“The Fabulous, Sexy, Selling Novella” Workshop
by Connie Brockway, Eloisa James and Julia Quinn (2014 RWA Conference)
This was the first workshop I attended at the conference, and one of my favorites. Here are the three key points I took away:
One – Focus on an Intense Slice of Life
- it’s not a novel, a novella involves a much smaller canvas
- don’t write it as a novel without a beginning
- it could be a story about a secondary character in your work, a gift for your fans, a snippet, an appetizer…
- good for promoting series, or for trying something new
- a good novella has a good sex scene – not as a gimmick, but as an integral part of the plot
- think: reader pleasure
Two – High Concepts work well for anthologies
- a unifying theme that carries the book – a plot gimmick like a marriage switch works well
- the presenters collaborated on Lady Most Likely and Lady Most Willing, very successful anthologies with themes
Three – Cut Extra Exposition
- keep it lean and make it hot
- focus on the primary characters
- focus on a main conflict
- you can experiment with characters and story lines, but keep it lean
I’d love to write more novellas, but I need to find the time. I wrote one between writing novels that I love, set in a small fictional town on Vancouver Island. It’s funny and light and I loved writing it, but it doesn’t link back or forward to any of my other work. It’s like a stand alone cozie. I can’t market that. Maybe some day I’ll write more stories for those characters. I particularly liked the Labrador dog called Marlowe. Maybe. But right now, I’m focusing on my Mata Hari Series.
Could I write a novella for the series? Definitely, but right now I’m working on novels and short stories. We’ll see.
What about you?
Do you like reading/writing novellas?
Crowd Sourcing my Cover
I’m crowd sourcing my first cover design with 99designs. It’s exciting. The preliminary round ends tomorrow, when I choose 6 finalist and work with them. So far (Sun afternoon) I have 47 design entries <!>and many of them are knock-your-socks-off good. It’s not going to be easy to choose. You can follow the action here.
And… you can comment either below or send me a direct email at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have favorites. Love to hear from you.
Crowd sourcing, in this case, means that I’m soliciting through a company designs from a large group of artists and then choosing a group of finalists, working with them and then picking a final design. I’ll keep you posted.
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