Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Me, Write a Novella? What a Novel Idea!

In 2015 I was part of a collection of short stories that Guideposts put out. I’d seen the previous year’s books, a set of two collections, contemporary and historical stories beautifully packaged with hardcovers. I was so impressed, I sent my proposal in the following year when Guideposts gave the call. And to my surprise --  and fear -- they bought my idea! Now, I only had to write it.

What was I thinking?! I can’t keep a 100,000-word book below 120,000. I had to have been crazy. A moment of insanity I’ll call it. But I took on the challenge and learned it is much harder to write a short story than a full-length novel. That did teach me to stay clear of anything shorter than a full-length book.


So how did I end up in a novella collection?

Life happened and I realized I needed to reevaluate my writing. My debut, Sword of Forgiveness released in 2015. As book 1 in my Winds of Change medieval series, it sold well beyond my expectations. I had this grand plan to release one of my 19th-century books while I was writing the sequel to Sword of Forgiveness. I wanted to keep my readers engaged, but I hadn’t started the medieval sequel yet. So, as it happens with most people, life threw me a curve -- my husband was diagnosed with an incurable cancer. That was a huge bump in the road! After getting a second opinion, we realized we had to move to Houston, Texas for almost a half of a year to be near MD Anderson Cancer Center. It was my husband’s only hope of beating it—a clinical trial.


Okay, I could work with that. I had no responsibility except my husband while we were there. My 19th-century novel released and about four months later, my husband started his chemo. I planned to sit in the hospital and write until I could type “The End” on my medieval. I had hopes that it would be finished by the time we returned to South Carolina and all the pressures of normal life.
 

The plan was perfect. What I discovered was I had no -- and I mean zero -- creativity while I watched Joe go through one of the hardest chemo regimens out there. When he finished his cancer treatments, we returned to our home and tried to pick up where we’d left off. I started working on my sequel to Sword of Forgiveness, encouraged by emails and IM’s asking when the sequel was coming out.
 

I couldn’t write any faster than I was because I was keeping grandkids, cleaning house, cooking, church responsibilities—you know, we all have them. But God had a plan. It wasn’t on my radar but it was on His. An opportunity came open for me to write in a novella collection. A novella? Yikes! Hadn’t I already decided that shorter stories weren’t my forte? But when one is quiet and listens, you often will hear the Lord whispering in your spirit. My heart told me this was my answer. I quickly emailed the publisher and asked if I could use a character from my book. The answer came back yes. So I dove in head first and took the spot.
 

What I learned is I CAN write shorter stories—in much less time than a full-length story. And I learned that being in novella collections has many perks. To start with, as I said above, it takes a fraction of the time. With 20,000 being the word count -- okay for me it was more like 28,000 -- I was able to put out that novella in about a fifth of the time. Things have to move along quickly in a novella, so the story flows fast. There is no time to wonder what your hero or heroine might do next because they don’t have nearly as long to do it!
 

So in writing "Sword of the Matchmaker" for the Summer Lov’N collection, I was able to satisfy my medieval readers with a shorter novel while I continued to work on the sequel. They had a chance to reconnect with all the characters they’d fallen in love with, and it gave me a chance to give one of my characters a story. Thomas needed his own story and my readers were glad to see the man finally marry. It bought me time while keeping my readers engaged with the series, allowing me the opportunity to finish the sequel before people lost interest.
 

So what if you don’t have or want to write a novella that is connected to one of your books? How can writing a novella help? A shorter story means its faster to write, and has a quicker turnaround time than a full-length novel, allowing you to get something in front of your reader’s eyes in between longer projects.
 

Another perk to a novella is you are sharing this collection with four or five other authors -- authors who may have written other books and have a following. If a reader buys a collection, chances are they are going to read the others in the set, making an opportunity for you to pick up new readers.
 

And, of course, other authors mean more promotion. Almost every author does some promoting of their books. If four other authors are sending out emails, newsletters, tweeting, FB, and Pinterest, then they are reaching their fan base, which most likely will expand your own readership.


It’s pretty much a known fact that the more books you have up for sale for the general population of readers, the better your chances of gaining readers—and increasing your income.

So what about you? Do you find it hard writing shorter pieces of work? Have you ever written a novella? Can you think of any other ways that writing these shorter pieces work to our advantage?

GIVEAWAY:
Debbie is giving away a copy of "Sword of the Matchmaker" (if you have purchased the book you can choose another of Debbie's books). Leave a comment or answer one of the questions, and you're in the draw! And check out the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this blog!


"SWORD OF THE MATCHMAKER" NOVELLA:
Penelope Beatty made up her mind long ago she would live and die a Scottish warrior, not a wife. But when nearly all her clan is killed and she is betrayed, she loathes doing the unthinkable -- seeking the help of an Englishman who owed her father his life.



 
Thomas Godfrey never married, but when a Scottish warrior lass shows up needing his aid, he finds her both annoying and irresistible. The last thing he wants is to marry a woman who fights alongside him. If he was going to marry—which he isn’t—it would be to a soft, submissive woman. But when the Lady Brithwin meets the Scottish lass, she’s sure she’s found the perfect match for Thomas and nothing is going to stop her from seeing a summer wedding.   

Purchase link for "Sword of the Matchmaker" HERE!
 
