Several years ago I was asked to be part of a Regency anthology — could I write a story that was under 10,000 words? Sure, I said, without thinking much about it. 10,000 words, eh? That would be simple.
Thus said the woman who always writes long.
Writing a full love story, in 10,000 words or less, is not easy. In fact, it is a true challenge to an author used to having the roomy wide open spaces of 90,000+ words to introduce characters, establish conflict, introduce a plot that will entice readers to follow the hero and heroine along on their adventure and, like the hero and heroine, fall in love along the way.
No, 10,000 words requires you jump right into the story, into that snapshot of a moment, when two people fall in love and find their soul mate. In other words, love at first sight. Which is why I used that most perfect of love at first sight plots, Cinderella, as the framework for my short story, Cynders & Ashe.
I also had only about 10 free days to write the story, while I was between contracts and novel commitments.
So I planned accordingly–taking notes about the story when they occurred to me, mapping out the characters much the same way, so that when I sat down one Sunday evening, I had a file of information to organize. I also used this story as my first attempt to use writing software–in my case, Scrivener. I organized my story into the software folders–using the plot note cards to designate each and every scene, compiling my character sketches so I had all my players lined up like a cast in a play.
Then when Monday morning rolled around, I sat down to write.
But in this case, I didn’t start at the beginning, I wrote whatever scene appealed to me at the moment. In the mood for a masquerade? I wrote the ball scenes. Feeling a little morose about my future, I wrote about the heroine’s life as a lowly seamstress. The story unfolded quickly before my eyes and I found myself, like the characters in the story, enfolded right into the action. At the end of 10 days, I had it. 33 pages of passion, love and a satisfying romance. Okay, so I did run a little over 10,000 words. But then again, I always do.
Eventually the story was published in The Mammoth Book of Regency Romances, and now I am pleased to offer it as single story for a digital download. Check it out on Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, and coming soon to iBooks.
(And of course, I had to use Earthly Charms for the cover design–isn’t this the most stunning cover you have ever seen?)
So, do you like short stories or novellas? If not, why? I’m about to start work on another novella and would love to hear reader’s thoughts on these stories.
Comment below to be entered in this week’s blog drawing.
1) Leave a comment below and let me know which of the covers or books you love:
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Do both and you are entered twice! I’ll give you all until midnight, PDT, Saturday, April 7th to get your entries in.
Make sure to check back here Monday, April 9th to find out if you won. You’ll have a week to claim your prize.
Last week’s winner is: TinaM, who was poster #23 and made her comment on March 26, 2012 at 2:07 PM. Tina, contact me with your address and I will send you your prize. You have a week to claim it.