Posted by Julie at Jan 23, 2013 10:43 am
I’m really tired this morning because I only got about five hours sleep. Why?
The reading slump is over…
It’s a novella and it’s both charming and intriguing…not from a suspense perspective, but from it’s characters. Both of them are interesting and nothing like I’ve ever read before. I needed something short, something that wouldn’t tax my brain (in a suspense/whodunit way), but was FRESH…and this was it! The way Courtney Milan wrote around novella expectations to craft an intense “slice of life” for her characters is a testament to her talent.
I happen to love novellas. I never, EVER think they are “too short” because, well, the length is precisely why I read them.
I think the romance community has a disadvantage in that there is not a deep history of short stories in our psyche. Horror, sci-fi, mystery and fantasy all have a long history of short stories and novellas that goes back centuries. But romance has been a construct of the full novel, from Jane Austen until today. Yes, novellas are increasingly popular, but readers expect–based on what they’ve read before–to have the same reading experience with a novella that they do with a novel. Readers that I’ve encountered seem to want full character arc, a windy plot and multiple love scenes in stories that are less than 40,000 words…and that’s a pretty tall order.
When I was teaching high school, short stories were the bread and butter of my curriculum. My students could fully immerse themselves in the horror of the “Cask of Amontillado” without knowing the real reason why the narrator was walling up his rival and burying him alive. They could appreciate “Hills Like White Elephants” without the characters having names or even, to be honest, knowing precisely what they were talking about (abortion.) They could debate for hours over whether the hapless young lover in “The Lady or the Tiger?” lived or died at the end.
But for some reason, romance shorts and novellas have to conform to the exact same set of expectations as a full romance novel.
Am I wrong about this? Thoughts?