The current issue of Poets and Writers has an article on novellas. I found it to be an interesting read. I’ve labeled my story that I wrote recently as a novella simply because it is not quite novel length at a whopping 60, 822 words; however, at that word count it is clearly not a short story.
But this article got me wondering if it really is a novella or if I should be working on this story to turn it into a full-fledged novel. I don’t think it would sell in the real world so I’d have to find a Christian niche market. My characters never have sex, never really do anything but go to fancy dinners or have dinner with friends at home. It’s very non-edgy and clean, but I enjoyed writing it immensely.
The author of the article, Josh Weil, talks about what makes a novella a novella, but struggles with the traditional length-based definition of “novella.” My favorite quote from his article is from George Featherling that says to compare novellas to shortened versions of novels is the same as “insisting that a pony is a baby horse.” Weil adds, “Describing it [novella] as a short story, just longer, is like insisting that a Clydesdale is a thoroughbred with bloat.” Ha! Have to love the humor of these two, eh? (OK, I may be a bit skewed there having been raised around horses.)
I’d quote more of the article, but it’s just more argument for recognizing the novella as its own independent form. One that is overlooked by publishers and by readers in favor of the clearly-defined short stories and novels.
Though this gloomy-gus post from Pimp My Novel will discourage anyone from writing anything but a novel-length work of any genre…sigh.
So, do novellas really exist if we can’t define them? (I’d answer yes [edited from a no answer], but I may be biased.)