Sunday, February 20, 2011
Guest Blog: Francesca Hawley: The Long and Short of It
When I realized that, I decided that I should consider writing novellas. Novellas are much shorter. Surely, I can write them faster and manage to have more releases out for my readers. It couldn’t be that tough to write a novella, could it? It’s just like writing a novel only shorter. Right? But what I learned was that writing a novella requires a different set of skills to make a satisfying story and it takes practice. Long, hard practice.
Now that I’ve written a couple of novellas, I’ve discovered what a challenge it is and I have a great deal of respect for my fellow authors who write short regularly. To write short successfully, a writer needs to keep the word count in mind…all the time. Stories should be simpler, but everything that appears in any other length story needs to also be in a novella. The story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. There should be strong characterization and a clear plot.
What I have learned is that to write short, the story needs to be distilled to its essence while retaining an interesting plot, fast pacing, and intriguing characters. And all of that needs to be done in less than 30,000 words. Ouch. That’s tough. But it can be done. And many writers do it very well.
Number one—follow the KISS method of writing. Keep It Simple, Sister! It’s like making a bush into a topiary. It requires careful pruning. Dump all the intricate subplots and secondary characters who don’t have a role in moving the story forward. Instead of flowery descriptions of verdant fields waving in the breeze, the writer needs to decide if the field is even relevant. If not—gone. Dump the backstory unless it is specifically important to making a plot point. Make something important happen on page one. Setup is for sissies…get to the story. Now. Right now.
All of this was tough for me to learn. I really like describing stuff. I like spending lots of time in my characters’ heads. But if those mental discussions are unnecessary, they need to go. I love writing a bunch of setup. I even like…horrors…prologues. Nope. Gotta get rid of them.
Writing novellas has been a really good experience for me. It’s taught me more about honing a story. I’ve learned how to determine what’s really important. What needs to be included and what’s a luxury. When I have the room to describe the verdant fields, I can do that. But I’ve learned how to trim that stuff out.
I still struggle…a lot. In fact, with Controlling Interest I can most humbly state that if not for my critique partner, Paris Brandon the story wouldn’t have gotten finished. You see, even with trying to keep an eye on my word count, I ended up 5000 words over the 30,000 word limit. Paris helped me figure out how to prune a bush into a topiary. A very hot topiary. Thank you, my dear. You are the awesomest!
Let me throw a few questions out there.
Fellow authors, do you write short? What are your reasons for writing short? Do you have tips for those of us trying to improve our skills for writing novellas?
Readers—do you enjoy novellas? What complaints do you have? What do you love in a novella?
Hi. I’m Francesca Hawley and I’m a fat chick. A woman with dangerous curves just like my heroines. Many people don’t like the word, “fat” but I do because it’s the truth and I’ve learned to own it. I am a fat chick and I always will be.
When I began writing, I wanted to create a fat heroine who loved herself—or at least learned to love herself—and a hot alpha hero who liked her jiggly bits just the way they were. Since I didn’t find many big girls to read about, I decided to write about them myself. After all, I loved to write and had been writing almost as long as I’d been reading, so Francesca Hawley, author of "Romance with Dangerous Curves", was born.
In a Francesca Hawley romance, my readers will find authentic, sensual, fat heroines who love and are loved by their intense, passionate and seductive Alpha heroes. I hope you enjoy their dangerous curves just as much as their hunky heroes do.
Mozelle “Mouse” Vincent inherits money, a club and her boss’ son as a business partner when society leader Regine Stuart dies. Torin Stuart knows what his late mother’s wishes were for his exclusive BDSM club, Erotically Bound, but he’s pissed that he’s forced to trust Mouse—especially when her inherently submissive nature arouses the sexual Dominant in him.
After baring all in a heated, intense scene, Mouse realizes they still have to work together, but now Tor challenges any business suggestion she makes. When she wants to offer education classes, Tor dares her to organize the class and participate—as a submissive.
To his chagrin, Mouse agrees, but he can’t stand the thought of any other Dom touching her. Suddenly there’s far more at stake than the controlling interest in their club…because love is the ultimate prize in their power exchange.
Posted by Marianne Stephens at 12:01 AM