Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Novel versus novella

I once heard a non-writer ask why an author would write a novella rather than a novel. My short, non-sexy answer is because the author has a contract for a novella rather than a novel.

My novellas--I'm working on my third now--have all been contracted at 25,000 to 30,000 words. That's roughly a quarter of one of my novels. (My novel contracts have been for 95,000 words--give or take, you understand.) So in writing a novella, I have to limit things: limit the time over which the story takes place, limit the number of characters, and limit the focus to pretty much the hero and heroine.


  1. I assumed you were writing novellas for the contract reason. I didn't realize the word "limits" associated with novella vs novel. Thanks for sharing that!

  2. Hi, Bea! I think length can probably vary. The two anthologies I've been in have each been four author anthos. I think I've seen some that are only three authors, so that word count might be longer.

    I just popped over the Romance Writers of America site to see how they define novella for their Rita contest--their word range is 20,000 to 40,000. Hope that helps--and thanks for commenting!