How to Write a Novella?

You master the profession of a writer, but you have no idea how to write a novella? This article is going to teach you how to do it.


Novella belongs to narrative prose genre, and has the following peculiarities: brevity, intricate plot, neutral style of description, absence of psychological insight and unexpected outcome.

Sometimes novella is used as a synonym of the word story.

Sometimes it’s called a subkind of story.

It often happens that the aspiring (and not only) writers ask a question of how to write a novella.

Let’s discuss all details of where to begin and how to finish such kind of work.

How to write a novella according to the general strategy of actions?

  1. Use brainstorming to write a novella.

    Use different brain maps, graphic organizers, Venn diagrams, diaries and all techniques how you can organize and expand all creative thoughts.

    Consider all genres (for instance, horror), in which you’d like to write.At the initial stage, you should not eliminate any ideas, no matter what reasons you have.

    Simply put them down in brief in order to work with them later (or not).

    You may also think about different story lines, characters, structure and even title.

  2. Make up a plan of the future novella and it’ll be easier to cope with it.

    If the traditional scheme does not fit your type of thinking, work with tree-like structure, notes, illustrations, record cards or even use Wiki – anything that will help to gather, classify and order your future novella.

  3. Examine your plan again, involving in it friends, parents or, perhaps teachers.

    When you get the general idea of the masterpiece you are going to write, think about it in the context of your scheme and bring it all together.

    During the course of work you may always correct your project.

    Define the order, rebuild if necessary, take into account all the scenes and delete or put off those, which do not fit to your mind.

  4. In order to write a good novella you must create a conflict.

    Almost all literature, in the context of a certain structure, is based on the conflicts.

  5. Start writing in your mind according to the previously mentioned scheme.

    Actually, giving a reader some prompts on the future development of the story, you have a perfect opportunity to cause the excited expectation of the finale and the impulse to read further.

  6. Try free writing, print or handwrite the story.

    Write in order to find some creative solutions, note everything in order to start and get excited about it.

    Make play with the topic or genre; add background, such as music, movies, video games, sound effects and photos, which will renew your feelings.

  7. Pick the proper theme for your novella.

    Novella is a rather short work, and you cannot stop to describe every single detail in the story.

    Moreover, you have no opportunity to write epic and long biographies of your characters.

    Turn small size of the genre into your leverage, and concentrate on the story itself, let it be even more impressive and interesting.

    Include only the needed number of details in order to help your novella become more plausible, certain, specific.

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  8. You may review the story resting on the readers’ opinions.

    You might wish to continue working after your novella is finished.

    Nevertheless, you should postpone your work for a certain period, give it a chance to cool, and then assess it again with the fresh look.

    Anyway, one should devote some time and edit the story, even in case it’s not as exciting as writing the novella.

    When you are ready, you may show the novella to other people in order to receive a separate fresh comment.

  9. Publish your written novella.

    It may be anything starting from giving the copy to your mother, self-publication on the Internet or offering this work (look at the external links) to the book and magazine publishers.

    Moreover, in case you do not think on the large scale, the presence of readers is sure to improve your novella.

How to write a novella according to the “snowflake” method?

A “snowflake” method of writing novellas is considered to be the best approach to writing books.

The method was invented by Randy Ingermanson – the fantastic author, who was rewarded with various awards.

Such method demonstrates how to write a novella, comparing it to how a snowflake appears, when one by one new stages are added.

Starting from small ideas and writing them down, you add to the previous steps new information and gradually you receive a novella, which is ready to be published.

  1. Write the summary of your novella in one sentence.

    Give yourself an hour and write this summary of one sentence.

    This sentence will become the thing, which you’ll use to attract the publisher and with the help of which you’ll make people buy your work.

    That’s why it must be the best sentence you can come up with.

  2. Dwell on your readymade sentence and create a paragraph consisting of 5 sentences.

    They will become the ground of the introductory, conflict and final parts of your novella.

    Then you must compose the biographies of every character on one page.

    Write what motivates every character and the contradictions, with which they must deal.

  3. Return to the paragraph from the step 2.

    Create a separate paragraph from each of 5 sentences.

  4. Every paragraph must contain some squeaky bum times and a conflict.

    Four of them should end with a catastrophe/misfortune, and the last one must tell the readers how the novella ended.

    Then you should take a day or two to think how to write a synopsis on one page, on the basis of these paragraphs and covering all main characters.

    For the secondary characters you should write a synopsis on half a page.

    Synopsis is a short general summary of the main events from the story, the roles of characters and sometimes the reasons for certain behavior throughout the book.

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  5. Take your one-page synopsis from step 3 and turn it into four-page.

    You must do it within a week, dwelling on all paragraphs from the synopsis to receive 4 pages.

    Then, you should take one more week to widen the biographies, which you created on the step 2 for every character.

    Now it’s time to knowingly pick certain story lines, which will work for your novella, and edit everything, which needs to be corrected.

  6. Use a big table to make a list, which will describe all scenes in details.

    Those details, which you need for the four-page synopsis.

    Make a line (in 2 columns) for every scene.

    Enumerate the points of view of certain characters in one column and the scene’s description in the other one.

    This way you’ll see how to add the chapter numbers for every scene and enumerate them in a separate column.

  7. Widen every separate line from the table in the multi-paragraph scene description.

    If by the end of the scene you cannot find a conflict, you should either rewrite it, so that the conflict appeared, or remove the scene from the novella.

    As soon as you finish all previously described steps, take a break and “restore your breathing”.

    Then, gather all pages, which you wrote according to the “snowflake” method. Reprint them in one complete novella.

How to Read Faster?

6 Tips on how to write a novella


  1. Define the time, which you’ll use in the narration and stick to it.

    As a rule, it is easier to read in the fiction stories in the past tense, than in the present tense.

  2. Create your timetable and write within a certain period of time every day.
  3. Choose, from which person your narration is going to be told.

    You’d better write from the 1st person (I, me) or the 3rd (he, she, they).

    The second (you) person is more appropriate for explanations.

    Do you remember the books “pick your own adventure” which you used to read in childhood?

  4. If you write from the 3rd person, determine beforehand whether you’ll generalize the thoughts of everyone (all-knowing third person) or prefer one character (narrow third person).
  5. Write down the characters’ names and some other important details on the separate paper, lest you wondered on page 26 if it was Mark or Mike, who appeared on page 4.
  6. Keep your notebook to yourself.

    This way you will be able to fix all ideas (such as, some moments about the plot or beautiful characters’ names) as soon as they appear.

    Leave it close your bed.

    Our consciousness is more open to free associations during sleep.

We hope now you know how to write a novella.

That’s why, seek the inspiration and begin writing a story with very interesting plot and thought-out characters.

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