I know so many writers who struggle to stretch their story beyond fifty thousand words to get the novel they desire. News flash: Most Publishers want novels that are more in the 75,00-95,000 word range. Or at least the publishers I’ve researched.
But we have this great age in which novels are not the only option. There are a multitude of opportunities to reach readers with shorter stories. So what are the classifications?
A good short story is usually around 5,000 words. Sometimes over sometimes under but once you get near 10,000 it’s pretty meaty.
I love to write and let the story tell me what length it will be. So what happens when it is say 12,000 or 18,000 words? That is a novelette. Lesser known but growing in popularity. As more people read on their phones and multitask they don’t always have time for a large novel or even a novella. Novelettes have been gaining readers in recent years because of this.
Some publishers see them as a waste of time, but it also depends on the genera. Novelettes are usually in the 10,000-20,000 word range. My novelette, “Tale of Two Bookends,” is a Paranormal Romance that will be released by Cobblestone Press LLC. later this year. You have to find the right publisher for your story and I did. I thought about trying to lengthen it, but it was done. There was nothing left and now I’m glad for it. It worked out for me.
Novellas are a big seller now. They are substantial enough for bookworms like me, but not too hefty to intimidate people who do not always have the time to sit down and get overly involved in a story that will take hours to read.
The 20,000-50,000 word novella range is appealing to many audiences. The space opera that I just finished (which may become a series) is about 25,000. It was so much fun to write.
Some people might be like, “Well if you have more to write, why not turn it into a novel?” The story I just concluded is finished. It had its climax and resolution, extending it would be creating another story.
I talked to my husband about this because I was nervous about what I should do with it. It was only supposed to be a short story. He reminded me of The Lord of the Rings. There are many books in that story. Not the 3, each book has multiple books within them. They were originally novellas that came together later.
Knowing that gives me a lot more courage when it comes to writing a series of novellas. I am no Tolkien, but it is encouraging. We as writers have more options than ever and we should take advantage of the freedoms given to our creative process.