Ruby Release – DANGEROUS BOYS Anthology
Posted by Vanessa Barneveld Jun 6 2016, 12:01 am in Ruby Release
Life’s Too Short – Write a Novella
Have you noticed how popular novellas are lately? I totally get why. Writers like me, who take anywhere from six to twelve months to write a full novel, can get a novella written and published in a fraction of that time. For readers, a short, satisfying story can be devoured in a sitting or two. And that’s terrific for the chronically time-poor. When I was asked to join forces with four dangerous Australian/New Zealand writers for the DANGEROUS BOYS YA e-novella anthology (out now!), I jumped at the chance to try out the art of writing a novella.
The DANGEROUS BOYS YA anthology — out now!
But how long should a novella be? After doing a quick search online, I discovered that’s a bit like asking, “How long is a piece of string?” It depends on the publisher. Fiction magazines generally call for short story word counts of 500 to 1,500 words, even up to 5,000. Novellas can range from 20,000 to 40,000 words. Obviously, if you’re targeting a publisher, check their guidelines.
So now that you have those vague estimates on word counts, how do you pack a complete story into a little package? The way I approached LIVE FAST, DIE YOUNG (out now!) was to plot it out like full-length novel. After all, like a regular story, it needed a beginning, middle and end. Character-wise, my two main protagonists share the spotlight. It’s all about them. The small supporting cast stays on the periphery. I didn’t delve too far into the secondary characters’ backstories; I have an evil plan to give each of them their own novellas down the track. Given I had a limit of 25,000 words, subplots went out the window. Mechanics-wise, I zapped the bad things I do so well, like waffling and padding.
You can see the results in my YA novella, LIVE FAST, DIE YOUNG. Did I mention it’s out now? 🙂 Ironically, it’s about a boy who hasn’t got long to live. He’s hell-bent on doing as many dangerous things as he can in the time he’s got left. Here’s the official blurb:
Molly Corbett can’t stand seeing her childhood pal Alex Gibson destroy himself. He’s gone from straight-A student to rebel without a cause. With so much at stake, some serious interference is called for—or at least Micromanaging Molly thinks so. Alex needs to get back on the path to the Ivy League. But the harder Molly pushes Alex, the harder he pushes back.
Alex has a secret. Well, two secrets.
Number one: He has terminal melanoma. With six months to live, Alex hasn’t got a second to waste. And hanging around hospitals when his friends think he’s cutting school definitely counts as wasted time. Instead, he’s going to drop out, surf, drive fast cars…and finally put secret number two out there. He’s in love with Molly and he’s going to tell her before it’s too late.
PRAISE FOR LIVE FAST, DIE YOUNG
Edgy, and yet wonderfully tender, “Live Fast, Die Young” sent me to reader heaven! ~ Tina Ferraro, author of THE ABC’S OF KISSING BOYS
Read the first chapter on my website.
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Today I’m giving away a Kindle e-copy of the DANGEROUS BOYS anthology, which features five dangerous novellas by five dangerous YA authors from down under. Simply tell me what you love about reading or writing novellas in the comments below. Perhaps you can also tell me what the “right” word count ought to be for a novella! The winner will be announced here tomorrow. Good luck!