I’ve been thinking about this “ugly stepsister to the short story” a lot lately, and I have come to the conclusion that, (like short stories) there needs to be more of them around.
Think about it.
How many movies are there that take these “middle-ground” works and use them?
They’re the perfect length. Long enough for all the world-building, long enough for the in-depth detail you find in novels, but short enough you can read it in a sitting or two instead of a couple weeks (depending on how fast you read, of course. Hubby can read one in an hour. Hell, he can read a full-fledged novel in an evening!). Some of the most famous works out there are novellas (or novelettes, the novella’s shorter cousin):
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “Chronicles of a Death Foretold”
- Norman MacLean’s “A River Runs Through It”
- Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”
- Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”
- Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”
- Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”
- H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds”
- Isaac Asimov’s “The Bicentennial Man”
- Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”
- Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”
- Jim Harrison’s “Legends of the Fall”
I could go on, but I won’t.
It’s a beautiful art form, and is a fascinating, complex one at that with distinct advantages to the way publishing is moving (online). I hear a lot of people saying they “don’t want to read off a screen because a novel’s just too long for that; it hurts the eyes.”
A novella would be perfect for that.