Rosario just wrote a review of the HOT SPELL anthology (coming in mass market in November, if you don’t want to splurge on a trade /end shameless promo). As with most anthologies, the reviews are mixed, but she did really like Falling for Anthony — woot!
As I said above, this one was really, really good, even though (Meljean, you’re probably tired of hearing this already) there was much too much story in here for so few pages. That was my first reaction, that I would have loved to read this one as a full-length novel.
Naw, not tired of hearing it. The fact that I have heard it so much just tells me that it’s something I need to work on…and needed to work on…still am working on.
I’ve said this before: I’m an overwriter. I try like crazy, but I inevitably put way too much in. Which is why DEMON ANGEL’s text is going to be very tiny. I don’t even know yet what revisions I’ll have to make with DEMON MOON…it’s too long, and in some ways, too much going on (though, of course, all necessary to the romance and plot (or, at least, I think so.)) Just maybe not executed as well (or as subtly) as it should be.
And not that too long and too much are equivalent. What am I saying? Sheeet. Lemme come back to that. Five hours later: Anyway, novellas, I find, are really hard for me. I have a hard enough time fitting a story into the standard single-title 100K words (haven’t done it yet — both DEMON MOON and DEMON ANGEL are almost half again that number.) Part of the problem is that I’m not a subtle writer: I’m going to explore every aspect of a character’s personality that I can. I’m not good at hinting; it’s all in-your-face. Then, I’m an over-plotter. What doesn’t kill my characters will make them stronger, and by god they’re going to be He-Man by the end of the fricking book. Put the two together, and you’ve got too much. For 100K that is (and definitely for 25K, like Falling for Anthony was supposed to be — it ended up 35K, and I agree: it could have easily, maybe should have, been a novel.)
The last novella I finished, Paradise, was similarly hard, but for a different reason. Because I knew I had a tendency to write too much and/or too long, I was very careful to limit my plot. And tried very, very hard to keep the characters interesting and three-dimensional, but not going into every little thing that made them up. I still ended up at about 32K. And I struggled. I think the novella was harder to write than the project immediately before that (DEMON MOON) just because I was trying so very hard not to overwrite.
And the problem was, I felt like I was just skimming the surface of the characters and the story. Perhaps because I was so conscious of it? I’m not sure.
I did read the story again about a week after I finished it, and I liked it much better than when I
dumped it off on my editor sent it in. (Aside: this is the real reason that I updated the blog: strikethrough.) Much better. There’s still a lot going on, a lot of external stuff that has to be included (the mythology, and the heroine and plot are affected by events in DEMON ANGEL, so that backstory had to be written in). All of it integral to the plot and character motivation, but still, when it comes down to it, a lot of stuff going in that makes it seem all more complicated than fits comfortably in the short format.
And I didn’t put in quite a few things that I wanted, but were more about the character and her interaction with secondary characters than anything that furthered the romance or plot. It did illuminate the character better…but I just didn’t have the luxury of space and that inclusion. Those scenes, I’ll eventually write and probably put in a “deleted scenes” section.
(And I have to admit, when it comes down to it, I’d a million times more have people say, “there’s too much here!” than “there’s nothing here!”)
Okay, and since I’m talking about novellas: how about reccs? Some of my favorites (off the top of my head; I’ll probably add more as I think of them, and these are mostly paranormals):
- “Fairies Make Wishes, Too” by Maggie Shayne — in A SPRINKLE OF FAIRY DUST (like a fairy Little Mermaid)
- “Everything She Does Is Magick” by Maggie Shayne — in BEWITCHED (Virgin Hero would have sold me on this, anyway)
- “A Dream of Stone and Shadow” by Marjorie M. Liu — DARK DREAMERS (read this one recently; the voices are incredible. *happy sigh*)
- “Roarke’s Prisoner” by Angela Knight in SECRETS VOL. 2 (I remember thinking: shit. this is what I want to be writing.)
- “Love’s Prisoner” by MaryJanice Davidson in SECRETS VOL. 6 (The elevator scene isn’t for everyone, but works for me.)
- “The Nekkid Truth” by Nicole Camden in BIG GUNS OUT OF UNIFORM (and it’s even in first person, which I’m usually kind of squiggy about in romances)
- “The Night Owl” by Emma Holly in HOT BLOODED (the hero is just…yeah. And the heroine, too. But it’s so sweet how he’s tongue-tied around her. Awwww.)
Hmmm. I know there are more. I will have to look through the shelves.