longer project.

For the most part I’m enjoying it, getting the equivalent of a “runner’s high”. If only writing burned as many calories... :)

Thank you again for all of your help!

Re: Novel or novelette?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:11 pm
by James A. Ritchie

Re: Novel or novelette?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:17 pm
by James A. Ritchie