Recently THE WRITER MAGAZINE ran
an excellent article entitled “Novellas:
Stepping stone to success or waste of time?” Since my novella THE
BURNING is now available in pre-order and will be published November 8th,
I kind of like to think this is not a dead art form. Or as Mark Twain so
cleverly quipped: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
Just so you know, a novella is written fictional prose normally
longer than a short story but shorter than a novel, and usually somewhere
between 20,000 and 40,000 words, although it can be a bit longer or shorter.
For those who would like to try
writing in this length, be aware that novellas are more complex than short
stories yet leaner and more focused than novels.
In a NEW YORKER article in 2012, Ian McEwan stated:
“I believe the novella is the perfect form of prose fiction.” Yet
even famous writers like Stephen King have lamented that the novella gets no
respect (forgive me for borrowing, okay stealing, Rodney Dangerfield’s best
THE ATLANTIC also ran an interesting article in April 2012 about the return of
the novella in which Joe Fassler described it as “an unfairly neglected
literary art form practiced for centuries by celebrated writers.”
It is true that the novella hasn’t been
a particularly commercially successful format. Too long for most magazines and
journals, yet too short to satisfy novel publishers, the genre can languish. Still,
my first novella, LETTER OF THE LAW, was published with some enthusiasm last
year in SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY MAGAZINE.
I was also fortunate to find a publisher who
found my novella THE BURNING worthy of publication. Now I have to hope it will
also find a readership. Simple enough? Don’t I wish!
on November 8th, THE BURNING will be published by Annurlunda
Enterprises. The Burning is based on
a play I wrote that won the Playhouse 22 Playwrights Award (in the late 1980’s)
and was performed on stage.
BURNING is faction, part fact, but also fiction, about what happens to a family
in Pennsylvania as the result of a coal fire
burning under the town. Members of the Ferris family face his or her personal
hell, barely coming through it alive, forced to acknowledge painful truths.
It’s based on real events that occurred in Centralia. Unfortunately, such problems
continue to plague coal-mining communities in different places. And there are
no easy answers.
publisher has provided this novella with the following blurb:
George Ferris has worked hard to make a good life for himself and
his family without going into the coal mines that shortened his father’s life.
Now, a slow-moving catastrophe is threatening to take it all away. How far will
he go to protect everything he has worked for? And will he realize what really
matters before it is too late? Inspired by true events.
is a brief excerpt from the novella:
drove home on autopilot, detached, barely aware of his surroundings. The talk
with Baines kept turning over in his head. He’d worked so hard for so many
years to provide a good life for his family. Was that going to end now? The
whole thing seemed crazy. Could some underground fire wreck his life and that
of his family? He shook his head, refusing to accept this as inevitable.
living room of George Ferris’s house usually offered a refuge, but he didn’t
want to walk inside yet. Instead he stood in the front hallway praying for
composure while silently lurking. He could see Amy was sitting on the sofa
attentively reading a book, feet tucked under her.
often, she coughed. Liz came into the room. She was dressed in brown slacks and
a casual cream-colored blouse. He admired how beautiful his wife was. With her
natural good looks, she wore very little make-up and didn’t need it. George was
reminded of how much he loved her. Liz was the real deal. What would this news
do to her? She deserved so much better in life. For a few minutes, he watched
Liz straightening up the room, but then she stopped to listen to Amy’s recurring
BURNING is now available for pre-order both in print and as an e-book. Check
out the details from the publisher at:
Your thoughts and comments most welcome!