SWORD OF FORGIVENESS NOVEL:
After the death of her cruel father, Brithwin is determined never again to live under the harsh rule of any man. Independent and resourceful, she longs to be left alone to manage her father’s estate. But she soon discovers a woman has few choices when the king decrees she is to marry Royce, the Lord of Rosencraig. As if the unwelcome marriage isn’t enough, her new husband accuses her of murdering his family, and she is faced with a challenge of either proving her innocence or facing possible execution.



Royce of Hawkwood returns home after setting down a rebellion to find his family brutally murdered. When all fingers point to his betrothed and attempts are made on his life, Royce must wade through murky waters to uncover the truth. Yet Brithwin’s wise and kind nature begins to break down the walls of his heart, and he soon finds himself in a race to discover who is behind the evil plot before Brithwin is the next victim.   


Purchase link for Sword of Forgiveness HERE!

BIO:
Debbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children's Director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland Sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, she and her husband take pleasure in camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses.


MEDIA LINKS:

Web page
www.theswordandspirit.blogspot.com
www.HHHistory.com 
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Goodreads
Google+
Amazon

RAFFLECOPTER 


Don’t forget to enter in the rafflecopter, too! There will be lots of ways to earn points. Debbie will be giving away choice of a Kindle Fire with "Sword of the Matchmaker" loaded on it or $50 Amazon gift card, $15 Amazon gift card and much more!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

105 comments :

  1. I sure could use an Amazon gift card. I have nothing to read but I do have a wish list of books.

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    1. Cathyann that is a terrible place to be in! Life without books to read...Yikes! But besides the 2 amazon gift cards I'll also be giving away copies of all my books. Good luck in the giveaways!

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  2. Welcome to Seekerville, Debbie. Beautiful covers on your novellas and I love your webpage.

    I am big into ROI and thanks to Melanie Dickerson, I am trying to apply it to my personal writing time.

    What would you say the ROI was on your novellas as far and $ and readership gain?

    I have found that sometimes they take off like markets and other times the release is when novellas are glutting the market. Having a solid anchor big name always increases your ROI as well.

    In Seekerville, we have dabbled and in the past, now several years have passed, the historical novellas did the best. Interesting. Any take on that?

    At any rate, I love, love novellas and no matter if I am working with a group or alone will continue to write them.

    Thanks for being here.

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    1. Hey Tina! It is great to be here. With this being my first novella I can't say I've seen the full ROI. With the connection to my debut novel the novella seems to have helped keep the book numbers. I think people who enjoy the novella are picking up the full-length. I went into this novella with 2 main purposes--giving my readers what they were asking for and that was more of the Winds of Change Series, but also I wrote it because I felt like it would help my sequel when it comes out by keeping readers connected to the series. So, I won't know the full ROI until that sequel is released this fall.

      Yes, having a good anchor is for sure a HUGE help in how the novella sells. Those draw names are gold!

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    2. Tina, I think our Seekerville novellas pretty much hit when the market was glutted with novellas, especially at Christmas time, but I thought they still did fairly well, although splits between four and five people does diminish personal profits for sure.

      Tina, how on earth would one go about measuring ROI as far as readership gain? I'm not really sure how to measure readership gain from my freebie prequel novella to my Isle of Hope series, but I sure would be interested in learning.

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    3. A "big" anchor name does seem to be crucial for the success of a novella collection.

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  3. Don't we all, CathyAnn. Those wish lists seem to grow and grow. You should enter Debbie's rafflecopter. What a great opportunity for MORE READS!!! WOOT!

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  4. take off like rockets, not markets...pass the caffeine

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    1. LOL ... I knew what you meant even without my coffee. ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  5. I'm a reader, so novellas are ideal when I don't have a lot of time to read a long novel or are in-between review books. Or maybe for those times when I need a break. The perk is, maybe I will indeed find a new favorite writer :-)

    That being said, novellas aren't my first choice. I've read some really well written ones and enjoyed them, then on the other hand I've read really terrible ones where they felt rushed. I think as an author, they would be harder because you have to condense your story without losing quality writing. You have to quickly engage your readers in the story and with the characters and keep their interest throughout. We can be a finicky bunch ;-)

    The novella sets I have enjoyed are put out by Barbour publishing company. I've not found one of those I didn't like. I also have one particular author who only writes novellas and can pull them off beautifully. I know they aren't for all authors, but as you've proven, they can still be done well!

    Great post Debbie! How is your husband doing now? I'm glad God got you through a very scary time! I can't even imagine.

    I would love to be in the draw for "Sword of the Matchmaker" as I have the other two books in paperback :-) Thank you for the chance!

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    1. Trixi!! Hey girl! How are you? I love your take on the novellas. That was exactly my fear after writing the short story--how on earth to make the story flow and not rush it yet keep it interesting with all the fun twists and intrigue. That part can be a bit of a challenge! But once I knew where I was going and how I was going to get there it sailed.

      Thank you for asking about my husband, Trixi. We just returned from Houston's MD Anderson hospital on Monday where he had another of his 4 month check ups. This return celebrated his 1 year anniversary of being cancer free! God has certainly blessed us and we are so thankful. It was a scary time but we had so many prayers from friends, family, and many of my readers had Joe on their prayer list that I can honestly say I 'felt' the prayers of God's people.

      Yay! I'm so glad you have my other two books. Yes, you must reader Sword of the Matchmaker! You'll enjoy meeting up with everyone from Sword of Forgiveness. Fingers crossed you win the book!!

