Try A Novella

There are those who are intimidated at the thought of writing a novel. For their own reasons, they don’t feel up to the challenge. Perhaps it’s the idea of actually taking the time to write 300 pages or more, not to mention the journey toward publication after writing and editing. I know a few writers who feel this way. Yet these same folks produce wonderful works of poetry and short stories. To them and others might I suggest the novella?

Whereas a novel word count varies between 70,000 – 110,000 words, the novella comes in around 20,000 – 50,000 words. Beginning to feel better about the task? Novellas are the perfect read for anyone who doesn’t have the time or patience to read a full-length book. Moreover, the novella offers the writer the ability to develop a compelling story and strong characters just like the novel.

Think of a novella as a slightly longer short story, particularly since novellas don’t have chapters. But the structure allows for full development of a protagonist and antagonist. And while the story may not necessarily have a subplot, there is still plenty of room for conflict and resolution.TLG_Novellas_1_and_2

Finally, regarding publication: novellas are the perfect format for an ebook. Also, consider self-publishing your work. After you’ve had your novella critiqued and edited, find an online vehicle such as Amazon’s CreateSpace or Lulu and get the process started. I’ve self-published before (The Nightstand Collection) and found the process to be relatively simple. I’ve also had my first novella, Dancer, published through Oak Tree Press.

I urge you to be creative and give the novella a closer look. You may find that not only do you enjoy writing novellas, you also may just like reading them as well. Perfect for summer reads, and for the writer, excellent for creating a series!


Published by John M. Wills

Award-winning author and freelance writer. Published ten books in addition to more thant 200 articles, short stories, and poetry. Writing professionally since retiring from the FBI in 2004.

5 thoughts on “Try A Novella

  1. For quite a number of years, several friends and I have written sweet romance anthologies. Each of us writes a novella on a related theme or subject or as a part of an over-arching storyline for the book. Our novellas Do have chapters, and each could stand alone, but together, they often form a complete through-story. Our s generally run at or below 20,0000 words. We have five published books in the series, and we’ve just completed number 6. All are set in the same fictional town of Aspen Grove, Colorado. You can take a look at them on my website: And they can be a very comfortable length for the novice writer.

  2. You’ve inspired me before about writing a novella, simply because I loved your “Nightstand Collection” so much. However, I don’t think I’ve ever told you that “Dancer” was another one of my top favorites. I wished it had gone on and on. I didn’t realize that novellas didn’t have chapters, however, so I learned something new, as well.

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