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.


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