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    2. Trixi, it is definitely difficult to pull off a novella without rushing the romance part. They almost need to know each other before the story starts. At least that's what I've found helps me write the stories.

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  6. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Debbie. I can't imagine how difficult that must have been to try and write while your husband was fighting cancer. Based on your bio, I'm assuming he beat it and the two of you are enjoying life? I pray that's the case.
    Since I have a tendency to get very attached to my characters and others I read, I have mixed feeling about novellas. Sometimes I'm just not ready to say goodbye. Thanks for visiting today!

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    1. Hey Jill, Yes, Joe is in complete remission. And there is a story behind that but it would take another post plus to tell it. ;o) God in His infinite wisdom put people and things in our path over 20 years ago to prepare for the day we would face cancer. We serve an awesome God! Being in the trial, Joe will have to return every 4 months for another year before it will go to every 6 months for 2 years. We are now building the house we have always dreamed of building and when I say we, I do mean we. Joe and I are doing much of the building ourselves. We LOVE doing it!

      Getting attached to my characters was part of the reason I decided to write this novella. It gave me the opportunity to say hey again and see how they were all doing.

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    2. How fun to be building your dream home!

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    3. This makes me very happy, Debbie. I hope you and your husband enjoy many, many years of happiness in your dream home.

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  7. Debbie,
    Thanks for the encouragement about writing a novella. The thought lingers in the back of my mind but seems like a whole new education! But still, I think about it.
    Lovely picture of you and your horse both here and on your web. I feel like we should be friends! I showed and trained Arabians for a long time and have had Shelties since I was a kid. I never bred Shelties though because I could never have parted with a puppy and I'd hate to think how many would be running around with me now.
    Blessings to you and your family

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    1. LOL! Barbara, I believe we should have been BFF's. I love my horses and my shelties. And I have to say at times I had way to many shelties! Right now I have 3! Showing and training Arabs... Wow! I am very impressed. Both my husband and I have an Arab. Mine is not broke but I'm doing ground work with the boy. I might have to look you up for advice! LOL.

      As to the Novella, YES! It is definitely a learning curve, but very doable. And so much fun once I got into it. Give it a try. You might find you love it!

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    2. Contact me anytime. I'm always ready to help a fellow horse lover, Arabian lover, Sheltie lover, writing lover…

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  8. DEBBIE!!! SO good to have you here today, my sweet friend, and I am REJOICING with everyone else that Joe just celebrated his 1 year anniversary of being cancer free! PRAISE GOD!!!

    VERY interesting subject, and one I wouldn't have been interested in a few years ago because like Trixi, novellas are not my first choice. I like meaty, door-stopper books (uh, you think), so I almost never picked up a novella. But I have to admit that writing Seeker novellas helped cure some of that because not only was I shocked to discover I enjoyed writing them, but shocked to learn they could convey a very interesting story in so few words.

    You asked: So what about you? Do you find it hard writing shorter pieces of work?

    Actually, surprisingly enough, I didn't find it difficult to write a shorter piece of work, although I did have to do some heavy editing on one novella, cutting it down from 39,000 words to 20,000. But then I'm a pro at that ever since my editor asked me to cut 50,000 words from one of the O'Connor books. ;)

    As far as writing the novella, I would just fix a framework of ten scenes in my mind and (and no more if I could help it), and fit the story into each one, kind of like a puzzle. That helped me to keep the word count down. But when all is said and down, I really prefer writing novels and reading them to novellas.

    Hugs,
    Julie


    Have you ever written a novella? Can you think of any other ways that writing these shorter pieces work to our advantage?

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    1. Hey Julie! I am so thankful that God has given us MDA and that He gives us these check ups to remind us what HE HAS DONE for us. I give Him all the glory! He used MDA but God is the great physician.

      I love the way you framed up your novella with the ten scenes. I think I might try that next time. That really is great advice for those of us who tend to be a bit on the longer winded side and always have to cut, cut, cut!

      I had to giggle when you said you had to cut 50,000 words from one of your O'Conner books. I remember when your first book came out, thinking, wow that is a long book!

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  9. Whoops ... forgot to answer your other questions.

    You asked: Have you ever written a novella? Can you think of any other ways that writing these shorter pieces work to our advantage?

    Yes, I have written six novellas (one still unpublished because I'm waiting to write the series first) and I have to admit that I truly enjoyed writing them. It's kind of nice to get something written in a month!!

    The prequel novella I wrote for my Isle of Hope series, A Glimmer of Hope (which is available for free download, by the way -- A GLIMMER OF HOPE
    -- was kind of written butt-backwards. What I mean by that is Keith and I were driving home from seeing our daughter in Birmingham in December when he suggested I write the prequel to IOH. I remember thinking it would be a breeze since I planned to use a flashback scene from book one as the last chapter, so I figured I already had a whole chapter written, plus I planned to include a 1st-chapter sneak peek from book 1. I knocked that puppy out and had it published by Valentine's Day, which was soooo fun because it did well because the readers of book 1 wanted backstory.

    But I'll admit I wasn't satisfied with it because I rushed it, and a few miffed reviews convinced me I needed to add backstory about the secondary couple because that's what those reviewers wanted.

