Tuesday, September 30, 2014

THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT Or, How to rock the novella, the epic-length novel, and everything in between.

With guest Lisa Phillips.

We hear it all the time. One author is working on the next book in her series, another is writing a novella. Someone else is publishing a book as four episodes—a “serial” novel. At some point in your writing career, chances are you’re going to do most—if not all—of these. 

But how?

That’s what we’ll be talking about today. So grab your morning cup of Joe, and join me in dissecting the many lengths your story can be.

My latest book, Star Witness, is a Love Inspired Suspense.  These books range from the 55 to 60 thousand word mark. They typically have two points of view—the hero and heroine—and maybe some layers, but NO subplot. With that kind of word count, you don’t want to waste any page time on stuff that’s not vitally important to the danger, and the love.

Let’s do a glossary first.

Plot – what’s happening in the book.

Layer – an element of the story that directly relates to character growth and so plot also. It would not stand alone as a story (it lacks a three act structure).

Sub-plot – a story within the story. A sub-plot has all the elements of your main plot (inciting incident, rising conflict and climax) but it’s not the actual story. It simply runs concurrently.

With a long novel—seventy-five thousand words plus—you have the luxury of time to spend in other character’s heads. Maybe you choose not to do this, but you CAN in a full-length novel. Your main character could just as easily be aware her sister is having relationship struggles, and the reader can see that as a sub-plot through the main character’s eyes. But we could also see those struggles through the sister’s own eyes while the reader takes a break from the other main characters every few chapters. Later, the two plots could collide at the climax so that your story benefits from the character’s ability to help solve each other’s problems. Or, maybe they realize it was one problem all along, and they team up.

Brainstorm it out: Maybe Julie and Sam don’t have enough of a story to warrant a book of their own. In that case, their story can be a sub-plot within Julie’s sister’s book. The more books you write, the easier it’ll be to tell how much story potential your idea has.

Shorter works like novellas can range in word count. It could be almost a short story, or anywhere up to forty thousand words—if not longer. Typically in this business we get told how long it should be, rather than asked how long it’s going to be. Unless you’re a self-publishing rebel (hi) and then you can make your work as long as you like, call it what you want, publish it when you feel like it, and even take it off Amazon just because you’ve decided you don’t like it anymore because you wrote it two years ago and you’re a WAY better writer now…


As I was saying… Novellas. Right.

Love Inspired type novels stick with the hero and heroine’s POV. You can, as the writer, choose to show what’s happening with a secondary character, but it would act more like a layer than a sub-plot. Be very careful it doesn’t detract from the main plot. Any layer or sub-plot should not take away from the main character’s page time—it should add to it. Tension, character arc, theme. It should reinforce all that stuff, making the main plot stronger.

Novellas are weird. Let’s just get that out there right now. Readers aren’t sure if they like them, I don’t know if I want to write one… It just might be a match made in heaven, if not for the fact books which are 99 cents sell better on Amazon. So—face it—you might have to suck it up and write one.

I just called mine a “prequel” story instead. You know—to make myself feel better.

Novellas are your novel distilled down to its purest elements. There’s just no room for rambling, or stuff the reader won’t care about anyway. 

Man, woman, Jesus, love. Danger. Explosion. Death-defying rescue. Swoon-worthy kiss.

The end.

That’s all. Whether it’s 15 or 50 thousand words—make them good.

If you want to learn more about sub-plots and layers, I would recommend you read Deep and Wide by Susan May Warren. I’d lend you mine, but it’s falling apart. She does a great job of explaining how to brainstorm layers, and weave in sub-plots. She takes you through each major plot point of the three acts, and shows you how the character grows through it all. In short, it’s everything you ever wanted to know about plot and character (which is pretty much all of writing). 

It’s good to learn these things. That’s probably why you’re here—to get a pep-talk. As writers, we have to face the changing market, pitching woes, reader expectations, pressure to market, pressure to produce more, and better.

