Inside the Fiction Factory – Part 36


I’ve taken more of an interest in the Novella format over the last year. I’ve read a number of the more well-known ones and have written one of my own which I intend to publish. I had written it for a particular submission, but it was rejected as not what they were looking for, so rather than have it cluttering up my hard drive I feel it is time to put it out into the world.

I enjoyed working within what I first felt would be a constraint. It’s a good deal shorter than a novel so I needed to get to the point far quicker than I may have done. There is also the need to focus in on a particular aspect of a plot and work on that single point which is different from having to pull together the many strands that make up a novel. It turns out these were only imagined constraints and in fact provided me a degree of freedom I hadn’t experienced when writing full length novels. Being able to concentrate on one thing I believe improved my writing and I finished the work very pleased with the result.

The experience of writing a Novella has led me to draft two more and I’m looking forward to writing these up during the year. I like the idea of drilling down into the subject of the work, exploring the theme without the concerns of the structure a novel requires. I’m finding it’s a difficult thing to explain and to put into words. I know for sure I enjoyed writing it and that’s a good enough reason to continue. I didn’t use chapters, but simply breaks in the prose which again I liked. In my novels I’m always focussed on how I finish a chapter and how it leads to the next. Not a concern in the Novella.

The format will allow me to use some ideas I have that are either insufficient or not formed enough in my head to occupy a novel. These ideas however, are too big to work into a short story, so the scope the Novella offers is ideal. Perhaps the act of exploring them in the Novella will result in a full-length novel in future. I’m not concerned if it doesn’t work out that way. The aim is to realise my ideas and get them down and I view the Novella as a useful vehicle for doing so.

I will use this format to experiment with my writing. I’m a bit hesitant right now to attempt such experimentation for a novel. That’s a huge undertaking for me and for now I’m content to write my novels in the way I do. The Novella, however, will give me an opportunity to take chances and I hope the results will help inform my future writing projects for the better.

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