Novella versus Novel

One of the questions I have been asked regarding my book Coming Home is what is the difference between a novel and a novella.  Many of the stories I write are actually novellas sold as a compilation of novel length.  Four shorter tales, each able to stand independently, yet when compiled into one book, they create one continuous story.

As many writers have experienced, you can have a great plot and when you are finished, you find your word count a bit on the low end.  You can go back and add, edit, increase that word count, but if it doesn’t “fit” with the story you are trying to write, it can come across as forced or reaching.

I once read a novel with a fantastic plot, great characters, and superb writing.  Except for one flaw, the greatly extended sections that seemed to have only one purpose – make the page count longer.  In this book, neighbor man asks the heroine to marry him, but alas she does not love him that way and tells him no.  The writer then spent the next twenty five pages (YES!  TWENTY FIVE!) having each family member enter and tell her she should have accepted his proposal, to which she replies that she is not in love with him.  And this is repeated six times, each conversation repeated nearly word for word.  And as a reader, I found myself flipping past this nonsense until I finally found the end of it.

So that is my purpose for telling my tale on a smaller scale instead of forcing my readers to endure countless descriptors and repetitive passages.  I want people to enjoy the tale, not the word count.