    So ... I added four chapters including a new ending, and I feel SO much better about it now, and the reviews have been better too. :)

    That said, I honestly think prequel novellas are the way to go for a series, and frankly, from what I can tell, a ton of authors do them including our own Mary Connealy.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Well, now, Julie, that is an interesting take on the novellas and if you have your readers begging for backstory what a great way to deliver it!

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    2. Hi Julie:

      You wrote:

      "Actually, surprisingly enough, I didn't find it difficult to write a shorter piece of work..."

      I thought that at the time, your new 'novella', "A Light in the Window," which was a prequel to the Boston series -- (and which was written after the six books had already been published) came in at a listed 407 pages.

      It was to be the first of the new wave of 'pagy' Christian novellas.

      Vince

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    3. LOL, VINCE, you little brat!! ;)

      And, yes, A Light in the Window was originally supposed to be a novella when I pitched it to Revell. They wanted it, but because they didn't plan on publishing it for 2 years, my agent and I decided to publish it ourselves. Thus, I decided to turn it into a novel instead. But in my defense, it was the shortest novel I had written at that time. ;) Love Everlasting now holds that honor.

      By the way, did you get my email about my blog tour for book 3 in the Isle of Hope series, His Steadfast Love?

      Hugs!!
      Julie

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    4. I agree with the prequel novellas! I love them, I love anticipating a new series and getting a head start to getting to know the characters and plot. I think prequel novellas are up and coming as so many authors I know are writing them! I just recently read about three of them before the first full length novel in that series and it really whet my appetite for the book.

      I had read one review where the reviewer said that the prequel novella (which was free) for that particular series was a switch and bait to force you to buy the book! I literally gasped out loud when I read that, I could not believe it! If a person takes the time to read the description of the novella, they will find it says it is a prequel to whatever series it belongs to. It was almost like the reviewer thought the author was deceiving them or something! If I find I am unable to obtain a copy of the full length book, I will not get the novella. I guess I was just so shocked to read that, it's not like that person didn't know. And also, if they would have read other reviews, they would have seen where other people mentioned the fact that it was a prequel.

      Anyway, I just wanted to put my two cents in :-) Has anyone done a novella for the end of a series? You know, for readers to get a glimpse of the characters lives afterwards? I know I also really like epilogues at the end of a book :-)

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    5. Hi Julie:

      Yes, I did get your email but I do no social media like Facebook. So I'll never be at any Facebook events. I still like the newsletters. Vince

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  10. Debbie,
    First let me say I'm glad your husband is in remission. Talk about a life derailment!

    Like Tina, I'd like to know how this works for you in the long run. I can see where the novella would help keep readers interested in the characters and promote your other stories at the same time.

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    1. Hey Connie, Thank you so much for the well wishes. It caught us off guard to be sure! But thankfully nothing catches God off guard.

      Because this is my first novella I'm not sure what the long run holds but having a novella that is part of a series to giveaway when the next book comes out is a HUGE advantage! Unfortunately for me I won't have my rights back until a year later so it won't help with this sequel, but who knows maybe I'll have to do what Julie suggests and write another, but a prequel to giveaway. There is a lot of back story in my sequel. Hmmmm I see another novella in my future.

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  11. HELLO DEBBIE LYNNE! I'm praising the Lord with you for a GOOD REPORT from MDA!

    As a reader, I enjoy prequel novellas. They pique my interest for more stories.

    I brought chocolate chip scones and Earl Grey.

    Blessings and (((((HUGS))))

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    1. Caryl!!!!! Hey sweet lady! Thank you for coming by and celebrating Joe's awesome report! So, Caryl, what's your thoughts? Should I write a prequel?

      How did you know I am a tea drinker and scones are my absolute fav?!

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    2. Caryl, thanks for the scones and tea!

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  12. Wow! Thanks Debbie. This is a great post. Of course I'm all for writing novellas. The time factor is huge. I'm wondering about readers. Do most readers enjoy these, maybe also because it's less time consuming to read a novella? In my own mind, I tend to be just a little disappointed after finishing a novella. I enjoy the character development and internal retrospection that novellas must do without for the most part. How do others feel?
    I am cheering for you and Joe!

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    1. Thank you, Cindy! It is true you can't do as much character development in a novella, but I think that is what is nice about writing out of a series, some of that character development is already set and if you use the novella as a prequel you will definitely get the full ahhhh factor when your read the book! But you know as authors we certainly try to do our best to give that even in the novellas. That to me was the bigger challenge.

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  13. Hi Debbie Lynne! I am so glad you enjoyed the novella process! I knew you could do it! So glad Joe just got a clear exam again too. Hugs and love to you my friend!

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    1. Hey Carrie! Thanks for coming by and for celebrating Joe's anniversary with me! We are truly blessed in so many ways!

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  14. Good morning Debbie Lynne, I enjoyed reading your thoughts. I enjoy having a novella to read when life is hectic and reading time is limited.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. That's great, Connie. There are so many wonderful novella's out there! Hope you get a chance to read Sword of the Matchmaker.

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  15. Good morning, Debbie Lynne!

    First of all, I was so touched by the honesty of your post and thrilled that your husband is doing well. I loved hearing how God had your back when you were unable to write. The novella seemed to be the perfect solution and bears the fingerprints of God's provision.

    I have to admit, I LOVE the medieval genre! The blurb to your book gave me goosebumps. I love swordplay and action adventure, rescuing damsels, and defeating evil oppressors. Please enter my name in the hat for your giveaway.