I’ve discovered—particularly in switching from writing a Love Inspired Suspense to writing a full length novel—that this job really is hard. A hundred thousand words is a LOT, and you have to sit there and type ALL OF THEM. Every single word. But I love this story, and I believe my readers will love it too.

I’m going to say this again, because it bears repeating. 

It’s hard. Sometimes I don’t want to do it. Maybe you’re tired. Maybe you’re burned out. A lot of us are. Let’s purpose to pray for Christian writers, Christian publishers and Christian readers. We all need His strength in us.

A British ex-pat who grew up an hour outside of London, Lisa Phillips attended Calvary Chapel Bible College where she met her husband. He’s from California, but nobody’s perfect. She’s taken the Apprentice and Journeyman writing courses with the Christian Writers Guild, and discovered a penchant for high-stakes stories of mayhem and disaster where you can find made-for-each-other love that always ends in happily ever after. Lisa can be found in Idaho wearing either flip-flops or cowgirl boots, depending on the season. Find out what’s COMING NEXT www.authorlisaphillips.com


Check out Lisa’s latest novel: Star Witness.

Mackenzie Winters spent years building a life in Witness Protection, but when someone shoots at her, she fears her cover has been blown. Could the brother of the drug lord she put away be here for revenge? Mackenzie must rely on her handler’s twin, world-weary Delta Force soldier Aaron Hanning, to protect her. Aaron doesn’t want to be anyone’s hero, but he can’t let this brave woman die. Now, with danger stalking them, they’ll have to make a daring choice that means life or death—for them both.

Question: Have you tackled different length novels? Which is your favorite? Are you a purist, or a “try anything once” author?  Tell us about your struggles with length, or your idea for a short story and get entered to win one of TWO copies of Star Witness!! (Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.)

And in honor of her visit to Seekerville, I am putting my two indie novels, BAIT and SANCTUARY LOST on sale at 99 cents, today only, for Seekers to enjoy.


Helen Gray said...

Yep, a pep talk. That's what we're always looking for when we come to Seekerville.

And we get it.

The longest I've written is 95,000, the shortest a 24,000 prequel.

Coffee is brewing!!

Mark Abel said...

Hi Lisa,

Working on my first novel and figuring out it's rather lengthy, 160,000 words and counting, but the end is in sight.

Just got back from the St. Louis Conference and figured out my book, if published will likely need to be a three volume series.

Because it is a parallel plot, it's really two books in one, so I'm not overly worried about the length. Compared to Shogun and Pillars of the Earth, I think I'm ok, and editing is yet to come.

Thanks, Mark

Marianne Barkman said...

You are so right. I can't decide if I like novellas or not. Sometimes it's great to have a story that you can read in a few hours, but if I get to love the characters, I really want to spend more time with them! Thanks for the coffee, Helen

Terri said...

I've written 20,000 to 60,000 and am currently working on revising an 80,000.

Thanks for the tip on Susan May Warren's book.

Voni Harris said...

Difference between layer and subplot...great info. Thanks!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Lisa! Welcome to Seekerville!

I run the gamut from novellas to 100K with lots of Love Inspired 60K in the middle, so there are huge differences in each category.

The punch of a novella is way fun! But, like Marianne, sometimes I hate for them to end because I want more. Here's a TIP FOR AUTHORS: THIS IS A GOOD THING!!!!!

Because then folks will look for more of your work!


My indie books are in the 65-70K range. The one about to be released is longer, 95K, but I'm generally comfortable in the 70K range or the 20K range.

I love novellas I love to write them and I can't wait to release the Seeker novella collections in a few weeks!!!!

They make me smile!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Terri, go you!!!!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

So Mark, why not develop the book as a series right now?

That would be my advice. Take the Star Wars profile and make the first one triumphant, the second one gut-wrenching and the third one climactic.

Hey, what worked for George Lucas can't be a bad thing!

