by Golden Keyes Parsons
Golden Keyes Parsons is a popular retreat and conference speaker and author of historical novels. Her book, “In The Shadow Of The Sun King,” (Thomas Nelson Publishing), first in a three-book series based on her family genealogy, released Fall 2008, and was named a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Book of the Year Debut Author category. Her second book, “Prisoner Of Versailles,” was released September 2009 and was named a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Daphne contest and was also a finalist for the Advanced Writers & Speakers Association Golden Scroll Novel of the Year. The concluding book in the series, “Where Hearts Are Free” released September 2010 and is a Women of Faith Book Club selection. Her fourth novel, “His Steadfast Love,” a Civil War novel set in Texas, released November 2011 and was a finalist in the RWA’s National Readers Choice Awards for 2012.
Her next book, “Trapped! The Adulterous Woman,” Book #1 in her series, “Hidden Faces, Portraits of Nameless Women In The Gospels,” (WhiteFire Publishing) was released in October 2012.
To make a long story short...
I love historical fiction. I fell in love with the genre when I was a teenager and read Thomas B. Costain’s The Black Rose and The Silver Chalice. Now I am an historical fiction author. The very mention of the genre conjures up thick volumes of long complicated stories, multiple characters living their lives over several years through convoluted sub-plots.
However, I also have always enjoyed short stories and novellas, and at the moment, I am writing an historical fiction series of novellas. This is a new venture for me. I am learning as I go, and I would love for you to join me on my journey.
So what exactly is a novella? The obvious answer is that it is a short novel. Clever, eh? It is longer than a short story, but shorter than a novel. And there is more involved than simply shortening a novel. A typical historical novel in the Christian Market is around 100,000 words or about 350 pages, trade paperback. A novella will run about 20,000 – 25,000 words or about a fourth the size of a novel. Some say a novella can go up to 40,000 words, but to me that enters the realm of a novel.
Fewer characters appear in a novella. There is simply not sufficient word count to introduce and fully develop a full cast of supporting characters. But there is time to nicely develop one’s central characters—easier than in a short story—and that must be done to have a satisfying story for the reader.
As a novella usually revolves around one event, it will be addressing one question, “Will boy get girl?” or “Will the guilty party be found?” or “Will the storm destroy the town?” etc. In Trapped! the question was: “Will Anna fall for the trap?” In Alone, the question is “Will Marah always be an outcast?” The story winds around that question tighter and tighter until the end.
The rules for good writing still apply to writing a novella. The characters must be relatable. The story arc has to be good. The author must maintain the tension and conflict. In fact, the tension needs to be at a faster pace, because of the short word count. Donald Maass says that every page needs to have tension and conflict on it, and when the story begins to lag, kill someone off. I’m not so sure that’s always possible, but you see how important tension and conflict are to the story.
I am enjoying writing these novellas and developing my skills in this area. After Book #4, Hopeless, The Woman With The Issue of Blood, the four novellas will be combined and printed as a compilation under the series title, Hidden Faces, Portraits of Nameless Women In The Gospels.
So then will it be a novel of women whose encounters with Jesus changed their lives or … oh, I don’t know what it will be called. But I do know it will be a good read!
Golden and WhiteFire Publishing are generously giving away an ebook of Trapped: The Adulterous Woman to one lucky person. We're using Rafflecopter for this giveaway. You can get entered by leaving a comment below, liking Golden and Whitefire on Facebook, or liking Go Teen Writers. This giveaway closes on Friday, December 14th.a Rafflecopter giveaway