So you have written a novella, now what?

During the last 2-3 years, novellas have had an upswing. More authors write them, publishers want them. This makes me happy, since I have spent the last 12 years writing novellas.

Except, I think some writers that try their hand at writing novellas treat them like long short stories when it comes to revising. They give it a light polish and then they either selfpublish or submit it to a market. And that drives me nuts, especially since I know a lot of writers ( me, included) put in a lot of work on revising it, before deciding if they want to submit or self publish it.

My piece of advise: If you write a novella on spec, treat it like you would a novel. In other words, finish the first draft. Let it sit. A week, a month,or longer, before sitting down to revise it.  Read it through.  Find all the things you missed when you wrote the first draft. Find the plot holes, find the missing POVs.

Even if your draft is sound plotwise, it is likely to be filled with telling, or sparse description.Which means, you are still likely to add words, purely by fleshing out the first draft.

How much you will add depends on what kind of writer you are, but I think it is important to remember that  even if it is a novella it is still a first draft, so go in with the attitude that you will have to add words. I think that attitude will make you a better writer, since if you think your novella is good as it is, you don’t grow as a writer.

Does it sound harsh? Maybe, but if there are writers specializing in short stories, then I am a writer specializing in novellas.

Then send it to a beta reader. Revise it. Then decide what to do with it, if you want to submit it or selfpublish it.  Believe me, the extra time will be worth it, since you are offering the acquiring editor or a reader a short but  satisifying glimpse into the world you have created.