Monday, September 8, 2014

How to Write a Novella by Victoria Bylin

Victoria Bylin

Hey everyone, Annette here. I love novellas! How about you? Ever thought of writing them? Author Victoria Bylin is here to share some helpful tips. Read on!

How to Write a Novella
By Victoria Bylin

            The same thing happens every year around Christmas. Instead of reaching for a full-length novel, I gravitate toward anthologies. A story I can read in one sitting is the perfect way to relax after shopping, wrapping, decorating, etc. Do you enjoy reading novellas? Have you written one? I’ve done four for Harlequin and Love Inspired Historicals and thoroughly enjoy the shorter format. The trick is to know what to leave out!
            Here are some of the tricks I’ve picked up . . .
            Tip #1—Make it a reunion story. If the h/h already know each other, you can cut to the chase. You know that feeling when you walk in a room and realize you’ve interrupted a conversation? That’s a good place to start a novella—with a clash between characters who have a past.
            Tip #2—Use secondary characters from one of your longer books. My editor suggested this approach for “A Son Is Given,” a Christmas novella I wrote for Harlequin Historicals. The heroine’s parents were popular with readers. A novella written as a prequel was the perfect way to tell their story.
            Tip #3—Go easy on the secondary characters. This is hard for me. I like working with multiple POVs, but there just isn’t room in a novella. My characters will have family and friends, but they don’t typically play a major role in the story. I stick to two points of view—the hero and heroine only!
            Tip #4—Keep the conflict simple. What is keeping the h/h apart?
            Tip #5—Keep the emphasis on the romance.
            Tip #6—Limit the timeframe to days rather than months or weeks.
            Tip #7—Choose a simple plot with an easily recognizable goal that lends itself to a quick but realistic conclusion.
            I learn best by example, so here’s how the above tips apply to Josie’s Wedding Dress, my novella in Brides of the West from Love Inspired Historical (April 2012).
            Josie Bright and Ty Donner have a past. They were engaged when Ty did something foolish and went to prison. (Tip #1) Josie’s mother is her mentor, but she serves solely to reflect Josie’s conflict. (Tip #3) Josie is unable to forgive Ty, (Tip #4), but she needs him to win a horse race in order to save her ranch. (Tip #7) In spite of their falling out, Ty and Josie are still in love and spend a lot on-camera time together. (Tip #5) The story takes place over the course of a week (Tip #6), and it ends with Ty riding in the horse race. (Tip #7)  
            And last, Tip #8—Tell a story you love! That’s what writing is all about. 


Victoria Bylin is a romance writer known for her realistic and relatable characters. Her books have finaled in multiple contests, including the Carol Awards, the RITAs, and RT Magazine's Reviewers Choice Award. A native of California, she and her husband now make their home in Lexington, Kentucky, where their family and their crazy Jack Russell terrier keep them on the go.

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Until I Found You

Until I Found You
When Kate Darby swerves off a mountain road to avoid hitting a California condor, she ends up trapped in her car, teetering on the edge of a cliff. Terrified, she breathes a prayer that changes her life: “God, if you’re real, I want to know you.”

It’s Nick Sheridan who comes to Kate’s rescue. Nick is handsome, confident, and seems to develop a habit of rescuing her, but Kate is in town only until her grandmother recuperates from a stroke. She’s not planning to fall in love with one of the locals.

Nick Sheridan is a reformed veteran of life in the fast lane, a new Christian, and a travel writer. When he sees a car dangling on the edge of a cliff, the daredevil in him jumps into action. He doesn’t expect to be swept off his feet by the car’s occupant. He’s made a vow: no dating for a year. And it’s a vow he intends to keep in spite of his attraction to Kate Darby . . .