The Short and Shorter of It
by Georgie Lee
A while back, The Guardian newspaper in Britain ran an article questioning why long novels are now in vogue. The author pointed to a number of classic novels from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (one of my favorites) and how each one only tips the scales at under 200 pages. The thrust of the article was aimed at literary fiction, but the author encouraged readers to actively look for shorter stories to read. When I read this, I jumped out of my chair and pumped my fist with excitement yelling “I like to write short!”
Now, please understand that I have nothing against long novels. The Stand (1000+ pages) and Watership Down (400 pages), are two of my favorite novels and I’ve read them both many times. I can also write longer books, as evidenced by my upcoming Harlequin Historical Engagement of Convenience. However, there have been many times in the past when I sat down to write and my word count stayed stubbornly stuck at under 60,000. My brevity can probably be blamed on my writing background. For many years I wrote poetry and screenplays. These are not high word count genres and old habits can be hard to break. My most recent release, Hero’s Redemption, despite being chocked full of blackmail, passion and angst over the past and an uncertain future, is only 34,000 words. War and Peace it is not and that’s OK. Sometimes, writing short is just the thing a writer needs.
About ten month before my contemporary novel, Labor Relations, was scheduled to release in February 2011, I had a small crisis. Here I was ready to debut a contemporary and the only novel in my backlist was a Regency romance. I needed some back list titles and I needed them fast. However, life at the time was very busy and I didn’t have a lot of time to write (who does?). More and more e-publishers were asking for novellas and that’s when the idea hit me. I like to write short, so why not go with what I know and write to my strength. Over the next year, I wrote two contemporary novellas and one novella set in ancient Rome. At the same time, I continued working on longer novels. However, finishing and publishing the novellas gave my professional confidence a boost and allowed me to create a backlist. So, while I now focus on writing longer, I challenge you to give short a try. Sometimes it is just the thing you need to stay in the writing and publishing groove and, as I’ve discovered in my own writing, there is a lot you can pack into a little story.
About Hero’s Redemption
Devon, the Earl of Malton, is a hero for his deeds at the Battle of Waterloo. But he suffers terrible nightmares, and drinks himself to sleep most nights. A habit he vows to break when he awakes one morning to find a woman sharing his bed, no memory of how she got there, and her angry brother at his door.
Cathleen is mortified when her wastrel brother and his greedy wife propose a blackmail scheme involving the earl, but as a penniless war widow she’s at their mercy. She goes along with the plan and sneaks into Devon’s bed one night, and ends up comforting him through a night terror.
Charmed by her beauty and kindness, Devon determines that rather than pay the blackmail, he will offer his hand in marriage to Cathleen. Although she is deeply attracted to the stoic earl, Cathleen cannot understand why Devon would want to marry her. What she doesn’t know is that Devon owes her a debt that can never fully be repaid…
About the Author
A dedicated history and film buff, Georgie Lee loves combining her passion for Hollywood, history and storytelling through romantic fiction. She began writing professionally at a small TV station in San Diego before moving to Los Angeles to work in the interesting but strange world of the entertainment industry.
Her first novel, Lady’s Wager, and her contemporary novella, Rock ‘n’ Roll Reunion are both available from Ellora’s Cave Blush. Labor Relations, a contemporary romance of Hollywood, and Studio Relations, a love story set in 1935 Hollywood, are currently available from Montlake Romance. Look for her Regency novella, Hero’s Redemption from Carina Press on July 29, 2013, and her Regency novel, Engagement of Convenience, from Harlequin Historical on October 1, 2013.
When not writing, Georgie enjoys reading non-fiction history and watching any movie with a costume and an accent. Please visit www.georgie-lee.com for more information about Georgie and her novels.
Sounds intriguing, Georgie! I’m going to have to check it out. Thanks for stopping by!
This sounds like a terrific book!! I tweeted!!
Your book sounds like a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing your short vs long decisions.
Hero’s Redemption was Amazing! But I’m the same too. I love shorts but I can’t get up to novel length! I don’t know why, but I tend to mumble jumble everything in and they all fall flat once I pass novella length. I still need motivation and practice so good luck to me.