I'd go for it now while you're avidly working on it, and then I'd market it that way to agents/publishers.

Cindy W. said...

Hi Lisa. Helen is right, your post was a great pep talk. One that will be printed out and kept in my 'keeper' book.

I do enjoy reading a novella but as Marianne and Ruthy state, they sometimes leave you wanting more. It's really hard to fall in love with a character only to have the story end so quickly. I guess my favorite novellas would be 'prequels'.

Have a wonderful day!
Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Kara Isaac said...

I have no clue if I could write a novella. Though I suspect one day I'm going to need to give it a shot!

As a reader I tend to gravitate more toward the full-length novel because I enjoy the additional time they provide for character growth (and yes sub-plots!) but I have read a couple of great novellas recently so I'm keeping an open mind :)

The Artist Librarian said...

"Novellas are weird. Let’s just get that out there right now. Readers aren’t sure if they like them, I don’t know if I want to write one…"

This just made me smile for some reason ... as a reader, to find that authors themselves aren't totally sold on novellas either. I think if it's the only way to get so-and-so's story vs. no story at all, I'm okay with it, though I may wish it was a full novel. An example that immediately comes to mind is "Weddings and Wasabi" --a novella written by Camy Tang as the 4th "Sushi Series" book. I loved that we got Jenn's story, but I wish it could have been a full length novel like her other cousins had. =)

Jackie said...

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for visiting Seekerville.

After ACFW conference, I've decided to try and write a Love Inspired length novel. 85,000 is my normal word count, so we'll see if I can do it.

Thanks so much for sharing. You've helped my confidence that I might be able to do this. Have a great day!

Julie Hilton Steele said...

I am in the process of revising my LI length novel to 100K. I think I would rather add words than take them away but I am willing to give anything a chance!

Thanks for making me think this morning.

Peace, Julie

Connie Queen said...

I've never tried writing a novella, but maybe I should. I tend to be inpatient.

I prefer the 50-70K when reading. A 300-page book makes the characters too much a part of my life. I feel down when the story is over. 60k is enough to be a good story w/out disrupting my life.

The only novellas I read was by Louis L'mour. My mind just kind of filled in the rest of the story...

Love the post Lisa!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Good morning, and welcome back to Seekerville.

Vanilla bean scones for your breakfast pleasure.

I'm a shorty writer. I routinely write 800 word short stories for Woman's World and probably my longest novel so far has been 60K.

Tina Radcliffe said...


You make me look like a grocery list writer.

Tina Radcliffe said...

And thanks for the opportunity to purchase your indie suspense, Lisa!

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Lisa! I write for LIH so most books are 65-70k. I also wrote one novella for LIH, which told the story of minor characters from a previous book and was great fun to write.

When I started writing, my books were 100k but I was able to boil them down and not lose much. Obviously I was wordy or I wouldn't have been able to do it.

A dog-eared How To book says it's great. I'm not surprised. I've taken workshops with Susie and she knows her stuff.


Cindy Regnier said...

I just bought Bait and Sanctuary Lost. Thank you Lisa! I can't wait to read them. I have done some short stories and also full length (Longest is 105,000 words). A novella is something I aspire to but so far can't accomplish. I'm too long-winded I guess. Usually have to end up cutting whatever I wrote just to make it an acceptable length and I do hate cutting. Anyway, I'm kind of with the crowd who isn't sure if I like novellas or not. They always leave me wanting more from the characters - some deeper relationship if you will. Great coffee Helen.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Tina, good point! I love a good sale!
And good coffee, so Helen is my one true love. Today's was a really early morning session, but the fun side of that is Black-capped Chickadees have found my feeders and they don't migrate! I might have cute birds for the littles to watch all winter.


Lisa Phillips said...

Good Morning all! You're all up and chipper! I've got my coffee and I'm ready to roll.

