Not So Sekrit Project…Maybe

So during a conversation with my friend Cyndi yesterday, she happened to mention that she was working on a Nocturne Bite.

A what?

She was kind enough to educate me that this is a division of Harlequin, really short paranormals (10-15k), intended for epub.  I immediately said that I’d never be able to tell a whole story in that little space.  Well I hopped on over anyway to check out the guidelines because I was curious.  And, well, it would be a great way to get a toe-hold into paranormal publishing.  The hard part?  Thinking up a story, any story, that I can tell in only 15k.

15k is a short story to me.  I think the shortest book I’ve ever written was the YA paranormal I started with was over 80k.  I won a few writing contests with short stories in high school, but that’s ancient history and the pieces were, frankly, boring and trite and the only reason I won was because I could do the mechanics of English much better than my compatriots of the same age.  So yeah, writing an entire tale in 15k would be a challenge of enormous proportions for me.

I’d have to plot the whole thing out, hands down, before I started so that I don’t go off on the tangents that I’m prone to.  It would have to be a single plot, no sub-threads, and that opening scene would have to launch into the story world.  I don’t have a clue what I could possibly write about in that span, but I’ll keep mulling over it.  In all likelihood I’ll fail miserably because, let’s face it, keeping it simple is so not my strong suit.  But I want to try because I think I can learn something from the exercise.  At 15k, I could have a rough draft written in 3 weeks, and finishing anything that fast would be a real confidence booster.

So yeah, that’ll be my not so sekrit project to play with.  Maybe I’ll come up with something by the end of summer while I continue to plug away on HiS.

For those of you who write novellas, how the heck do you do it?

6 thoughts on “Not So Sekrit Project…Maybe

  1. It is very tricky but it can teach so much to write shorter lengths! You’re on the right track — single story line/thread. Tight character list, literally hero, heroine, and as few side characters/details as possible. For a romance, it’s a lot easier when writing short if they already know each other, so you don’t have quite so much courtship to get thru. Worldbuilding will be tricky, too. It’ll be easier to build on “known” world than an entirely new mythos.

    I hope you do go for it!

    1. The only thing that really concerns me is that Cyndi mentioned that they tend to be pretty hot, leaning toward erotic, which is not something I do well. Dark I can pull off without a problem (I haven’t spent the last 5 years crawling around in the minds of serial killers for nothing), but I don’t know if I can do that much sexy. I’m going to buy a couple and read them to see examples of some of what they are looking for. I’ve currently got a hero and heroine, a basic situation, and 200ish words of an opening that a snapped out between stuff yesterday evening. I’m afraid that it may be a sequel to the book I’m writing now, though, and will require more story. We shall see.

  2. Great. I’ve pulled another one to the dark side! LOL

    Can’t wait to be your “beta reader”!

    Which Bite did you get yesterday? I picked up three new ones to see what the editor is buying these days.

  3. Kait, I was intrigued by your post because I find it so much easier to write novellas than full-length novels. In fact, my plan is to have my vampire series published as e-books (two are out now, Love Fang and Fang Shui, with Mistletoe Fangs coming out in December), and by the time I have four out as e-books (and best-sellers, I hope), I’ll be able to convince my publisher to do a “Fang Quartet” in print. That’s the only way I think I’ll be able to get to 80k words. We’re all different. My background is non-fiction, so maybe that’s why I focus on word economy. Harlequin Nocturne is a bit dark for me, too. I write sexy humor. At some point, you might try my publisher, DCL. I’ve been extremely happy with them. They’re super supportive. Keep writing!

    1. Hey Susan,
      Thanks for visiting! Love the title Fang Shui. That’s hilarious! I’m not sure how the novella thing will turn out. I’ve fairly well decided that the Nocturne Bites aren’t for me, but I do plan to have some novellas to use as freebies to help build readership. You mentioned your background is in non-fic. As an example, when I wrote my master’s thesis (in clinical psycholgy), my initial lit review was 25 pages. We were expected to write about 11… 😀 I think part of it is that I love complex plots and character development, and there’s just not ROOM for that in most novellas. But we will see.

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