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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Novellas on my mind - Nalini Singh


I’ve got novellas on my mind. Two reasons for this – my very first novella just came out in the An Enchanted Season anthology; and I’m writing a second one at this very moment.

When I was first asked to write a novella, I thought about the ones I’d read in the past and why the ones that worked for me did so. Here are two factors that immediately jumped out at me.

1. Characters I care about: This is something that’s important in every book I read, but in novellas an author has a shorter time-period to get me cheering for the hero and heroine. So if you’re going to write an unsympathetic hero or heroine, as I reader, I want to be clued in early that this person isn’t as bad as they appear.

2. A complete story: Very important. Even if it’s part of a series, I want a beginning, a middle and an end. A sense of resolution is necessary because often, when I pick up a novella collection, it’s because I don’t have time to read a full book, but want that full book feeling of satisfaction.

So those are two things that I try to keep in mind while working on my novellas. Do you agree with my points? Think I need to add something to the list? And have you read any good novellas lately? What made the story work so well for you?

# Everyone who leaves a comment in the next twenty-four hours goes into the draw to win a copy of An Enchanted Season.

And last, but definitely not least, I want to thank Lee for inviting me to come play on her blog!

Nalini Singh has travelled as far afield as the deserts of China and the temples of Japan. However, it is the journey of the imagination that fascinates her the most. Currently writing the next book in her bestselling Psy/Changeling series—about a race with no emotions, and the sensual changelings who challenge their perfect Silence—she can be found via her website or hanging out at her blog.

20 comments:

CrystalG said...

I totally agree with your points. I find that in novellas as long as the story has depth and doesn't leave me hanging then I am satisfied.

C. Gwynn said...

All the areas of a novella Nalini mentioned are exactly what I love in book. Enchanted Season sounds like an awesome book.

Cherie J said...

Congrats on the new release! All the points you made are in fact what make a good story and you definitely use them effectively in your books. That is why I love them so. Have not been able to get this anthology yet but I am looking forward to reading it. Been busy packing to travel out of town. Monday, October 8th is my birthday and October 10th is my baby girl's 1st birthday so we are going to my family's home to celebrate. Also, my brother is coming home after finishing his studies at The University of Perth in Australia so we have plenty to celebrate. I am sure you can tell I am exoited since I am babbling. :-) Have a great day everyone!

mic said...

I totally agree on the complete story point.

I really like collections of novellas because I usually get an author I already like and a chance to check out others.

When the novella is really a short teaser for the next book, it annoys me.
I've got to get back to work. We're off for a family camp out this weekend.

Maureen said...

It's been a little while since I've read a novella but this time of year there are a bunch that come out and they're great to read when you don't have much time. I agree with your points. I've read a lot of novellas where the characters already know each other so there's something there from page one.

ruth said...

Congrats on the release! Everything mentioned is exactly what I enjoy and appreciate about reading novellas. When the story is meaningful and has well portrayed characters then it is wonderful and memorable.

Kat said...

Hi Nalini,

You hit the major two factors I look for in a novella. Also, I've noticed that the novella's I like best feature a hero and/or a heroine I've met before in a series. That way you can jump into the story quicker without losing character quality.

BoT was definitely a novella that worked for me - I really loved it. It was a complete story, and it worked well on its own - you don't have to have read the other books to read this one. But it was nice going back to see Nate and Tammy fall in love :)

Kat

Nathalie said...

I really like it when novellas stand alone and have a nice plot, because so many times, I have not read all the authors and don't understand much of the book ;)

Lily said...

Totally agree with the two point and I hate it when there is unsympathetic characters!! And that anthology seems really nice :)

YvonneLindsay said...

Hey Nalini. I've never been much of a novella reader before but have read a couple lately and I really enjoy the 'instant gratification' (for want of a better phrase). Obviously it comes down to how well the author crafts the characters and story but so far I'm a convert. Might even try my hand at one myself...

lisabea said...

Recently, I've gotten to where I only enjoy novellas when they contain stories that pertain to an existing series. It's like I'm peeking in on some folks I met once.

Shari C said...

Enjoy the Psy-Changeling series very much.

I agree with your comments as when I read a novella I want a complete story and definitely want characters who capture and hold my attention. These are the points that make a good story, not matter what the length of it is.

deseng said...

Congratulations Nalini on your new book! I enjoy novellas when I want to read short stories. I especially love it when they are all connected together by the characters.

Your book, Enchanted Season, sounds like my kind of book! I can't wait to read it!

Michele

bamabelle said...

Hi Nalini!

I completely agree with your points. I also tend to pick up anthologies when time is limited. I still want each novella to be a complete story, with some sense of resolution at the end. That must be very challenging for authors, but the efforts are much appreciated. I have to admit that cliffhangers drive me positively batty lol.

Congratulations on the book! AN ENCHANTED SEASON sounds magnificent! :)

Jen in WA said...

I'm such an anthology junkie. But, surprisingly I haven't read one recently. I completely agree with your points. I often use novellas as an introduction to a "new-to-me" author. So, if their story doesn't grab me, there's a really good chance that I won't try anything else they've written.

I'd add one more point (although it might be an extension of #2)... if you're writting a romance novella, develop the romance. There's nothing worse than 2 characters declaring their love for each other in the end and you can't figure out when it happened.

Nalini Singh said...

Jen, I totally agree. I think that's why novellas have to be much more hero/heroine focused. There's only a very small amount of room for secondary plotlines, so that has to be used carefully.

ilona said...

I agree totally with your take on novellas - I absolutely hate being left hanging by short stories that are really just chapters 1 to whatever of a longer book.

By the way I look forward to reading your story in An Enchanted Season whichever way I end up getting the book - especially as i have enjoyed your Psi-Changling ones so much.

mirth-quake said...

Novels or novellas, I don't really have a problem. My problem is if the story bores me out of my wits or lacks depth or has been "overdone". Nothing thrills me more than to read a story that not only entertains/captivates you, (or perhaps tugs on the heartstrings) but takes me along for the rollercoaster ride inside the pages!

Nalini Singh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nalini Singh said...

Thanks for all the comments guys. It was fun getting your take on novellas.

I've run the random number generator and the winner of the copy of An Enchanted Season is Crystalg, the first commenter! Crystal, I'm emailing you. :)