How Writing a Novella Helped My Writing

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Since publishing Shadow Of The Wicked, I’ve had a lot of people asking me why I chose to write a novella instead of a full-length novel. I’ve had people suggesting it to be too much effort, or was I looking for a specific target audience. The truth to why is below but first, if you’re new to this term novella, I’ll discuss what it is and then answer, why I chose to write one.

What Is a Novella?

So, what is a novella? A novella is a story that is shorter than a full-length novel but longer than a short story. Novellas incorporate many narrative and structural elements of novel-length stories, but they often focus on a single point of view. The interesting thing about form and structures is that you don’t have to always follow the rules. My novella Shadow Of The Wicked has two point of view characters telling the story.

I wanted to tell the one story from two perspectives because life isn’t always one-sided.

How Long Is a Novella?

This is where it gets confusing. Depending on your source there are differnent GUIDELINES to your word count. For my blog’s sake, I’ll use Reedsy as an example. On their post, Word Counts: How Long is a Novella, Novelette, and Short Story? It suggests that 17,500 – 40,000 words.

Novellas vs. Novels: What’s the Difference?

The most obvious difference between novels and novellas is page length and number of words. However, beyond this superficial difference there are many structural and thematic hallmarks of novellas that make them their own standalone genre of writing. Some of these include:

  • A single central conflict. Most novellas explore a single, compelling central conflict. Because of their shorter length, novellas have less time to explore subplots and tend to focus on the main plot. Novellas generally have one main character and a handful of secondary characters. Because of length constraints, most of the character development will be focused on the protagonist.
  • Fast pacing. Novellas usually move at a quick pace. Whereas novels can spend time diverging from the central conflict to delve into back story and explore multiple points of view, novellas generally offer a quick compelling story with a singular point of view.
  • Unity of time and place. When writing novellas, writers should root the action in continuous time within a limited space, ideally one location.

How It Helped My Writing?

I wrote a novella to fine tune my writing.

How? Think of a novella as Act 1 within a novel. While writing Shadow Of The Wicked I had to make sure I had to make sure it was fast paced and coherent. No subplots. No pantsing ONE central conflict. I won’t spoil my book but that’s what it is. It asks one question and answers one question.

Will magick be restored or extinguished?

Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll discuss the techniques I used to write a novella. If you want more publishing tips, make sure you scroll through the blog and check out my Youtube Channel

If you like what you read, if you have any questions or ideas, make sure you post your comments below. If you think someone has an interesting point of view, a question or an answer, please invite them or share this post with them.

#DouglasWTSmith #novella

5 thoughts on “How Writing a Novella Helped My Writing

  1. Your post today has me thinking that maybe I should write a novella using the backstory of the protagonist in the novel I’m writing. Thank you for giving me a new project to ponder. No, really. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you should definitely write a novella for your protagonist. Even if you don’t publish it, it could give you an insight for why they do things. If you don’t want to write a new story, filter the backstory throughout your novel to give your protagonist more depth and realistic. Good luck with it 😊👍


  2. I love novellas, especially as a writer. It allows you (and forces you) to focus on a narrow plot and limited cast of characters, which allows you to give them a bit more dedication and love. And since they are shorter, you can write/read more of them!

    Liked by 1 person

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