Author Topic: need tips on switching from novellas to novels  (Read 1273 times)  

Offline libwin

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need tips on switching from novellas to novels
« on: February 28, 2016, 10:33:56 am »
I want to start writing long romance novels between 70k-100k words. Any advice on going from writing 30k-35k novellas to longer novels?

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    Offline Tilly

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #1 on: February 28, 2016, 11:05:39 am »
    My first response was...write more words.

    But I guess you want a serious answer, not a flippant one, so my advice would be plot it out. Think about the rough word count you are aiming for and make a note of where the main beats should be, the turning points etc and then use that as a guideline as you write.

    Offline amy_wokz

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #2 on: February 28, 2016, 11:11:59 am »
    I remember when Sue Grafton went from 60-70k to 90-100k in her alphabet series. I believe she just added a subplot that she wrote about in almost every chapter. The number of chapters stayed about the same, but the word count increased by around 50%.

    I recommend studying authors in the top 100 of your genre to see what they do. Subplots? More description?
    "Readers prefer the clear and concise delivery of an exciting story more than the flowery and sublime delivery of utter ennui." - Hugh Howey

    Offline Douglas Milewski

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #3 on: February 28, 2016, 12:08:19 pm »
    Add more descriptions. Add more characters. Add more surprises. Add a second romance. Make the novel a hybrid, so there's mystery/magic/suspense going on.

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    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #4 on: February 28, 2016, 12:30:17 pm »
    I write long romance, and my main tip would be: make it be about more than the romance. More about the individual characters' journeys, their other relationships--with work, with parents, with children, with friends. Those relationships can tie into their journey, and into their developing relationship with each other. It doesn't have to have a secondary genre or anything if you do this. It should still have an overarching theme or destination, if you see what I mean, so the different stuff that happens is all driving toward the same goal for the two characters: for their becoming, uh, better realized? Whatever you call it. Better in themselves, and better together.

    I have a hard time describing it, but an easy time getting to over 110K words! Sometimes unfortunately--it takes longer to do. 80-85K is a much faster write and still a satisfying read.


    Offline Erratic

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #5 on: February 28, 2016, 12:56:40 pm »
    Decide how many chapters your book will have and think about the pacing. Like, Chapter X is where the beginning phase ends, Chapter X is the turning point, Chapter X is where the final confrontation begins. Many books about plotting can help you with this. When I outline, I don't worry too much about what actually happens, but I do sketch out the pace of the book and get a basic idea for what needs to happen in the story. The details come to me while I'm writing.

    Offline George Saoulidis

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #6 on: February 28, 2016, 01:28:36 pm »
    Simple, you write two storylines in novella form and mush them together.

    Offline Mary Papas

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #7 on: February 28, 2016, 01:30:23 pm »
    I want to start writing long romance novels between 70k-100k words. Any advice on going from writing 30k-35k novellas to longer novels?


    There is a great book to help you with this. The Novel Writer's Toolshed For Short Story Writers: Your Quick-Read Guide To Writing Longer Fiction by Della Galton. You can find it on Amazon.

    Offline dianapersaud

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #8 on: February 28, 2016, 01:36:02 pm »
    My first response was...write more words.

    But I guess you want a serious answer, not a flippant one, so my advice would be plot it out. Think about the rough word count you are aiming for and make a note of where the main beats should be, the turning points etc and then use that as a guideline as you write.

    Translation: add a subplot. Or two.

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    Offline libwin

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #9 on: February 28, 2016, 01:50:11 pm »
    This is great advice thanks

    Offline Scottish Lass

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #10 on: February 28, 2016, 02:00:29 pm »
    This is great advice thanks

    Thanks for starting this thread - I need the advice too!

    Offline Mari Oliver

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #11 on: February 28, 2016, 04:13:13 pm »
    Take your time, aka slow down the pacing. I've also writtten more shorts than novels and really prefer novella length, too. The suggestions here are good ones as well. But yea, pacing works differently in a novel vs novellas and it takes some getting used to.

    Offline Shelley K

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #12 on: February 28, 2016, 05:50:32 pm »
    You can't go wrong by adding an alien invasion subplot.

    Just sayin'...   ;D

    That's what I was going to say. ;)

    Give a secondary character a little journey. Add a subplot (even without aliens). Tie them together in a satisfying way.

    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #13 on: February 28, 2016, 06:15:44 pm »
    That's what I was going to say. ;)

    Give a secondary character a little journey. Add a subplot (even without aliens). Tie them together in a satisfying way.
    I'm going to disagree a little. I do find (or I find via my readers) that you have to keep the main characters' journey moving forward. Their journey doesn't have to be them together (they each will have their own journey), or all about them smooching or smexing or whatever, but I do think, absent a secondary romance that should STILL sort of be part of the main "point" of the book, that everything in the book, even if it has a suspense plot or something, should tie back into the hero and heroine's struggle to be together.

    I don't believe you need an "antagonist" per se--in fact, I strongly disagree that you do--but you need the whole book to be arcing toward one thing. Sort of like--you have a bunch of strands that all start out together. They stay in a rainbow shape, but at the top, each strand is more separate. As you get closer to the end, they come back together until they're tight.