One thing I think I've figured out about readers is they have to KNOW it's a novella before they buy it. Like you have to mentally prepare them for the fact it's short - like put THIS IS A SHORT NOVEL in the description so you don't get bad reviews about how you're novella is only a hundred pages :-)

I'm SO jealous of those of you who went to the conference. Mark - isn't it awesome when you know you're on the right track! I love epic trilogies. Jill Williamson is one of my favorite authors. And Susie May Warren - I really want to take a class from her one day.

Lisa Phillips said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wilani Wahl said...

Lisa, I am writing my first novel. I do have ideas for other books but other than writing down my thoughts on the other books I am wanting to finish the first one which I am currently at 46,000 words.

Jeanne T said...

Lisa, I loved your post today. Thanks for distilling the information down to the most pertinent. I'm working on re-writes for my book. And I need to add layers or a subplot. I'm pondering that now. :)

And Susan May Warren--TAKE HER CLASS. I've gone to a number of her retreats and I've learned so much about writing from her. Thanks for reminding me about Deep and Wide. I need to pull that out and use it as I work on rewrites. :)

Did you go to CC Bible College in Murietta CA? :)

Lisa Phillips said...

46,000! That's great, Wilani! Yes - always write down new ideas, but don't daydream about them. They always seem like they would be much better than the one you're working on now :-) Like they couldn't possibly give you this much trouble!

Lisa Phillips said...

Uh, hi Jeanne! Yes I did go to CCBC! Around 2004/05 and I was Lisa Clayton back then!

kaybee said...

Good morning,
Thank you, Lisa. Isn't it great that we can write in so many diverse ways? For every taste and every budget of reader.
I had a rude (well, polite) awakening when I had the plot consultation with Cathy Yardley and she suggested 80,000 words was Not Enough to explore Michael and Caroline's relationship in "Trail." So I'm going to see if I can delve a little deeper and further explore the relationship. It's supposed to be an epic, so I guess I can go a little higher.
I'm going to try a novella for NANO. It will be my first time with the short form, but I've been reading up on it in Seekerville and on other venues. I know what NOT to do, now I just need a plot, ha ha.
In some cases, your story dictates what it wants to be. For example, Michael and Caroline have so much backstory I couldn't do it in a novella -- and I don't think I could condense the Oregon Trail experience into 50,000 words. But my novella couple is younger and with less baggage, it's a straight romance, so yeah, I think I can do it. I've also taken the advice to use a setting that's familiar, so the novella will take place in an Oregon Country settlement.
ISN'T IT WONDERFUL...that God gives us so many diverse ways to communicate? Novels, novellas, epics, series, LIH, LIS, and now indie. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry. I don't do poetry, I don't think in those images, but I respect it in others. When my children were little we didn't have TV, but we listened to Focus on the Family's "Adventures in Odyssey" and serials on the radio. So many ways...
Kathy Bailey

Lisa Phillips said...

Hi Kathy! Agree Agree! I do love how God created so many forms for us to use. And the characters do make the story - whatever length it's going to be. I'm doing Nano this year also, since I need to write another LIS that's under deadline.

Anyone else doing NaNoWriMo this year?

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Lisa and welcome to Seekerville.

I just finished my first novella--the Christmas novella that Seekers are publishing. yay and I have to admit I prefer a longer novel so I can get deeper into it.

I like 100,000 novels best as I love all the sub-plots and secondary characters, however I also enjoy a 50,000-60,000 short contemporary also. So much fun. And the nice thing about the shorter novel is you can finish sooner.

Have fun today and thanks for the gifts you are offering to our readers. woo hoo

Elaine Manders said...

Hi Lisa, thanks for the post.

I didn't think I could write anything less than 80K until I wrote my Christmas novella and found out the story defines the length. I've studied the market a lot this year, especially the exploding indy market and believe if I want to self-publish, novellas in a popular niche are the way to go. After NaNoWrimo I'm going to write 3 novellas in a mail-order bride series. All 3 won't be but 60K. If I can get my daughter to partner with this, because I'm not good with technical stuff, I'll do it.

