Advice followed

I mentioned a few days ago that the characters in the story I’m writing were trying to change their names. I can now report that Frank has indeed become Larry, although Charlie has remained Charlie. Laura has been the most active in shaping the story. Although she toyed with Carol for a while, she eventually settled upon Crystal. That itself created a new element in the plot that I had not expected. I think the three of them are going to keep the names they now have.

Once she clarified her name, Crystal did what I thought Carol would do: she told me that her hair is long, straight, and dark brown, not short and auburn as I had first envisioned. She also changed her eye color from bluish gray to dark brown—sometimes melancholy, sometimes gentle, and sometimes twinkling with humor.

Crystal also made me borrow a conversation from a novel I had imagined and outlined but never got around to writing. By bringing this conversation into the story, Crystal has forced a certain ending upon me. I had no idea when I started writing how the story would end, but now I know.

The story of Crystal, Charlie, and Larry has grown beyond a short story. The first draft has surpassed 12,000 words and will probably reach about 15,000 words. I thought this might make it a novella, but it is still too short to be a novella. (Two of the most famous novellas in the English language are Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea and John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Both are more than 25,000 words but fewer than 30,000 words.) Instead, my work is going to fall into the category of novelette. Many novelettes have been written—awards are even given for “best novelette of the year”—but none of them is as famous as many short stories or many novellas.

Of course my still-untitled novelette will require several stages of rewriting, including one after having been set aside for a few weeks. When and where and how I publish it is undetermined. Since the story has a Christian theme, perhaps I should see if anyone offers a prize for Best Christian Novelette. WE shall wait and see what happens. J.

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