    Thank you for sharing your experience today. Enjoy your coffee and scones.

    ~ Renee

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    1. Hello, Renee. I love sharing how God was moving on our behalf when we didn't even know there was a need!

      And I LOVE hearing that you LOVE medieval!!! I do too! ;) And I am in full agreement, who could resist all those wonderful attributes of a medieval novel. Good luck in the giveaway! Throwing your name in the hat now!

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  16. Good morning Debbie Lynne and thank you for joining us here in Seekerville. What an inspiring story. I hope your hubby is doing well. Its tough going through that as you feel so helpless. Your novella sounds great and how wonderful you were able to participate in that venture and keep your readers happy. Thanks again for sharing with us today. Have a great day.

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    1. Thank you for the warm welcome, Sandra. I love being here. Joe is doing great. He is gaining his strength and stamina. It is so amazing to watch how quickly he is recovering. I do feel so very blessed for all God's provisions during that time and now!

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  17. Hello Debbie Lynne, I'm so happy to discover another medieval author to add to my TBR list. I wish medievals would "come back" as I just love the time period. I entered your rafflecopter draw but would love to be in your other draws for your books as well. I completely understand not being able to write when your husband was being treated for cancer. I believe God created our minds to hold only so much stress and trauma at a time, so no need to beat oneself up over putting writing on the back burner for awhile. As for novellas, I've yet to write one but would certainly give it a try for the same reasons you've listed. I don't usually buy novella collections, which is silly because I do buy novel collections so I'll have to keep my eye out for some medievals that are appealing. I usually look for the genre first, then time period. Have a wonderful day here and thanks for a great blog post!

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    1. Hey Laurie. I am right there with you! I wish we'd see a comeback on the medieval front also. Good luck in the giveaways! Thank you so much for your encouraging words. Have a blessed day.

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  18. Enjoyed learning more about you.. I've read both medieval books in this series & they were so good! Looking forward to reading more :)
    dkstevensne AT outlook(DOT) com

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    1. Deanna!!! Thank you. I am so glad you enjoyed the books in the series. That is always such an encouragement.

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    2. Deanna! I'm so glad you've enjoyed both books in the series. That is so encouraging. Thank you for coming by!

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  19. I've not tried a Novella yet, but have written short stories that are 3 to 5 thousand words as well as novel length stories. Of course none have been published yet.

    Have a great day everyone. It is looking like a day where I will be struggling to stay upright but the Lord is so good.

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    1. Hey Wilani, Personally the short story was the hardest for me. I just couldn't go deep enough because there wasn't enough words. Novels are for sure my favorite to write. I hope you have a good day and God will give you the stamina to do all you need and want to do!

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  20. Welcome, Debbie! It's great to get another author's take on novellas. I've been in a Barbour collection and also a few Seeker collections. Still uncertain about the ROI, as Tina was mentioning earlier, although the extra income our Seeker collections generated was very much appreciated!

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    1. Hey Myra! The ROI on a novella will be hard to tell because I'm not just looking at from what the book itself will bring in but how it will help the sales of my previous book as well as my sequel. So much to take into consideration. I doubt I will ever know what the full impact if any is.

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  21. I'm so glad you shared this. Just a week ago, I felt the prodding to write a short story, but had no idea what to write about. Slowly an idea formed and man, it's hard. It's going to be about 5,000 words. I've never written a novella, always preferring full-length novels, but I'm excited to try. I'm an aspiring author, so looking forward to what happens next. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yay! I love it when God gives confirmation! God has a plan for your writing. Wishing you the best on your writing journey. Enjoy the ride!

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  22. Debbie, welcome to Seekerville! I'm relieved to see in the comments that your DH is in remission. Praise God.

    I've written two novellas and really enjoyed the shorter story. The first time my publisher asked me to participate in a collection. It gave me an opportunity to tell the story of a secondary character and let readers know what happened to minor characters in a previous novel. The second novella was for a Seeker Christmas collection. I experimented with a later time period than my other books. Both novellas were fun to write. I can't say they impacted my career or my sales, but who knows? I never discount the impact of even one new reader.

    I'm so impressed you write medieval fiction! Did you find the research difficult?

    Janet

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    1. Hello Janet. Thank you for the warm welcoming. We are basking in God's confirmation that Joe remains cancer free!

      So you chose to do the same thing I did and that was tell a secondary character's story. I loved Thomas and the man just needed a story. It just takes one reader to tell another who tells another... so gaining one reader can cause a chain reaction. I'm always so thrilled when I get emails or IM telling me they just found my book and loved it. What a HUGE encouragement!!

      I love the medieval time period so much that I enjoy the research. The biggest problem is there is a lot of conflicting information out there. I've found a couple of very reliable sources and use their books to confirm things that are not clear.

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    2. Debbie, it had to be a relief to find those reliable sources! I write Americana so I've "lived" small town and farm life through visits to my grandparents. Of course there's always things to research beyond my meager experiences, but I'm blessed with museums and living history museums where I can step into the past. Have you attended medieval festivals?

