Novella, bella, bella amore

For the last month or so I’ve been head-down in my next writing project. Okay, I just lied. I was also applying content edits until a couple of weeks ago, but aside from that I’ve been head-down. It’s surprisingly difficult to write the new story, but that’s probably because it’s really two stories. Each of the four novellas I’m planning will be a two-parter, dealing with two new individuals who become interwoven with the overall storyline.

I think the difficulty arises because, although these are shorter in word count, these stories still require the same amount of initial creative effort. They are complete stories, with the usual rising action, climax, and ending sequence. So what I’m finding is that my daily word count is lower, but I’m moving at about the same pace as a larger story might require while plotting.

Which brings me to another point. I think that the reason why I like starting with a screenplay form is that it’s much easier to revise. I can push a first draft, review the story, revise and rewrite, without plowing through acres of description or internalization. In other words, it’s an even more finely detailed outline, of a sort. This workflow matches how I think: rough in the ideas, then iterate. It’s also how I write code, and in fact the two activities are very similar. In both coding and writing, I start with a (requirements document/story idea), move through high level design (architecture/plot), and iterate over the modular functionality (classes or modules/drafts) until I have something I can (test/read). Then comes the (debugging/rewriting).

This novella introduces two characters, as I’ve said. The first is a French archaeologist named Alexandre. He is known for being a fast worker, often showing up at a new site and finding buried ‘treasure’ within a day or two. The second is a successful art dealer, Hector, who never keeps a piece for himself. Both of them experience awakenings of one form or other, and it’s been a blast finding out exactly how.

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