Today Pegg will be sharing the final segment on writing a stellar novel. One that leaves the writer satisfied and anxious to read more of your work. In part one she shared what you can and can’t put in a novella. In part two she explains how to sprinkle history and background into your novella. Here is her final installment.
And last, there are the words themselves. You can always—trust me—cut more words. You don’t need double descriptors. The wide, blue hat with feathers becomes the blue hat. Her lace-trimmed, velvet, ball gown becomes her dress. If you’ve described something once, trust your readers to remember and don’t describe it again. Cut all the um-oh-well type of words out of your dialogue. People talk that way, but it’s irritating to read and it adds to your word count.
Here’s my recipe for a 25,000 novella:
Open with the hook (grab the reader with intense action and/or emotion)
At 6,250 words – first plot point (when the hero/heroine loses control of their life)
At 12,500 words – mid-point shift (when something major changes for the hero/heroine)
At 18,750 words – second plot point (when the hero/heroine sinks to their lowest point)
At 23,000 words – climax (when the truth shakes out)
2,000 words to wrap up the loose ends
I hope this helps those who want to try writing a novella. If nothing else, it’s a good exercise to tighten up your writing.
Pegg, I find these tips so helpful as my next project is a novella. I’m going to keep this information close at hand.
Pegg Thomas lives on a hobby farm in Northern Michigan with Michael, her husband of *mumble* years. A life-long history geek, she writes “History with a Touch of Humor.” When not working or writing, Pegg can be found in her barn, her garden, her kitchen, or sitting at her spinning wheel creating yarn to turn into her signature wool shawls.
If you have any questions for Pegg about novella writing ask them in the comments.