Lisa Phillips said...

Hi Sandra! Thanks for having me.

I'm so excited you guys are publishing a Seeker novella collection! So Fun! We're doing something similar over at Teamloveontherun.com in the Spring.

I do like long fiction, but I'm a purist too, in that I like a minimum number of POV's. So I'm not a huge sub-plot person - which is more true of Bait, than of Sanctuary Lost (the 2 books on sale).

The Sanctuary (WITSEC town) series is proving to be 2 main POVs and a tiny portion of others towards the end. We'll see how it works out! I just finished book 2.
And you're right that shorter stuff you can finish quicker! That is a good motivator.

Have a great day!

Lisa Phillips said...

So fun Elaine! Going indie is scary, but SO worth it for the power to do a "flash sale" on a book or 2 - like I'm doing today.
All lengths, and different outlets (traditional and self-pub) is a very beneficial way to go. And readers like books they can sink into, and books they can read fast. And you can price them accordingly.

Another NaNo Seeker! Love it.

Myra Johnson said...

Lisa, thanks for sharing your insights with us today! I think by now I've tried them all--50K for Heartsong Presents, full-length novels with multiple POVs, and most recently two novellas. I also have two or three unpublished full-length first-person women's fiction manuscripts.

Yes, every one of them presents its own set of challenges. And I have to say I like all the different lengths for different reasons. Longer books give me more opportunities to explore other relationships, backstory, subplots, etc. Shorter books are a nice break from having to keep track of so many story threads.

Do I have a favorite? LOL--whatever I'm working on at the time! (Or maybe whatever I'm NOT working on at the time!!!)

Lisa Phillips said...

Hi Myra!
I think it was Robin Lee Hatcher who said the novel you're working on now is the toddler throwing a fit on the living room floor, and the novel idea you haven't started yet is the baby in the womb that's never pooped, or cried at all!
So true.

Myra Johnson said...

Great analogy--thanks, Lisa!

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI Lisa, It is interesting that in Sanctuary, you have two main POV's and then others added toward the end. Will have to check that out.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Lisa, you were smart and put out three works within four months... and that's a big part of the blast your way into indie publishing success formula, to give yourself marketing and pricing room to get all the books noticed.


Your sales rankings are solid and that's a great feeling, right?

Congratualations on that. I love .99 sales and I put my most popular indie on a permanent .99 sale and it's been wonderful for readers and me. I have no complaints.

Good job!


DebH said...

thanks for the Seeker sale for your books on Amazon. cha-ching! the only bummer is i've too much writing to do to justify reading them soon (but yay, i've got 'reward' reading at the ready).

i tend to write short. i barely got to 50K for my Killer Voice entry. i think i may be a novella type writer - it's too soon in my adventure to really know. As for reading... I love all lengths IF it's a rockin' story. (and so far, all authors featured at Seekerville have rockin' stories).

oh, and I do pay attention to the notes on Amazon that say SHORT work. it helps me when i'm wavering on whether to get my 99 cent fix.

thanks for the PEP TALK.

Lisa Phillips said...

Sandra, I don't think you're "supposed" to do that. But I think it works for this series.

Lisa Phillips said...

Hi Ruth!
It still feels like I'm very new, but I do have solid sales.
I like the Indy model a lot, and may not have wanted to write for LIS if I didn't like reading them so much :)

Tina Radcliffe said...

LOL on the Robin Lee Hatcher analogy. SOOO TRUE!!!

Lisa Phillips said...

You're welcome, Deb! I try to give myself reading rewards, but I'm always like "well, I can read this quicker than I can write that." Haha! I'm not so good with delayed gratification!
Congrats on entering killer voices. I tend to hit the word count with no room to spare and a friend of mine always comes in short and edits by adding words.
It takes all kinds!

Lisa Phillips said...