      Janet

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  23. The Buy link for "Sword of the Matchmaker" doesn't work - it takes you to "Sword of Forgiveness" page, which is fine but I can't find the novella. :)

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    1. I'm so sorry, Laurie! Here is the buy link. I'll see about getting that fixed! Thanks for letting me know. https://smile.amazon.com/Sword-Matchmaker-Debbie-Lynne-Costello-ebook/dp/B071919DNN/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497456449&sr=8-1&keywords=sword+of+the+matchmaker

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  24. I like to read novellas. I've read some kind of shallow ones, but then I've read some lame full-length novels too.
    Some stories just seem to lend themselves to this form. They're not complex enough for a full book, but they still need to be told. Sometimes a minor character deserves a story arc of their own. It's also a good avenue for prequels.
    The novella form also lends itself to a short writing sprint such as NANO or Speedbo. I did a Christmas novella over NANO two years ago, and it was easy to complete even in crazy November. I'm still polishing it but comfort myself by reminding myself that I HAVE A BOOK, albeit a short one.
    I follow the guidelines of using characters from another book and a setting I know, which makes it go faster, although speed isn't my object. In "The Logger's Christmas Bride," I wanted my H and H to be developed and dimensional. It's just their story that was streamlined. I take my novellas as seriously as my full-length books. There are just fewer touch points.
    A productive morning. I took a hard copy of my revise-and-resubmit out in the garden, under the trees, and finally got a bead on what I'm going to do. It put me behind on everything else, but I don't care. (Did you think I would?)
    Also prepping a couple of chapters for the Indiana Golden Opportunity and bringing another draft of my WIP into the homestretch. A busy week, but worth it.
    I am so grateful I can check in here every morning.
    Please enter me in the drawings.
    Best,
    Kathy Bailey
    Plugging away in New Hampshire

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    1. Hello Kathy, Tossing your name in the hat as I write this! Thanks for sharing with us. It is very true that we find good and bad stories in short stories, novellas, and novels. It's up to the author on how good a book is going to be.

      It sounds like you have been a super busy lady this morning! It always feels so great when you can look behind you and see some things wrapped up that you've had on your list.

      Thank you for stopping by!

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  25. Debbie, welcome! I've written one short story (which was actually my first sale). And then I wrote novels. But when the Seekers decided to indie publish our boxed sets of novellas, I gave that format a try. I really enjoy writing them!

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    1. I also meant to say I'm thankful your husband is doing well!

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    2. Hey Missy! I can just imagine how much fun it was writing novellas with all your Seekerville family! How fun! I think that would make it even more fun when you have like minded friends involved with you.

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  26. Debbie, Welcome to Seekerville! I enjoy novellas. You're right - not much wiggle room. Tight writing is a must. Your web page is lovely!

    I'm so sorry you experienced that trial in the valley. {{{BIG, BIG HUGS}}} Writing when loved ones are ill and hurting is like trying to pull teeth with no anesthesia. Like you, I trudged a similar valley many years ago when our son was very ill. I used to jot things on hospital napkins as I kept vigil at his bedside. I called them "napkin notes," some of which I still have. I wanted to write more, but many days, my creativity bucket just wouldn't hold anything but tears.

    Thanks for sharing your insight on writing novellas. I'm partial to them, too. :-)

    Blessings on your career, Debbie!

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    1. I'm glad to be here at Seekerville. The trials are tough but He sure does draw us closer when we go through them! He is faithful! I can only imagine how difficult it was writing with a sick child. That is really sweet that you still have some of the napkins with your jottings. God bless you and thank you for sharing!

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  27. I am an avid reader and sometimes I just love to take a quick break from reality by reading novellas. I haven't met a novella I didn't enjoy 😉

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    1. LOL! I love your attitude, Terressa! Looking forward to you meeting mine!

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  28. Debbie, I am so happy that your husband is doing well. God can do awesome things! Please throw my name in the drawing for one of your books. I love novellas. I didn't realize that Guideposts published them. I will have to check them out as both a reader and a writer. Thank you for a great post. May God continue to bless you and your husband.

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    1. Thank you, Bettie. We are so thankful as well! I am tossing your name in the hat right now! Good luck!!!

      The story I wrote for Guidepost was a short story. At Christmas time they put a collection of two hard covered books together, Christmas Past and Christmas Present stories. Lots of fun stories in those collections!

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  29. I've written a short story for a fairy tale retelling contest, and YES, it is hard. The last book I wrote was 130,000 words long, so yeah, I can be a little wordy. But for this story, I had a maximum of 20,000 words I could write. I finished it at 21,000 words and had to somehow shave 1,000 words out of my already short story. It was terrible and horribly rushed, but a good learning opportunity. I plan on trying again this year with a Snow White retelling (again only 20,000 words MAX) so I've been spending a lot of time plotting my story figuring out what to put in and what to keep out for the sake of being able to develop the plot and characters.

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    1. Hey Nicki! You sure hit that nail on the head. It all comes down to priorities. What is the most vital parts of the story and need to stay verses what is fluff and needs to go! Then there is all that gray area where one vacillates on the do I or don't I. The fairy tale retelling sounds like a fun short story to write! Good luck with it.

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  30. Hi Debbie:

    The novella and the very short novel, 120 to 140 pages, are my favorite romance reads. I have found that the HEA of a good novella is just as satisfying as one experienced in a 500 page door stopper.

    With novellas I enjoy more HEAs per hour read. A very good value in feeling good. Romances are like chocolate: they are comfort food!

    My favorite novellas are those that I feel the author burned up a great story idea, that was rich enough to have made a wonderful 300 page novel, just to give me a great novella read!

