Today’s my nineteenth wedding anniversary, and I can honestly say we’ve been through thick and thin, both literally and metaphorically. ;)
It’s funny, because when I started creating the header graphic for this post, all I had in mind was the title. I originally intended to focus on book length—you know, thick books and thin books. Ha ha, I know, right? And then I realized the date of the post and my brain took off in a whole new direction.
It happens. I do have the attention span of a sugared up toddler loose in a children’s museum, after all.
Thinking about sticking together through the thick and the thin, a lot of memories come to the surface. Nineteen years (twenty-one total) means a lot of memories. Some exquisitely wonderful, some complicated and painful. Most somewhere in between. All part of a long, sometimes crazy, love story that hasn’t finished being written yet, and at the same time provides plenty of fodder for stories.
Which brings me back to thinking about books, of course.
Life is busy. And not just for me, but for all of us. We’ve all got our ways to decompress and escape the world for a little while. If you’re here, I’m guessing your method of choice is reading. It’s a lifelong love for me, one my family has had to learn is a part of keeping me sane and, well, me. But lately, I just can’t dedicate the brain space and time required by a thick book when the sheer width (or more accurately, the status bar on my kindle) overwhelms me. Even if the book is lovely with dozens of 5-star ratings, more often than not, I need the story to just get down to business already. For the love of books, y’all.
Bring on the thin books, baby. I’m talking under 250 pages. 175 is optimal. Novellas? Yes, please. Something I can read in a day or two tops. Kind of like taking a weekend getaway versus a two-week extended trip. Sure, the long trip is memorable, but it takes a ton of planning, costs a fortune, and is often more stressful than restful before it’s over. But weekend getaways can be spontaneous, restorative, and uncomplicated fun! Are you getting my metaphor?
Now, in some circles, thin books (AKA novellas and short reads) get a bad rap. I hear a lot of people claim that they don’t feel a shorter tale allows for the proper length to dig in and really develop the characters or their story. I disagree. All the way back in high school English class, we learned the key elements of proper story structure: the exposition, inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, moment of final suspense, and resolution (or denouement). In romance there are a few tweaks, but those key elements remain, and word count and page length don’t always mean a better or more satisfying tale.
In my opinion, it’s all about the author’s ability to craft feelings from words throughout those key plot points. I’ve read numerous short stories that have made me laugh more, cry harder, and empathize with the characters than books double in length.
It’s probably why out of the nine books I’ve published, 5 have been novellas (with half a dozen more in the works). They’re fun to write, honestly, because they sharpen your storytelling skills by forcing you to get right into the tale and keep things moving at a good clip. In romance, they’re even more fun because you have a limited amount of words to prove to the reader that the relationship is going to work, how, and why! Thick books are great, sure. But those thin ones deserve a little spotlight too because they prove an author’s adaptability.
In fact, many of our Inspy Romance authors here have some thin books out that have been magnificent! I’ve been working my way through their back lists ever since joining the gang a year and a half ago. I’ve still got a ways to go (I mean, come on. There are over two dozen of us!), so instead of recommending book titles to you in this post, I’d like to turn the tables and ask YOU for recommendations.
What 200-ish page books or novellas have you really enjoyed recently? I love talking books, so tell me why you’re recommending that particular thin book. Bonus if it’s from one of our fab authors here at IR—because through thick and thin, we’re all here at Inspy Romance together and we love contemporary romance! I can’t wait to read your recommendations and chat with you in the comments. :)