Turns out I can "reply" from my phone. Who knew?
Morning Helen. Glad you got your daily pep talk!

Julie Lessman said...

WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE, LISA -- it's great (and inspiring) to have you here.

LOVE your statement that: "Novellas are weird ... I just called mine a 'prequel' story instead. You know—to make myself feel better."

LOL ... I agree TOTALLY, and my first attempt at a novella was my only indie-pubbed novel, A Light in the Window, which ended up being 115,000 words. I did the same thing you did -- called it a "prequel" to take the fear of novella away.

I should have known that if my first five books were 160,000 to 175,000 words EACH, I would have trouble writing a novella. ;) Although, one might argue, comparatively speaking, 115,000 words is certainly novella length for me ... ;)

I am going to be part of the Seeker historical Christmas novella, for which Ruthy laid down firm rules of 25,000 words max. I came in at 30,000 (SOOO PROUD!!), and was able to cut it down to 27,000 (EVEN PROUDER!!), so I'm getting the hang of it, I hope. :)


Lisa Phillips said...

Hi Julie!
That's awesome you did 30k! So fun to be part of that, I'll have to check it out.

Mark Abel said...

Hello Ladies,

Thanks for the feedback on 160,000 words, who ever said bigger isn't better!

I had already broken the book into four parts because it seemed to fall into place that way, because of the Bible passage which the story is based on. Thinking about a trilogy, maybe my part one could be the epilogue, included in volume one, with two and three following.

Thanks again for the help and wisdom. Love your site and also had fun seeking the Seekers this weekend in St. Louis !

Lisa Phillips said...

Ooh, I totally want to know when that comes out, Mark!

Mark Abel said...

Thanks Lisa,

Thanks also for Not pointing out I meant to say Prologue!

Jennifer Smith said...

I didn't know Susan May Warren had a writing book out. I'll have to look it up. Thanks for sharing!

Missy Tippens said...

Welcome, Lisa! What a great post. I recently completed my first novella. Did a short story years ago. And also do the 55-60k LI's. So I've been trying a little of everything! Even did a women's fiction years ago that was about 70k. Next on my list, a 5k short story, I think. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Wow, Mark! I can't imagine 160k! But 3 volumes sounds like a great way to break it down. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Julie, I recently learned that it's easier for me to cut than to add! :)

Missy Tippens said...

Connie Q, that's really interesting about getting more involved with the characters in a longer book! I think maybe I do that, too.

Lisa Phillips said...

Jennifer, she has a couple.
I recommend "kiss and tell" if you write romance, and the two structure ones "from the inside...out" and "deep and wide" both. They're all good.

Lisa Phillips said...


Kav said...

First off -- amen to praying for Christian authors and publishers. I recently got a message -- facebook? email? can't remember -- from a publishing house announcing their September release authors and asking for prayers for them. It was beautifully worded, not mangled like I've just done. Can't remember the publisher -- Bethany House maybe? Anyway, I thought it was such a lovely, purposeful idea that now I pray for the author of the book I'm reading. I'll add in the publisher now too, because we want them to stand strong and continue to publish books we love.

I'm horrible for writing toooooooo long. So an average story length for me is like (blushing furiously) over 100,000 words...but if I am completely honest half of those words aren't keepers. And if I was brutally honest I'd have to admit that likely only 1/4 of the words should stick. I tend to think everything through in my writing and add in a lot of non essential stuff. Like if the characters are in one room and a new scene is going to begin in another, I'll add in a linking scene to get them there. LOL. Makes editing nasty.

And you have two self-pubbed books I didn't know about? How did that happen? -- ooooh, you have more than two!

Don't put me in the draw -- I have read Star Witness....loved it!!!!!

Sandy Smith said...

Thanks for the great post, Lisa. I found your comments about novellas interesting. My biggest complaint about novellas has been that they often seem like something is missing. I have especially noticed that with authors of novels I have read and I have been disappointed in their novellas. So it must be difficult for some people to write. I am looking forward to the Seekers novella.

