Seven short years ago, I worried a lot because I write short – my NaNos are almost never more than 40,000 words, which makes a decent novella (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America defines a novella up for the Nebula Award as 17,500 to 39,999 words). But I hadn’t read many romance novellas, or even seen them promoted.
This year, they seem to be leaping up to be noticed. Romance author Stacey Shannon tweeted that she loves writing novellas in reply to former Carina Press executive editor Angela James’ tweet about loving to edit novellas.
Book Riot has a 2019 post recommending 28 romance novellas. If you look carefully at the covers, you’ll see a lot of them lack a publisher’s mark – I know at least some of these are self-published, while others have found homes with traditional publishers. Notice all the big names here, including some of my favorites like Courtney Milan and Jackie Lau.
Amazon Best Sellers especially promotes a “one-hour read” best-selling category in romance. I don’t know any of the names there today, but it looks like a very sexy sort of neighborhood. Looking at the same “one-hour read” label in science fiction and fantasy, I see a scattering of books that look like they have very strong romantic elements. I know more of these names, too, like N.K. Jemison (who has a book up under Amazon Original Stories) and Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor.com Original).
And, if you had any doubts about the emotional impact of short-form fiction, let me share with you a short film, Hair Love (6:48, from Sony Pictures Animation).
Have a box of tissues handy. I started tearing up at about the five-minute mark, and then just kept crying harder as developments ratcheted up over the last minute of the film. Don’t worry, it’s good crying, and a happy ending. I cried because of the power of love . . . and I have to tell you, I usually hate it when a filmmaker makes me cry. I often feel that they jerked at my heartstrings to provoke a reaction, but in this short film, I feel like the emotions were all totally earned and deserved.
It’s a busy season; give yourself a little break and tell me how you liked the film.