I was going to write about the spark for A Sunset Finish, but I decided to wait until July when more people might have read it. For those of you new to the site, I did blog about the two main characters on my old blog, Stephanie and Bruce. Please check them out! A Sunset Finish is now out at Barnes and Noble as well as Amazon but it’s cheapest at Jupiter Gardens. And you can get it absolutely FREE from me if you enter my Photo Flare Contest this month! Do I have enough links in this first paragraph yet?
Thanks to all of you who have read it already! I’ve really enjoyed the comments I received. One reader said, “I did not see that coming!” and for those of you living in the Burque my sister has recognized some of the places that inspired it, most notably her text of “Please tell me that’s the old Robertson’s Violin Shop on Lomas.” That’s certainly what the instrument repair shop is inspired by though the one in the book is in a different location as well as other changes.
Thanks to those who have asked questions of the editors from The Colored Lens! There is still time to get some in. I’ll be closing the comment area tomorrow. Their first post answering the questions will be on June 26th. Their latest issue came out last night!! So I’ll be sending the first five questioners their free copy when I’m done with this post. Check out the cover…it’s beautiful.
Today’s post is actually about the form of the novella. I’m surprised that though the media talks about our shortening attention span as a society, popular books are becoming longer and longer. Wouldn’t we have all been happier if book five of the Harry Potter series had been shortened to Dumbledore handing Harry his prophesy and saying, “Listen to this and then smash it”? We would’ve been spared so many atrocities like Rowling taking Sirius Black from a helpful, sane adult and turning him into an annoying emo teen, making it almost a relief when he dies. Twilight would’ve been a novella if only an editor had taken out every time Bella thought Cullen was beautiful. Both these stories had a lot of filler and would’ve been made more eloquent by reduction.
Truman Capote was not afraid of brevity. One of my favorite stories ever is his novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It even crossed over into movies, though the movie misses the point of much of the story. But print publishers have been reluctant to embrace the novella. Maybe the number of pages is not worth the printing cost? And agents don’t often back novellas, which I’ll come back to as a plus.
The market embracing the novella the most is the e-book industry, and I think it’s booming right now, particularly in the romance genre. When I finished “A Sunset Finish” I tried to sell it to short fiction e-zines who accepted speculative novellas. I think I was off target. It doesn’t quite fit into the feel of any of the e-zines. Fortunately, one of the editors (at The Colored Lens actually) took the time to tell me my story was too repetitive. After I mopped up the tears and took scissors to my story, I did research on novella publishers. There are twenty-six book publishers listed on Duotrope who pay professional royalties for novellas. But I didn’t find Jupiter Gardens on Duotrope; I actually found it at Ralan.com. I had it narrowed down to two publishers who were actively looking for interracial romances and chose to send it to Jupiter Gardens first because they state in their guidelines that they will never ask authors to add more sex to a book. And they never did!
Another benefit of writing novellas is you don’t need an agent. Getting published is a loooooong process, especially if you have to submit your story to a hundred agents to get one interested and then she has to submit it to one hundred editors to get one interested. I’m not saying agents are bad. I’m saying it’s a great feeling to accomplish something in a relatively quick amount of time. I finished A Sunset Finish in October of 2012 and it was published in June 2013. It seems the speed of lightning for the publishing industry.
If you’re interested in more thoughts on writing novellas, head over to petermball.com. He’s writing a public journal on the process of his latest novella. There’s always good stuff over there.
Have a great writing week and come back Thursday for an actual review and Friday to post your word count. As a side note, I’m doing a guest post at J.W. Alden’s blog this week on Wednesday. It’s about building religions in fantasy worlds. I’ll post the link on Wednesday. Please check it out!