Form – Novella

One of my favorite forms of literary fiction is the novella. Starting at approximately 19,000 words (and running as long 40,000 words) it gives the literary fiction reader a little more meat than a short story but requires less commitment than a full blown novel.

Like short stories it is not unheard of for them to be published as a collection or in literary magazines. If a novella is extremely well received it will get a cover of its own. Some publishers try to pass them off as a full length novel while others clearly state “novella” either in the title or in the description. Individually packaged novellas can range from 130 pages to 250 and generally have larger print than the standard novel.

The novella is not limited to the genre of literary fiction and is quite commonly used in science fiction and mini mysteries.

Keep an eye out for these literary fiction gems:

Ten Classic Novellas

  • The Chronicles of Narnia (C. S. Lewis)
  • Animal Farm (George Orwell)
  • The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway)
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Truman Capote)
  • Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)
  • The Metamorphosis (Franz Kafka)
  • Mrs Dalloway (Virginia Woolf)
  • Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck)
  • The Touchstone (Edith Wharton)
  • Mathilda (Mary Shelley)

Five Modern Novellas

  • Legends of the Fall (Jim Harrison)
  • The Uncommon Reader (Alan Bennet)
  • Everyman (Philip Roth)
  • Shopgirl (Steve Martin)
  • Memories of My Melancholy Whores (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

For an excellent series with over thirty classic novellas (as well as a series of contemporary) check out Melville House Publishing’s The Art of the Novella.

This piece was first posted on 7/23/2009 at Literary Fiction, BellaOnline.

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Books at the Oscars – Children

This year there are numerous books represented at the Oscars for various awards. Some are true stories and some are fiction. Children’s movies were not overlooked in the nominations.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Based on the story by Roald Dahl (1916-1990) published in 1964. Charlie Bucket and four other children, all with one unique overpowering character trait, win a day with Willy Wonka at his chocolate factory which has been closed to the public for over a decade. The children each won their chance via a “golden ticket” found beneath the wrapper of a Wonka bar. A magical world of chocolate, candy and… judgement awaits each child. Unbeknownst to them only one child will win Wonka’s ultimate prize. Written for ages 9-12, Charlie’s adventure has delighted children of all ages for decades. This colourful film is only nominated for its costume design.

Harry Potter, Goblet of Fire – The forth book in J. K. Rowling’s (www.jkrowling.com) series on the young wizard. An orphan witch living between the worlds of mortals and magic continues to meet new characters, adversities and have grand adventures as he grows to become a hero among wizards. Science fiction doesn’t seem to get much recognition at the Oscars, being nominated for art direction.

The Chronicles of Narnia – A timely classic by author C. S. Lewis (1898 – 1963). If you’ve read any of the Narnia books you know although The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was published first, it is actually second in sequence in the series of stories on Narnia. The series was originally published throughout the 1950s. During World War II, four children are shipped off to a distant relative for their own safety. In their new abode with dark corners and cold drafts they are left to their own devices finding secret places never thought imaginable. Lucy the youngest is the first to find the magical world of Narnia via a special entrance through an antique wardrobe closet. Her brothers and sisters later follow on an adventure to stay connected and protect both worlds from a bitter danger known as the White Witch. Sadly Narnia is only nominated for visual effects and sound.

Update: The Chronicles of Narnia won an Oscar for makeup.

Books at the Oscars:

Originally posted 3/3/2006 at Literary Fiction, BellaOnline.