    I want a novella to be a real little novel with at least 10 chapters. This makes it read fast, move fast, and does not allow for a sagging middle. Pet peeve: a long short story that is sold as a novella!

    There are many marketing values in writing novellas. I believe one of the biggest values is for new authors whose publishers price books in the $9.99 price range. This high price range places a author, who is new to a reader, in the same price range as many of the top selling most famous authors on Amazon.

    Authors of high priced books have a much easier time acquiring first time readers if they appeared in a novella collection that is priced at only $2.99 to $3.99. It also helps if one or two stories in the collection are ones that many readers would pay the money just to buy those one or two stories.

    I've bought many novella collections just to read one or two of the stories.

    The ROI value of a novella, among many other factors, can vary greatly based on the value a new customer is worth to an author. It would be hard to do this in practice but in theory answer this question:

    How much a year and how much over a lifetime is a new customer worth?

    A mail order company used to sell 500 address labels for just .99 cents. This sale cost them over $5.00. But they knew that a new customer was worth over $20 a year and over $120 during the lifetime of that customer.

    So one way to look at the ROI for the address labels would be to call it a 400% loss! However, if you factor in the value of a new customer, then that $4 loss, produced $20 to $120 in sales.

    Of course, if the reader does not like your novella, (because it is rushed out and not nearly your best stuff), then the ROI will be wildly negative. Your novella will kill sales that might have come your way. It's the same with free samples: nothing will kill a product fast than bad free samples.

    Lesson: make any novella, especially those in collections with established authors, your best possible work.

    Novellas should function as 'gateway' books into your world of books. Make it your best and make it easily available.

    Please put me in the drawing.

    Vince

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    1. Hey Vince, Thanks so much for your input! That's some sound advice. As authors we should never put out anything that is less than our best! Our readers invest their money and their time which is valuable and we as authors are responsible for seeing that they don't waste their time or their money.
      Throwing your name in now! Good luck!

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  31. HI Debbie, I'm rejoicing about your husband's good news. How fortunate that you both could be together and at MD Anderson for that six month treatment. I've heard from friends who have gone there that the center is amazing. Many of us in Seekerville are praying for new advances in cancer treatment.

    Now on to novellas! The first one I wrote for Love Inspired Suspense almost wrote itself. Of course, that rarely happens. I've written two more novellas for my publisher and two indi selections for the Seeker collections. I like the short format...and they usually take about half the time to write. Although they still take me a long time to brainstorm. The entire story has to be locked down even if I'm including less of that story.

    Congrats on your success. Could you share how you heard that Guideposts was seeking submissions? I know so little about how their process works.

    So glad you can be with us in Seekerville today!

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    1. Hey Debby, MDA is AMAZING. If a person doesn't have a genuine heart for the patients they don't work there. I have only met helpful, positive, cheerful people there. And a very large amount Christian! That was awesome. some even prayed with us!

      I have actually found that as one who many times flys by the seat of my pants that on the novella I did have to have my i's dotted and t's crossed. Too little words for me to not!

      As to Guideposts, it was my agent that let me know they were seeking submissions. As soon as she heard she sent emails to those of us she thought would be a good fit.

      Thanks for asking!

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    2. Debby, they take me a long time to plot/plan as well!

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  32. I love anything Scottish! May God completely heal your husband.

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    1. LOL! Joan, how could anyone not love a Scottish brogue? I'd say a man in a kilt but kilts came around long after the late 1300's. T

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  33. Hi Debbie. So thankful your husband is in remission. I have read Shattered Memories which I loved. Have, but haven't read Sword of Forgiveness. As a reader I prefer full length novels, but do enjoy a good novella too, especially collections that center around the same town, just with authors each writing a different main character. Those ones give a feel of a series, which I love. The thing I am not fond of with collections, it they are all different books set in different places, is not knowing if it's a continuing series for that author (and where at in that series) or if it's a stand alone with no connection to any characters in other books. That said, in the collection you shared with your book in it, you are the only author I am familiar with. :)

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    1. Hey Andrea, I will take that as a huge compliment that I am the only one you are familiar with! And I am so glad you enjoyed Shattered Memories. I hope you find the time to read Sword of Forgiveness and enjoy it as much or more! I am sorry to say that the series I am in only has a common denominator of Summer Love. All are set in the summer. But that being said each can be purchased individually as well!

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  34. I didn't care for novellas when I first started writing. But I've gotten to like them really well.
    So I get it. Good for you for stretching yourself.

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    1. Hey Mary,

      I do prefer novels but I will confess I've already signed a contract for another novella. And now I'm thinking that maybe I need to do a prequel...Thank you, Julie!

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  35. Hi Debbie
    I love novellas because of the opportunities for me to spend only a little to get introduced to unfamiliar Authors. Of course I LOVE the Seekerville collections because I get a group of AWESOME stories by my favorite authors at a steal of a price. *Kermit flail of happiness*
    I tend to buy novella collections because I like short stories in general and, again, I get to meet new authors mixed with ones I already know. If I like your novella, I figure I'll love your longer books.
    That's my take, for what it's worth. I think it's great you provided your fans with a quick fix from your world while you finish your sequel. I really like those kind of novellas. You're very smart!
    I'm very happy to hear your husband is doing well. I'm also very glad you got to be with him through the whole process - that had to be tough. Yay God for remission! I'm sure all the emotions you went through during that time will enrich your writing in the future.
    Would love to be in the draw for everything. Gee, that sounds a tad selfish... Thanks for your generosity!

