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Writing Novellas

Baby, We’ve Come a Long Way (Or Are We Going a Shorter Way?)

It wasn’t so long ago that, as an author, I was entirely focused on writing full-length novels. You know—those things that contain over 50,000 words? At the time, I thought that this was the only market for me.

NA copyBut a new day has dawned. Shorter works, such as short stories, novelettes, novellas, lunchbox romances, and serials are hot now, and not just because readers love them.

In the workshop I’ll be participating in with Louisa Bacio and Michelle Klayman (THE LONG & SHORT OF IT: Novellas, Novelettes & Lunchbox Romances), we’ll be chatting about how these shorter works can support your longer career goals—as well as the differences between each category and how to make the most of each of them.

One way authors are using shorts is as loss leaders and samples of their larger books; these shorter works are hooking readers into their backlist novels as well as future ones. Writers can also utilize shorter works to satisfy readers’ hunger for more, more, more in between their bigger releases since the audience wants to spend more time in the worlds the authors have created.

Writers are also penning stand-alone short works because these punchy little treats are one-night reads that can really satisfy on their own!

I’ve made good use of these formats myself, and not only for business purposes. Writing short keeps me on my toes as an author—it helps me to hone my craft because, honestly, writing shorter doesn’t necessarily mean the writing is easier. (One short story I created took about half as long as a bigger novel because I had to be extra judicious about editing and ruthless with pacing. No joke!)

Most recently, one of my publishers, Berkley’s digital first imprint, InterMix, asked me to do a prequel novelette for my new New Adult series, Aidan Falls. I jumped at the chance to write WHISPER, and not only because it sounded fun and was a good promotional move—I had several things I wanted to cover in this introductory hook to the rest of the series.

NA2 copyFirst, I wanted to introduce the town and community of Aidan Falls, Texas, where the next two full-length novels, HONEYTRAP (out February 17th!) and SUGARBABY (out May 19th) take place.

Second, I wanted to give readers a peek at the bad boy hero of HONEYTRAP, Micah Wyatt—I wanted him to be a slightly mysterious presence that readers would hopefully want to know better.

Third, I wanted to give them a satisfying romantic buildup using a premise well suited for a short work (a secret admirer posts a meme on a phone app about the heroine).

Fourth, I wanted to preview the premise of the entire series at large: how technology affects us romantically and personally these days.

As a bonus, after I finished writing WHISPER, I realized that the story of the hero and heroine could continue, so I explored more of Carley and her secret admirer in SUGARBABY as a subplot.

And that’s just a taste of how a shorter story can fit into the bigger picture. I hope to see you at the workshop so you can learn other ways!


VB book photoChris Marie Green and her alter ego Crystal Green have written over seventy books in total. Chris Marie Green is the urban fantasy author of the Vampire Babylon series, including the indie self-published, spin-off Lilly Meratoliage series, plus the Jensen Murphy, Ghost for Hire series. RITA nominated Crystal Green writes romance, namely the Aidan Falls new adult series and the hot adult contemporary Rough and Tumble series.

As both pen names, she tries her best to avoid international incidents whenever she takes a break from her first love, writing, and cheats on it with her other true love—traveling. You can find her at Chris Marie Green or Crystal Green or hang out with her online at Twitter and Facebook!

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