I usually write long novels - they are full of references, the research can be intense and time-consuming, and the writing style is very intricate and complex. The characters are well-defined and sculptured, and the locations play an important part. There is also quite a bit of subtlely built-in back story.
I also write short fiction, and in my early days as a writer did cultivate quite a following in that form. I won several prizes and commendations for stories, and had scores published in magazines and journals.
The novel depends on subplots. The short story hardly has any. The novella ...?
The novel depends on back story. The short story merely hints at it. The novella ...?
I had to sit and think about just those two aspects, and I definitely had to read a few novellas. And then I thought I hit on it and wrote Inverted Delusion, a historical novella about the infancy of photography in Belgium, which went through several rewrites and several resurrections, until I got it to the form it's now in, and it enjoys moderate sales.
The Latin Cushion was a sharp and angular departure, both in form and in writing style for me. It's a detective novella which takes place in current-day Perth, my city of residence, which I have never written about before. It's also a genre in which I have little experience. So on all counts this is a new venture for me.
A detective who works in the Perth western suburbs was created in my head when I started looking for a protagonist. He is fully-formed now, but it took quite a while to decide about character, build, attitude, back story, and working style. I also had to think of some sort of weakness or flaw which makes fictional characters human and interesting.
I had Cloud Maslin (and his strange name) in about a week of concentrated scribbling and thinking. And now he - and his first case - are available to read with a brand new cover and a fully-fleshed story of over 20,000 words. I invite you to try this for size, quite literally.
If you are a writer, tell me if you have ever attempted a novella, and if you have, how is it faring in sales and opinions from your readers?
If you are a reader, what do you think of the novella as an entertaining and satisfying form to read?