From Forbes blogs:
Many of the most loved, famous and influential books in modern history have been novellas. John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Stephen King’s Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde… the list goes on. These are classics and there can’t be many who would argue that their brevity diminishes their quality.
But in recent years, the popularity of the novella has waned, with publishers shying away from these mid-length works.
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“Readers aren’t as aware of page count in the electronic realm as they are in a paper book,” he says. “There just isn’t that strong visual element to the length of the story, and where you might be within it at any particular point. Electronic books are a fluid medium: they don’t seem as fixed in space as paper books. Also, the way the it is written might be a factor: I really tried to pack each page with ideas and images and incidents. I wanted the form and the feel of the book to match the main character’s body as the overloaded signals took possession of her skin. I had the idea that the story should overflow the pages, in some way, so that it didn’t matter how long the book was in reality: the story was the thing.”
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“It’s just how it came out,” says Marion. “It’s not the epic saga that the actual sequel is going to be; it’s a smaller, more intimate story that further develops these characters and their world, while also setting the stage for what’s coming in the sequel. Stretching it into a standard-length novel would only dilute it.
“Every story has an ideal natural length. Some stories meant to be brief, enigmatic vignettes; some require more of an arc but are still streamlined enough to fit in a single-sitting, cinematic timeframe; others require hundreds of pages to fully realise their ideas. I think trying to force a story into a length it wasn’t born for leads to books that feel either underdeveloped or overstuffed.”
Link to the rest at Forbes and thanks to Abel for the tip.