Monday, November 16, 2009

Keeping It Short

Keeping It Short

The first piece of fiction I sold was a story of under one thousand words, so it’s not surprising I’ve found a niche in novellas. Among the benefits of writing short are how quickly the story comes together. Writing, editing, publication can all be done in a short period of time. One of the downfalls is how little story you can fit in fifty manuscript pages.

The writer needs to focus on the point of the story and tell you only what you need to get there. Every word must be chosen to have the biggest impact. Extraneous fluff gets cut. Because as brief as the story is, is has to be satisfying.

Do you read short fiction? Do you have a preferred word length? Readers might not always know the word count, but most epublishers have short novellas (15-18,000), novella (20-40,000) short novel (45-60,000), novel (65-80,000) and long or super novel (80-120,000). For reference, Harlequin series books, the thin ones, are around 50,000 words, and the thick historical romances on the bookstore shelves are in the 80,000+ range.

My upcoming release, Kyle’s Redemption , which falls into the novella category, is the longest piece I’ve published. As I wrote it seemed like I had all kinds of story in there, compared to say, Honey or Death by Sex, both of which take place in an evening. I do have novel-length manuscripts, but I think the thrill of writing The End is addicting. I don’t see myself sticking to the longer books, if I can help it.

Kyle’s Redemption tells the story of Lily, Cait’s best friend in Celtic Rhythm.

Six years ago, Lily Astor looked forward to establishing herself in the Los Angeles art world. In one painfully public moment, those dreams were shattered. Now she has the chance to try again, but the invitation to exhibit comes from a gallery owned by Kyle Ventura. The man who should have cleared her name.

After a night of eyebrow-singeing sex, Kyle realizes who Lily is and his role in her downfall. Now, as his heart falls deeper for Lily, he needs to make amends. But Lily doesn’t want his help, just his body.

For the first time in his life, sex isn’t enough for Kyle. He wants to show Lily he’s not the man he was six years ago. But first, he has to prove it to himself.

For a sneak peak, before it releases on 11/18, you can sample the excerpt or check out the book trailer. And come celebrate with me at my blog, where I’ll be hosting a week-long contest! Rules are on the blog, with multiple chances to win.


Annie Nicholas said...

I remember this story!

I hear you on the addiction of writing novellas. My rule is to only write two a year. If not then my novels would never get finished. Congrats on the release.

Cathy M said...

Great job on the trailer,Ari. I love watching the growth of a character, and Lilly sounds like she is definitely going to get some payback.


Ari Thatcher said...

Annie, you're smart to limit yourself. I have the follow up to Jon McCracken in the plotting stages. I hope to work on it alongside future novellas so I can keep both going.

Cathy, thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed the trailer!

Fedora said...

Ari, it's tricky to write short and write it well! Congrats on hitting your stride with that length! I do enjoy short fiction, but there's a gift to balancing all the character development, plot, and everything else in the shorter word count! Looking forward to reading Kyle's Redemption!

f dot chen at comcast dot net

Sandra Sookoo said...

I made my start with shorts. Now, I'll do novella-length stuff just for fun as a way to distract my brain from full length.


J Hali Steele said...

Ari, welcome to PR! Most all, except my Purple P Rose stories (12K), had been novellas until the Angels in Love series. I like novella's because like you said, they're quick to write, keep you to the point, and I find most of what I read anymore are novellas and short e-novels.

Nice work on the trailer, Ari.
Good luck on your release. Hope sales soar for you.

Jane said...

Hi Ari,
I do enjoy short fiction. I have heard it's a challenge to fit all the necessary components in a limited amount of space.

Rebecca Royce said...

I love shorts, I love your writing, and I'm so thrilled you blogged here today.

Catherine Gayle said...

I can't write short. I've tried. It just doesn't work for me.

I can't even manage a novella, it seems, or something that would be more category length than full length/single title. If it doesn't top out at over 80K, it wasn't written by me.