Length of a story – what’s preferable?
If you’ve read some of my work you’ll know that I have everything from short stories (10k words), novella’s (35k) and full-length novels (60+k)
My favourite story that I’ve written so far is 34k long. I would have liked it to be longer but the story ended where it needed to. If I added a scene just to bulk it up more, or added more sex, it would have detracted from the story and looked out of place.
Why am I telling you this? A conversation I had with a fellow author came back to me and it’s been playing in my head. I have no idea why. This person said, “I’ll never write anything less than 60k” like it was something to be ashamed off. And I’m like, what?
The reasoning was sales. Novels sell more than short stories or novellas. This is true for the most part. (there’s a lot I could say here, but I will refrain. *mumbles about reasons for writing in the first place*)
People like a good read with character depth and a well-paced plot. However, I don’t see why you can’t get this in a novella length story. (Short stories are a little different but can be just as satisfying) If you’re adding scenes just to make the ‘magical 60k’, what’s the point if it’s distracting from the storyline? Some of my favourite reads have been novellas but they’ve packed the punch needed to make it complete.
On the opposite end of the scale, how long is too long? Do you like epics? I have a book on my kindle that has been sitting there for a couple of years now. The only reason why I haven’t started reading it yet is because it’s about 400 pages. (about 120k) I just don’t have the mental capacity to get into something that’s so long. Another thing that puts me off the really lengthy books is repetition. I’ve tried some, and some were great, but others kept going around in circles. Same scene played on repeat. (see above about adding scenes that aren’t needed) They can be tiresome and a chore to read.
So as long as it’s a good story, I’m happy to read any length.
What’s your favourite length of story? Do you like the longer ones, or will a well-written novella suffice? Does it depend on the author or your mood? Or how much time you have to spare? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for having me J
A sea change could be just what the doctor ordered.
Doctor Scott Penney used to be a Paediatric Oncologist—until he burned out. Watching children suffer and die took its toll on his mental health. To cope, he used anonymous sex as an emotional crutch, thinking it was better than hitting the bottle. But that inevitably destroyed his relationship with the man he loved.
With his tail between his legs and a year’s worth of celibacy under his belt, Scott accepts a position as an Accident and Emergency consultant, leaving his career in oncology and London behind.
Ben Jenkins is a paediatric nurse who loves his seaside city, his job, and his faithful old Labrador, Happy. When he meets the new doctor, Ben falls for Scott’s kind-yet-reserved personality—not to mention his good looks. Scott is great with the children who come through the hospital, but Ben senses there’s more to Scott than meets the eye.
Scott tries to resist Ben’s sunny charm—Scott’s not boyfriend material, after all—but it’s impossible not to fall in love with the sad looking old dog and his charming owner. As Scott and Ben get closer and the weather heats up, tragedy strikes and Ben is left wondering how much of Scott’s history he actually knows.
For them to move forward, Ben must show Scott that no matter what happened in the past, a beautiful day can always start after the sun sets.
**This can be read as a standalone**
Don’t forget to check out the first two stories, As the Leaves Fall, and As the Ice Melts. All can be read as standalones and are available on KU.