    I'm still working out, myself, how to do this really satisfactorily--practicing, let's say. And it's usually only after I've written the book that I realize what that main point, that underlying theme, really was. But I always do realize it's something.

    Anything that feels really tangential is going to take the reader OUT of the story. And the longer it is, the more important it is to keep the reader IN the story, to make them feel like you're going somewhere.

    Those are rather abstract thoughts, I realize. But FWIW.

    Offline Shelley K

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #14 on: February 28, 2016, 06:25:32 pm »
    I'm going to disagree a little. I do find (or I find via my readers) that you have to keep the main characters' journey moving forward. Their journey doesn't have to be them together (they each will have their own journey), or all about them smooching or smexing or whatever, but I do think, absent a secondary romance that should STILL sort of be part of the main "point" of the book, that everything in the book, even if it has a suspense plot or something, should tie back into the hero and heroine's struggle to be together.

    I don't believe you need an "antagonist" per se--in fact, I strongly disagree that you do--but you need the whole book to be arcing toward one thing. Sort of like--you have a bunch of strands that all start out together. They stay in a rainbow shape, but at the top, each strand is more separate. As you get closer to the end, they come back together until they're tight.

    I'm still working out, myself, how to do this really satisfactorily--practicing, let's say. And it's usually only after I've written the book that I realize what that main point, that underlying theme, really was. But I always do realize it's something.

    Anything that feels really tangential is going to take the reader OUT of the story. And the longer it is, the more important it is to keep the reader IN the story, to make them feel like you're going somewhere.

    Those are rather abstract thoughts, I realize. But FWIW.

    There are plenty of other ways to do it. This is just my preferred way, a fairly easy way, and so the one I suggested. The secondary character's journey doesn't have to be romance, nor does the character have to an antagonist, but it needs to tie into main couple's story in some way, or it would feel like a weird tangent.

    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #15 on: February 28, 2016, 06:32:01 pm »
    There are plenty of other ways to do it. This is just my preferred way, a fairly easy way, and so the one I suggested. The secondary character's journey doesn't have to be romance, nor does the character have to an antagonist, but it needs to tie into main couple's story in some way, or it would feel like a weird tangent.
    Sorry; I would probably totally have gotten it with an example. Yeah, I think the main thing is just that it all has to tie together somehow and be moving toward the same goal or same idea.

    I'll stop, though, as right now I'm trying to figure out how the HECK to quit writing so dang long! So I'm probably not the best person to give advice anyway.

    Offline Shelley K

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #16 on: February 28, 2016, 06:59:06 pm »
    Sorry; I would probably totally have gotten it with an example. Yeah, I think the main thing is just that it all has to tie together somehow and be moving toward the same goal or same idea.

    I'll stop, though, as right now I'm trying to figure out how the HECK to quit writing so dang long! So I'm probably not the best person to give advice anyway.


    Oh, no problem. I wasn't aggravated, just trying to explain better. :)

    Offline KGGiarratano

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #17 on: February 28, 2016, 06:59:48 pm »
    Add subplots!

    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #18 on: February 28, 2016, 07:01:52 pm »
    Oh, no problem. I wasn't aggravated, just trying to explain better. :)
    Gotcha. :) I'm hopeless at "craft" stuff. I always feel like Grandma Moses. I can never explain what I mean. "I know it once I've done it and look back." Doesn't help much.

    I'm sure there are great books out there, though.

    Offline Sandy Raven

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #19 on: February 28, 2016, 07:40:18 pm »
    I'm coming at it from the reverse. I'm used to writing more than 100K. I've written two novellas, and in order for me to cut that word count, I focus more on internal conflict, and I limit the story's calendar in which all the events happen. I think one of novellas was two weeks from the beginning to end (in the story,) and the last one was about one month from Ch. 1 to the end, and the Epilogue was 2 yrs later. So I keep out external conflict and limit the timeline of events.

    That's what's worked for me. :-D
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    Offline MMacLeod

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #20 on: February 28, 2016, 09:48:49 pm »
    Personally, I find that I tend to write scenes of around 2k words, so if I outline somewhere between 32-40 chapters, I generally end up around 65k-70k words on the shorter end, or 85k-90k on the longer end. It helps when I'm outlining to make sure I build in some sort of a climax every 4-5 chapters where something happens that changes the trajectory of the story or ups the stakes. I usually try to put something very compelling right in the middle. So I'll often start my outline by filling in, for example, my ideas for chapters 1, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32- often starting with the opening scene, the big middle scene, and the ending scene, then the other pivotal scenes. That's going to be the basic story, right there. Then I think about what scenes and possible subplots are needed to move between each of these points- for example, what logical progression in chapters 2 and 3 gets me to what needs to happen in chapter 4. Working in these smaller chunks makes it easier to think about and create a longer story. Then I just have to ask myself as I go along- is this scene I have in mind really worthy of 2k words? Just beware of adding in too much fluff just to make your word count. If you need to add to a scene to hit the 2k word goal, make sure what you add is valuable and not filler.

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    Offline treesloth5

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    Re: need tips on switching from novellas to novels
    « Reply #21 on: February 28, 2016, 10:22:40 pm »
    I go with a broad outline, then on an edit if I get a good idea I'll add it in. There's always something strange to add.

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