What’s the point in writing long books, if you don’t have much to say?
My recent fun adventure into another book ended with me shaking my head and breaking off after 65%. But I started skim reading way sooner…
I’m not saying which book it was, but I will use exactly this one for wording my thoughts. So, you may have guessed, it’s a romance novel, NA. I loved the opening and the hero was really something, ohmygod! He had all the drool-potential I’m looking for in a great hero. The heroine was okay, too, if sometimes I really didn’t like how she acted or…what she thought.
And here we are right at the point of this post. The book was about 400 to 500 pages long, which is a lot, just think of Harry Potter. And if it had been written in an awesome style, fast paced and with lots of things to happen, that would even be okay. But not here. The plot was meager, the pace horribly slow, nothing was really at stake, and some of the characters in the book not even likeable.
So what if this author had made her book into a novella and not a full length book? A novella is a short novel, much longer than just a short story, but not quite a book that looks good on a bookshelf. Play With Me is a novella.
The good thing about that kind of books is that you don’t have to write a story with thousand things to happen. It can be very simple. If the author does the job right, this short book is packed with stuff from the first to the last page, and the reader never gets bored. With long books, you just have to add way more thinking. Inner monologue of the characters. This can be needed at times, but you run the risk of easily overdoing it.
I’ve read many books in the past couple of years, where an author fell right into that trap. They thought they had to, by all means, prolong the story. Maybe even make it a series, where one book would have totally been enough. And how did they elongate the story? By making their characters overthink everything double and triple. You get their redundant thoughts on every other page, and very often you have two pages of thoughts in between two simple lines of dialogue. Boy, don’t you hate it when you have to skip back and check what a character said last to get this answer? I do.
So this is my maybe not so silent plea to authors out there to consider the possibility of writing a novella instead of a novel when the plot and story are perfect for it. Thousand-page-books are overrated anyway. So many people – me included – love to go on a quick adventure with a short book. Read a story in one afternoon and then go back to whatever you did before. What better way is there to take a break? 😉
Happy writing & reading!