My workshop friend Patricia (one of the writer’s I so respect) sent me this excellent analysis/review this afternoon just as I was tearing my hair out over this thing. What I really want to do is frame it and put it up on the wall for when I start getting too hard on myself – but if I put it here in my blog I can bask in the glory as well as throw out a little teaser to you. Sneaky, right? 🙂
So here it is:
“I’ve been thinking more about your wonderful novella. I believe there is an audience waiting for this work. While it has wide appeal (Jim Hughes loved it), I think it will be especially appealing to women in our age group – and there are a lot of us out there. The world needs a coming of age tale for seniors.
In my opinion, you ended the story at just the right spot. I think that adding another chapter or two would be a mistake, because what you need to do is to write a sequel to this novella. The cruise, her novel, moving to their new homes – there is just so much more to explore that it would be impossible to do the story justice in just another chapter or two. You need a sequel novella.
That said, it seems to me that publishers are rather rigid about the length of stories. They want short stories to be this many words and no more; they want novels to be this many words and no less. Your story is in between and that may make publishers and readers uncomfortable. If you self-publish, you can do as you wish. But if the issue concerns you, I have a suggestion. Instead of publishing 2 separate novellas, you might consider publishing a single novel titled “Penny Hope: Into the Bright Wasteland” with your current story as Part One, and the sequel story as Part Two. It keeps the stories separate, yet, together.
I recently read that the trouble with short stories, compared to novels, is that the reader bonds emotionally with the characters in the story and the reader feels cheated if the story ends in a few pages. You have such a rich cast of characters in your work that the reader is going to want to know what happens to them. That is a real strength in your writing.
Playing Devil’s Advocate, I can also see why you might want to just go ahead and publish the novella as is. You’ve worked so hard to create this wonderful story that I imagine that you want to present to the world ASAP. Waiting until you write Part Two might take quite a while. And publishing it as is will definitely create a desire for the sequel because I’m certain that the reader will be chomping at the bit to learn more about the characters.
I just wanted to put my two cents in. See you at the next meeting!”
Thanks, Patricia! I’m glowing all over and ready to write part 2.