Friday, September 22, 2006

Novellas in the erotica world

Novellas seem to have a unique place in the erotica genre (broadly defined to include erotica and erotic romance in all their assorted flavors). Sure, there are occasional anthologies in other genres, but the vast majority of non-erotica stories are novels in the 70,000 to 100,000 word range.

In the erotica genre, though, the vast majority of the stories seem (in my not even remotely scientific surveys) to be novellas, either as single-story releases or anthologies, electronic or paper. My own collection of manuscripts matches this pattern; I have a bunch of novellas in the works and only a couple longer manuscripts, and those are going to be on the short end of the novel wordcount (closer to 70,000 than to 100,000).

Which leads to my question: why?

I know that it's possible to write (and publish) erotica that's novel length, because there are several quite well-done, widely read examples on the market. But why does that length seem to be the exception, rather than the rule? Why is there the tendency toward novellas and even short stories in this genre?

Is it the subject matter that leads to novellas? Is it reader demand? Publisher demand? Author inclination? The emphasis on an author producing several stories a year to earn a living wage?

And what about you? Do you find yourself more inclined to write erotica in novella-length or novel length, or perhaps a mix of both? Which are you more inclined to read?


James Buchanan said...

Novella, to me, is easier for straight erotica or erotica with a romantic elemnet. I don't know why. If I'm involved in writing a novel... the sex suffers (well it's still hot, but not as much sex occurs) as I get into plotting much more. However, when I plot out a novella, I can plan this much space, this much plot two sex scenes per chapter (or however it goes). If I'm hitting 85K I have a boatload of plot going on. My novellas simplify it more.

That's my 2c.

Kis Lee said...

I mostly write short stories, so I have a hard time writing long. I envy writers who can produce 100,000 works. some people write long, and some people write short. I think the novella length can work for both types.

Cara North said...

I like them both, but I use the novellas or shorts to exercise, or try new things with. I prefer to write long as in 50k-100k. I don't know why, it just comes out that way.

veinglory said...

Erotica IMHO often lacks the kind of subplots needed to go to novel length. Not that it can't be done but novella length is often more of a natural fit

Minx Malone said...

The sex can start to be repetitive in a longer work. Plus many of us like to live vicariously and have wild sex through our reading. Novella length allows you to enjoy the story with less commitment!