How to Write a Novella
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When you go to start your novella, remember it’s important to appreciate the form. It would be premature to start to craft your own story without first reading a collection of novellas and taking stock of elements that appeal to you. Once you feel like you have a sense of the form, it’s time to start writing. Below are SEVEN TIPS that helped me and hopefully, they help you finish your novella.
ONE. Create a compelling central character. Novellas generally focus on one main character. It’s important to spend a fair amount of time in your pre-writing process fleshing out your protagonist. Make sure you know this person inside and out and that you find them compelling enough to follow through an entire story. If you’re planning on writing your novella in the first person, you should understand the way this person talks and communicates since you will be writing entirely from their point of view.
TWO: Focus on one or two central relationships. Once you’ve defined your protagonist, decide on one or two central relationships that you will include in your story. You don’t have the time or space to write a sprawling story covering many relationships, so focus on the one or two that feel most compelling to you.
THREE: Decide on the main plot. The plot of your novella should be mapped out before you start writing. You should have a sense of the beats of your story and be able to clearly chart the dramatic arc of your narrative.
FOUR: Structure your story. Decide on what sort of dramatic structure you’re using to tell your story. Your story might be too short to use a traditional three-act structure, so keep this in mind as you map out your narrative to ensure that you have enough to justify writing a novella versus a short story.
FIVE: Write. Once you’ve adequately prepared and feel that you know your story and characters, it’s time to start writing. The writing process can be daunting, but if you’ve done your homework, you can take comfort in the fact that you already have a roadmap for your story that you now just have to execute.
SIX: Edit. Once you have the first draft, it’s time to start the editing process. Novellas involve fewer words than a long story, which makes the editing process all the more important. Revise and cut superfluous sections and make sure your novella is as concise and compelling as possible.
SEVEN: Publish. Once you have a finished manuscript, it’s time to start sending it out to any contacts you have in the publishing world. Getting a literary agent can help connect you with book publishers who might be interested in your work. Depending on how long your novella is, short story collections or literary magazines might be interested in publishing selections from your novella or possibly serializing it. Self-publishing is always an option, and short works like novellas can often do quite well when sold as digital ebooks accessible on handheld devices like the Kindle.
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2 thoughts on “Seven Tips That Helped Finish My Book”
Great tips, but I think #5 is the most important of all. If there’s any advice worth repeating over and over which applies to writers from all walks of life, it has to be ‘just write’. Anyway, thanks for this post!
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I couldn’t agree more with you! I think writing as consistent as possible–whether it’s 5 or 500 words a day. Keep going, and keep writing.
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it