I am just beginning my first novel but I guess it will be a longer one as it will have several POV characters. But I have gotten my start as a short story writer. Are Tina and I the only short story writers in Seekerville?

Please enter me into the drawing.

Lyndee H said...

Interesting post and ideas, Lisa. I haven't tried writing a novella, but I'm sort of working toward that by dialing back word count on projects.

I started out targeting a 70,000 word book and now I've turned to writing books that come in around 50.000. I'm not sure that I see much difference in my enjoyment level other than it's fun to get to 'The End' one month earlier than I did at the longer count. Thanks for your post!

Lisa Phillips said...

Thank you, ladies. It's fun to read novella's as a reader, instead of a writer and see what works (or didn't) -that's an interesting comment, Sandy, about thinking something's missing!

It seems to me, whatever length you're writing - do it well. Which does take prayer.

Meghan Carver said...

Thank you for the pep talk, Lisa. I'm still on an adrenaline high from conference, but I'm going to save this post for when I need it later. And I'm sure I will need it later. :-)

That book, Deep and Wide, sounds great. Going to look for it now. Thanks for a great post!

Lisa Phillips said...

Yay Meghan!
I SO want to go to that conference next year!

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

Great post, Lisa! Thanks so much for visiting us today! :)

I've written a pretty broad range, a 75,000-word novel, a 50,000 word short novel, and most recently a 35,000 word novella. Each has its pros and cons. And I've learned something new with each one. :)

Jeanne T said...

Lisa, who knows, I may have met you while on a retreat there. The church I went to held retreats there every year. :) How fun that we have this in common. Sort of. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Lisa!

I love to write short and started out with short stories and short slice-of-life vignettes.

Once I turned to full-length fiction, I penned bigger books that didn't sell. LOL! Perhaps I wasn't ready for 90,000 word stories.

Somewhere along the line, I found category romance and Love Inspired Suspense. That 55-60 thousand count is a nice fit for me.

My second LIS novella releases in OCT. Both 20,000 word reads were fun to write, which underscores my love of short, terse prose.

So what conclusion can I draw? A writer writes...

Long. Short. It doesn't matter in the end. Just so we keep writing.

So glad you could be with us today!!!

Debby Giusti said...


I didn't get to meet you in St. Louis!!!

I'm so sorry. Were you hiding?

Chill N said...

Wow, Lisa! That is an amazing cover -- mystery and suspense from the get-go!

I laughed out loud at this in your bio: " ... where she met her husband. He’s from California, but nobody’s perfect."

Thanks for the informative post, and wishing you the best with Star Witness.

Nancy C

Lisa Phillips said...

Hi Anna. You're welcome! It is a learning experience, isn't it? I feel like I've barely started getting a handle on this thing :-)

Jeanne - who knows?! It is a small world.

Lisa Phillips said...

Thank you Debby! I love LIS, too. But also the chance to "go deeper" as many have said about longer works. And we've all written stinkers of all lengths!!
I'm excited to read your October book.

Hi Nancy! Thanks, I LOVE this cover. I don't think I've had a bad one (I've seen the cover for my Feb book), but the color on the Star Witness cover, and the cracked road, makes it one of my favorites.

CatMom said...

Yikes! I am super late chiming in today (been on the go) but wanted to say Hi to Lisa! Thanks for sharing with us today, and congratulations on your LIS release. :)

I've written one 90k ms, but really prefer writing the Love Inspired lengths (anywhere from 55-75,000 words, depending on contemporary or historical). I admire you suspense writers--cannot imagine writing a suspense!

Thanks again for visiting.
Blessings from Georgia,
Patti Jo :)

Tina Radcliffe said...

I got to meet Mark and his lovely wife.

Waving again to Mark.

Mary Preston said...

As a reader I must say that the longer the story the better. I want to jump right in & stay a while.