By Shona Husk On Jun 29 2012, 6:00 am
In a novel the story can unravel over a week, a year, a lifetime or more. But in a novella the story is much more compressed. Sometimes happening over only a few days—or less. In Brightwater Blood the story unfolds in one disastrous afternoon that starts with the heroine shooting the hero and ends with a bush fire ravaging the countryside.
In writing a romance novella the writer is asking the reader to suspend disbelief and believe in love at first sight, that the characters were made for each other and have just been waiting for the right time to meet—and realise that they want to fall in love. The novella is about that event that changes the characters perception of themselves and their prospective partner.
In a novella that has to happen fast, and in less than forty thousand words, so there is no space for the subplots that support a novel and complicate the character’s romance. Instead every scene has to move the story forward and focus on the hero and heroine.
Despite the small scale a novella packs a punch as it is so focussed. How many times have you left the cinema breathless but satisfied? Like a film, you don’t want people thinking it could have been shorter. The best compliment a novella can get from a reader is that they wished it was longer.