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    1. Hey Deb! That is great that you enjoy the novella collections! Encouraging words as my first just released. LOL> The ladies at Seekerville are awesome authors! And teachers I might add! Thanks so much for the well wishes for Joe. It is true, God uses all of our experiences in life to enrich our stories. I know a little of me goes into each book I write.

      Not selfish at all! I'd be feeling a little insecure if you didn't want to enter into the drawings for giftcards and books! You made my day!

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  36. Debbie, it had to be a relief to find those reliable sources! I write Americana so I've "lived" small town and farm life through visits to my grandparents. Of course there's always things to research beyond my meager experiences, but I'm blessed with museums and living history museums where I can step into the past. Have you attended medieval festivals? If so, do you find them helpful? Authentic?

    Janet

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    1. Hey Janet. I have visited medieval festivals and enjoyed them, some more than others. But Authentic. No. One can find a few diamonds hidden away like when we found a shop that showed us how they made paper. Very interesting. But overall they are there to entertain and not to teach history.

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  37. Debbie, I'm with you - writing shorter (at least sometimes) means writing smarter! Please enter me in the drawing for your novella. Thanks!

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    1. Hey Dana! Consider yourself entered! Thanks for sharing. Good luck!

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  38. Hi Debbie, so far novellas are pretty much all I've had time to write. My day job keeps me swamped, but novellas allow me to stay an active writer. I'm looking forward to writing longer in the future. Please enter me in the drawing.

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    1. Teri that is fantastic! Keeping a day job and writing is a monumental task and writing novellas is great! Just another good reason for novellas!

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  39. Thank you Debbie.

    I prefer writing shorter articles and stories but am still working on the art of conciseness.

    Please enter me in your drawing.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. Hey Phyllis, I am really enjoying hearing the differences in writers--some loving novella and some loving shorter length. I think that each writer has to find his/her niche and then write the best story they can. Thank you for stopping by and good luck in the giveaway!

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  40. I will remember your husband in my prayers.

    As for novellas, I've done a handful- none published yet, but I've run the gamut of Christmas stories with estabolished characters to exploring former villains' stories and how they get redeemed- really love those ones.

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    1. Thank you, Boo! Those prayers are much coveted. Joe's cancer is one that MAN says is incurable but his cancer is one that MY GOD has cured! I appreciate the prayers for him to remain in remission. God bless you! I do enjoy a bad boy turned to God! Those do make for good stories. I've read some that twenty years later still resonate in my mind. Now that is a good story! Thank you so much for sharing and for your prayers.

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  41. The stories sound wonderful, Debbie. I will add them to my summer reading list. I haven't done any novellas or short stories but I have heard they are great freebies to gmy be out when trying to draw people into their newsletter list. I am considering the idea, but I am a bit wordy for such constraints. ;-)

    I am so glad your husband is in remission and doing well. I pray it continues to be so. What a testimony to God's great power!

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    1. Hey Crystal! I think I might consider a short story for a newsletter giveaway but a novella...it would definitely have to be tied to the story I was releasing in hopes that it would draw the reader in enough to buy the novel. Thank you for your kind words and prayers for my husband! We will take all the prayers we can!

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  42. I am not a writer. I love to read. I hate writing a paper. I am so stressed when I know i have to write something. People wonder why. They assume because I like to read, writing should be something I would enjoy. I read some of these stories and know that this is not my gift. And I am okay with that.

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    1. LOL! We need readers. So glad you are one of them.:) I actually am not a big fan of writing non fiction or even cards. I agonize over every word! So I can relate to some extent with you, Sonnetta.

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  43. I can’t keep a 100,000-word book below 120,000.

    When I read this, Debbie, I laughed in recognition.

    I've 'discovered' several new writers through boxed-set novellas. That said, it's always the name of an author I know that interests me in the set to begin with.

    You've inspired me to follow through on an idea I had about 'reducing' a story to a novella. That ought to force me to eliminate some sub-plots :-)

    Best wishes with your writing!

    Nancy C

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    1. Hey Nancy! Isn't it great finding out we aren't alone in some of the things we struggle with in writing?

      I'm so glad this post has inspired you to move forward with your idea! I hope it goes smoothly. Wishing you the best in your upcoming novella!! ;o)

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  44. Welcome to Seekerville, Debbie! I wasn't sure about novellas either, until, like you, between projects for my full-length novels, I signed a contract with Barbour. Then another and another, and another. :)

    Four of the novellas were due every two months, so I plotted and wrote 80K in 8 months. Kept my head in the game and I hit the ground running when the next contract for a full landed on my desk.

    Writing novels and novellas both have their pros and cons. I like doing both for the very reasons you mentioned.

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    1. Hey Pam! Wow! Four novellas in eight months! Now that is a lot of story! Especially when it isn't one but four. That's a lot of heroes and heroines and characters to keep straight in a short amount of time. Sounds like it kept you very busy. Congratulations on those contracts! That is awesome!

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  45. Your books look so interesting. I would very much like to win a copy of your new book. Congrats on the novella and my prayers are definitely with your husband and family.

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  46. I'm looking forward to reading the novella! Medieval is a time period I always enjoy reading, especially in this genre.

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