Guest Post–DIES IRAE Author Christine Fonseca on Novella vs Novel Writing


Hi Christine!!!! I’m super stoked about the launch of your REQUIEM series with DIES IRAE (novella) and LACRIMOSA (novel). CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, take it away, Christine.

The Differences Between Writing a Novella and Writing a Novel

Thanks, Laura, for having me today. Laura asked me to talk a little about the process of writing a novella vs a novel—the differences, similarities, and my thoughts on both mediums. My first thought on her request—“um, yea, I’m not sure I can adequately write about this.” My next thought—“Duh, you just did this. Of course you can talk about this.”

So, here you go—my opinions about writing these two different types of stories.

When I first decided to write DIES IRAE as a novella, it was because I wasn’t certain there was a full novel-length story in the prequel. My publisher and I also wanted to be able to offer DIES IRAE at an incredible price. As the story was drafted, I realized that while it could absolutely be a novel, the novella format could meet my needs with a few tweeks.

What did I mean by this? To answer that I must first explain what the novella actually is. Strictly speaking, a novella is longer than a novelette and shorter than a novel. It averages 15-40K in length. The storyline is far more complex than a short story, but far less complex than a novel. There are typically less plotlines and less conflict than in a novel, and the story typically ends at the brink of change. Most of the “novels” we were required to read in school—titles like Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men, and The War of the Worlds—are actually novellas. The same is true of some other novels we have come to love—Coraline, A Christmas Carole, and The Metamorphosis.

Now that we have a definition of a novella, how did I go about writing DIES IRAE. Honestly, exactly the same way I write a novel. I stewed on the storyline I wanted to tell, planned out the beats, and started to write. I originally planned on staying with one central plot—the romance between two of the characters. But I failed. Miserably. So, I added back my secondary plot thread as it was THE motivation behind one of the central character’s actions.

As much as the process of drafting and editing a novella was essentially similar to that of a novel, there were some differences that made me work—hard! For one, there was the whole world building, character building piece. There is no room for excess of each, leaving my early drafts a combination of too wordy in some places, and too vague in others. I’m certain it drove my poor beta readers crazy. My edits consisted of pouring over the language over and over and over again, carefully choosing each and every word, each and every scene, each and every cadence. Much like writing poetry, there was no room for lazy language or lazy story telling.

And in truth—there is no room for lazy language or lazy storytelling in ANY form of literature.

All in all, I have discovered a love of both forms of storytelling. And I have no doubt you will be seeing more novelettes, novellas, and novels with this series.

AWESOME!!! I can’t wait to see how the series develops! Thanks so much, Christine, for sharing your thoughts on writing novellas and novels.

Here’s some more information from Christine:

FAQ Sheet about the Requiem Series

About Christine Fonseca

School psychologist by day, critically acclaimed YA and nonfiction author by night, Christine Fonseca believes that writing is a great way to explore humanity. Her debut YA Gothic series, The Requiem Series, including DIES IRAE and LACRIMOSA, examines the role of redemption, sacrifice and love. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can be sipping too many skinny vanilla lattes at her favorite coffee house or playing around on Facebook and Twitter. Catch her daily thoughts about writing and life on her blog.

Short Blurb for DIES IRAE

Some sacrifices should never be made—even for love.

Mikayel lives by one rule—obey the orders of the angelic Council at all costs. But when he and his friends, Azza and Demi, are sent to Earth as teenagers, following the rules is more difficult than they expected.

Being human isn’t the only problem facing the three angels. Unbeknownst to the Council, demonic activity is on the rise, threatening to break a tenuous peace that has existed for a millennia.

Caught in a struggle for power with unseen demonic forces, and fighting against his rising emotional, Mikayel must now decide how many rules he is willing to break to save his friends, a decision that could reignite an ancient war and will threaten the only thing that matters to the angels, the survival of humanity.

Author Endorcement(s):

“Dies Irae is the perfect introduction to Christine Fonseca’s Requiem series. The beauty of the words will tempt you, the tragedy of the story will break you, and the love, woven throughout like music through the trees, will haunt you for days afterward. Dies Irae promises a tale unlike any you’ve read before.”

~Ali Cross, Author of BECOME

Availability:

Publisher: COMPASS PRESS

ISBN:

Format: Digital format only – from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other retailers. Links not available at present.

Short Blurb for LACRIMOSA

As if casting out demons isn’t hard enough, five-hundred-year-old Nesy has to masquerade as a teenage girl to do it. Nesy is the best of the warrior angels called Sentinals. She never makes mistakes, never hesitates, never gets emotionally involved. Until she meets Aydan.

He is evil incarnate; a fallen angel that feeds off the souls of others. Everything Nesy is supposed to hate. But she can’t, because he’s also the love of her former life as a human girl—a life that ended too soon, tying her to emotions she was never supposed to feel.

Now Nesy must choose between doing her duty—damning Aydan to the fiery depths of hell—or saving him, and condemning herself.

Author Endorcement(s):

“LACRIMOSA reaches out, grabs readers by the heart, and takes them on an emotional journey from the first page to the last. The last novel you’ll need to read to understand true sacrifice.”

~Elana Johnson, Author of POSSESSION

Availability:

Publisher: COMPASS PRESS

ISBN: 0984786368 (ISBN 13: 9780984786367)

Hardback and Digital formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and fine retailers. Links not currently available.

Additional Titles in the series include LIBERA ME (Nov 2012) and REQUIEM (March 2013). The book trailer can be seen by linking to YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwTQoOFKEZg

For more information about Christine Fonseca or the series, visit her website – http://christinefonseca.com or her blog http://christinefonseca.blogspot.com.

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3 comments on “Guest Post–DIES IRAE Author Christine Fonseca on Novella vs Novel Writing

  1. LydiaK says:

    Looking forward to reading this! So excited for Christina and her recent book sales!

  2. Catherine Johnson says:

    I’m looking forward to reading this too and thanks so much for the explanation. I’m not sure if there’s such a thing as a middle grade novella, but I’ll find out soon enough. Congrats Christina and thanks Laura 🙂

  3. Thanks you guys! Most MG are not too difference from novellas.

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