more on novellas
There was a post last week about novellas, and I wanted to ask if anyone here was actually working on one. I'm not sure it would be possible for a first writer to market one (unless bundled with a few stories), but does anyone here have any experience writing one? It does seem crazy to me that every story we dream up has to (magically!) take 80,000 words to write. Anyway, I also wanted to include a few examples of recent novellas that did make it in the hard winds of the publishing industry:
Jane Smiley has done it successfully, twice:
In "Ordinary Love and Good Will," she published 2 novellas under one cover, with extraordinary commercial success. In "Age of Grief," there's a novella and some stories.
Let's see...A.S. Byatt's "Angels and Insects" is 2 novellas under one cover. Also Michael Chabon's latest, "The Final Solution," is a 131-page novella, originally published in The Paris Review. Milan Kundera's 1997 book "Identity" is a novella, although they stretch it out to 160 pages by using huge type. Marguerite Dumas also comes to mind.
Julie Otsuka's gorgeous, luminous book "When the Emperor Was Divine," about Japanese internment camps in WW2, is 160 pages (also with very big type).
Also: George Saunders' 68-page deliciously funny novella "Pastoralia" (in the book of the same name) is followed by a few stories, to get it to 'book-length.'
But I agree with the original post in general. These are really the exceptions. Some of my favorite books are those short, juicy, jam-packed ones, like Call of the Wild and Stephen Crane's Maggie.
It's funny that there isn't more of this stuff, though -- it would seem to be perfect for today's time-pressed reader of novels. (As in: all the pleasure of a novel, in half the time!!)
I just wanted to point out that there *is* at least some kind of market for short-novels or novellas.
Re: more on novellas
Stephen King has published quite a few works of shorter fiction, but he could probably submit his grocery list and still get it published.
In my opinion, King has a knack for shorter fiction.
--- Mya Bell
Re: more on novellas
I agree with you Mya, his shorter stories are absolutely engaging...he pulls you in, gets you all worked up and then surprises the heck out of you.
Have to love King...hey, I wonder what his grocery list would look like?