Short Novel or Long Story?

According to Wikipedia, a novella is

A novella (also called a short novel) is a written, fictional, prosenarrative longer than a novelette but shorter than a novel. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of AmericaNebula Awards for science fiction define the novella as having a word count between 17,500 and 40,000.[1] Other definitions start as low as 10,000 words and run as high as 70,000 words.[2][3][4]

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The definition isn’t exactly precise.  Plus, The Great Gatsby is considered one of the greatest novels of all times, and it clocks in at 150 pages–right in that novella range.

So for my purposes, I made my own definition:

A novella is a story of 50-150ish pages that moves quickly enough to allow the reader to easily finish in one or two hour-long sittings.  It is also a novella if the author says so.

Maybe that’s not anymore clear, but it works for me.

I had never read a novella before picking up An Amish Love, a trilogy of novellas by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, and Kelly Long.  I’ve only read the first one (A Marriage of the Heart), and while it wasn’t my favorite story ever, I am intrigued by the form.

By page 30 of a novel, if my heart isn’t in it, I quit it…but with A Marriage of the Heart, by page 30 I was invested enough in the characters (though the story had some holes and the language was a bit off for my taste) to tell myself, “I can stick with this for another 90 pages.” And I did.  And it won’t be going on my top-10-of-all-time list, but it was a satisfying, enjoyable story.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that I found that novellas are like a hearty snack: light and quick but hearty enough to sate the hunger…at least until the next meal comes along.

Reader friend, do you or have you read novellas?  What’s your take on this form?


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