It Was Too Short! On the Three Basic Literary Forms: Part 2

Part Two: Novella

The next story form sits between the short story and the novel. I love novellas. Too long for a short story, it provides a lot more story and development, yet often retains the poetry of language. Too short for a novel, it wastes neither word or time.

I think of the novella as cinema in print.

There are so many famous and truly great  novellas that it is surprising to me when people complain about them. The best background I can give is to share some my favorites. All under 200 pages!

Great Novellas


One of the first vampire novels, Clarimonde is full of atmosphere and drama. le-fanu-carmilla-bookcover Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu is a vampire classic that has inspired many authors and film makers.

turning The greatest psychological ghost story ever!

we-have-always-lived-in-the-castle-jackson-shirley-9780140071078 A tale of madness and murder, told in the eeriest voice of all time.


The mysterious story of the madwoman in the attic from Jane Eyre.


Need I say more?

There are too many great novellas to list here. But think Charles Dickins, A Christmas Carol, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Rappaccinii’s Daughter, The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo, Death in Venice by Thomas Mann, The Old Man and the Sea by Ernst Hemmingway. Stephen King as written novellas, Tanith Lee’s best work is in the short-longish form.

These stories are complete. Taking them beyond their natural length to make a novel would destroy the intensity and completeness of the plot line. Might water down the experience of the protagonist. As an author, I find in writing these long short stories I am riding the crest of a story wave without losing the energy of birth. I think that this energy, this passion, is transferred to the reader. The novella is a story that is easily revisited again and again.





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