Thursday, March 6, 2014

Writing A Romantic Novella

It's almost spring from Gail Gaymer Martin at

I love the opportunity to visit our Love Inspired Author's website and talk about things I love--writing, romance and the Lord. Spring is a time of blossoming flowers as well as budding romance and love. It's a great time to talk about writing romantic novellas.

Many historical and contemporary novellas are in the romance genre and are popular among readers. Novellas are short novels, running from 20,000 to 40,000 words, yet are complete stories with goals, conflicts, resolution to reach a happy ending. Novellas are often in anthologies thematically based on holidays, location, interests, such as camping, chocolate, and quilting, and are enjoyed by many people. They are good books read in a shorter time period.

Novellas Differ From Novels
Some of the major differences are:
The hero and heroine often have some connection from the past—old friends, childhood playmates or familiarity through friend or family.
The plot line use mainly minor subplots that enhance the hero and heroine relationship.
The setting descriptions create a sense of place but can also reflect the mood or emotion of the story or characters.
The story covers a shorter period of time than a novel, no longer than a month or two.
The story does always lead to a proposal or wedding, but allows the reader to assume as time passes the couple will make a life time commitment.

Romantic Connection
Romance moves through stages from awareness to attraction but a novella doesn’t allow time to explore these stages fully. Having a past connection between the couple allows the relationship to develop faster yet be believable.
In “An Open Door” Steffi travels to Milan for a fashion magazine feature where she meets Paul, a new photographer working for the same magazine.
Another new collection from Barbour out this month, The British Brides Collection, includes my novella “The Apple of His Eye, set in Victorian times, and is the story of a young woman from a manor who becomes intrigued by the estate’s apple orchard keeper and landscaper and a forbidden romance ensues.
  Whether old friends or familiarity, the hero and heroine’s relationship is more realistic using a past connection technique.

The story in a novella remains focused on the hero and heroine’s relationship, so a subplot is a minor element and serves the outcome of the hero and heroine’s relationship.
“Yuletide Treasure” introduces a wooden heart-shaped box which becomes the catalyst to help Livy understand the meaning of love and opens her eyes to wait for God’s timing. This novella will be available again in September 2014 in a Barbour release called An Old-Fashioned Christmas Collection.
The Barbour anthology Once Upon A Time offers modern-day fairytales including my novella “Better to See You.” Lucy, visiting her ailing grandmother, enters a wood-crafting shop in Germany and finds an old friend. These two are led into a mystery subplot.
Subplots are woven through the romance yet are significant when they affect the characters relationship or emphasis the story’s theme.

All readers want a sense of place to know the location and the time of year. This can be provided in simple ways with limited word count. In “Yuletide Treasure,” the time of year and story location is made evident in the opening paragraph and sets the time period as historical.
A cloud of black smoke curled past the window of the Chesapeake and Ohio locomotive. As the shrill whistle sounded, Livy Schuler snuggled deeper into her travel cloak and studied the changing winter scenery and watched an occasional cow wandered onto the tracks.

Time Span and Romantic Expectation
Because the novella is shorter, the time span is also shorter. A month or two is long enough to develop a relationship into one that is headed for a deeper commitment. Although some novellas end with the promise of marriage, some don’t. The decision is whether the hero and heroine have had enough time in their relationship to make a marital promise. Old friends brought together or a failed relationship renewed could prompt a marriage proposal by the story’s end as long as the past issues have been resolved.
Whether you write a novel or a novella, the important element is to leave your readers with tears in their eyes and a smile on their lips. Give them a story that grows from awareness to interest to attraction in a realistic manner, and then give them a happy ending.

To enjoy romantic novellas, please drop by your favorite bookstore or online bookstores and pick up a copy of The British Brides. The cover is lovely and you'll read nine novellas written by a variety of novelists.

Explore English gardens, London ballrooms, and Scottish castles as nine brides-to-be experience all the legendary drama and epic romance that British literature is known for. Each of the nine short stories will sweep you away to a different era of time spanning over 500 years of history in the British Isles. Penned by an exclusive selection of Christian fiction authors including Gail Gaymer Martin's The Apple Of His Eye, this collection will become a cherished favorite for fans of faith-based romance.

Click to Order or For More Information


Jill Weatherholt said...

Your posts are ALWAYS a wealth of information, Gail! We all appreciate you sharing your knowledge.

Sally Shupe said...

Thanks for this great post! I love novellas.
Hi Jennifer!! I think spring has sprung, at least for a little while!

Jennifer said...

Yes a short spring another winter and then spring again. :)
Hi Sally!

Gail Gaymer Martin said...

Thanks so much, Jackie, Jennifer T, Jill W, Susan M, Sally S. and Jennifer for letting me know you enjoyed my post on novellas. It's always nice to know that the posts benefit others. I hope you look for the collection on The British Brides. I love my novella The Apple Of His Eye since it is based on an incident in my family history. Blessings.