Atlas Shrugged: Or How Hard it is to Write a Novella After Writing Only Novels

- by Leslie Langtry

So, in my short career as a novelist, I’ve written four novels.  Each one was about 300 pages – 300 pages I struggled to meet.  I’ve always been a concise writer.  That probably comes from my grant writing background where I’d get assignments of “Sum up the entire nonprofit; history, programs and mission in 50 words or less.”

I have since left my publisher and put my four books up as ebooks.  To keep my fans happy, I’m writing another installment in the Bombay Family Sagas (much like the Icelandic Sagas, minus 10,000 pages and with more humor).  I decided to write a novella.

I figured it would be easy.  Since I was always struggling with words to add to fluff the books out to meet a price point, this should be easier, right?

It’s hard.  Much harder than I thought.  Apparently, my stories run the course of 300 pages and I’m struggling to have 150 pages tell the whole story.  That’s the cover above.  It’s just too bad I have to put an actual book behind it.

I’ll figure it out.  But if any of my fellow authors here at NINC have any suggestions…I’d be more than happy for the assist.

Leslie Langtry


  1. I feel your pain. I’ve written quite a few novels across the romance subgenre and am self-publishing the reverted rights. So years of novels behind me. I’ve written a few novellas and they are really hard to keep the word count down.
    But recently I’ve tried a short story for myself and they are really hard, if you’re a 400 ms pager.

  2. Hi Leslie,

    I’ve found the best way to keep a novella short is to compress the time. If the story takes place over a few days or weeks rather than years with several wars thrown in, it more easily fits the novella length.