Well, it does matter and I discovered how important it is when writing the short story that became A NIGHT FOR HER PLEASURE, my upcoming short online story from Harlequin Historical Undone. I've written very long 105,000 word romance novels and shorter 75,000 word ones, too. I've written several 20-25,000 word romance novellas. I thought it would be difficult in trying to go from writing a full-length story to a shorter one -- about 1/3 the size and I was right. It WAS tough to do.
I mean -- if I have about 300-350 pages to tell a whole story, I can add lots of details, lots of backstory, lots buildup and lots of love. In writing a novella, there's only about 100-120 pages so many details and backstory has to go. The love has to be there, because it's a romance, but it must happen faster and be more intense in many ways -- so it's a different pacing and different level of tension. But, I still enjoyed writing those novellas.
This HH Undone was something even more different for me. Instead of a whole story, happening over weeks or months, or a novella, happening over days or weeks, I decided this short story would happen in one day! Yes, one day. Did you hear the pressure as I wrote that? Actually, an experienced writing friend told me to think about a novel being the story of a lifetime, a novella being the story of an incident, and a short story, well, less than that. She suggested that to make the romance work the couple in a novella had to have met before and that for a short story, there has to be a good level of conflict and interest already at work between the characters.
Hmmmmm....sounds like a plan, doesn't it? Well, it worked! Instead of planning out a plot that covered weeks or months I chose one that happened on one day - a special day - a wedding day. Instead of choosing characters who were strangers to each other, I chose a man and a woman who'd just married each other. Instead of looking at the big picture, I zoomed in on a particular situation - this one was loosely-based on the classic story- A Gift of The Magi by O.Henry. And the result? IMHO - a fast-paced, sexy short romance story that tells of the efforts of a newly couple to be the perfect spouse their partner needs or wants.
So, does size matter to you? Do short stories have enough time to build the romance? Are novellas enough or not? Are novel-length romances just perfect? (I'm feeling like Goldilocks and the 3 Bears now! LOL!) What do you think?
I'll send a small prize to one lucky person who tells me about their favorite length and why it works for them. Let me know!
Terri is awaiting the online release of her first Harlequin Historical Undone short story on June 1st -- it will introduce her new Harlequin Historical trilogy - The Knights of Brittany - Born to conquer and seduce! Oh my! Visit my website for more info - www.terribrisbin.com