Novels vs. Episodes

I've always aimed to do books - ie, finish up with a novel-length work.

Now that I'm four books into my series, I'm thinking of breaking that format - doing episodes (novellas between 20-40k) so that I can give more breathing room to some story beats that might get lost - or even purged - should they be done as a subplot in a novel.

I don't think there'll be a marked difference for the readers - I've plotted out "Season 1", and each episode basically flows into the next, the difference is more, almost "mechanical", if I can use that word.


I've always found shorter works to lack the punch of longer ones. Serial fiction is weird and I don't have a lot of experience with it, but arcing a story over a novella and/or several novellas would seem make the story lose a lot of it's power.

Compare Feast with Big Hero 6. Feast was an amazingly touching short, but I still think about Big Hero 6 more.

Novel length seems to be have been refined enough, both in actuality and in the psyche of the reading public, to hit the hardest. With dedicated readers, you can lengthen it, but usually going too far away from the idea of 80-120k would weaken and dilute a work's message.

I'm always tempted to do shorter works, but the novel always holds my sway. Every time I've sat down and thought about it, I've come back.

All that said, if there's little change besides where you section off parts of the story, I'd be very careful about calling them "novellas". They're a beast all their own and have their own rules and people might expect more of a conclusion than you have on each one.

I generally do an "in between" piece after one novel sized story ends and the next begins. Sometimes it's been a short story. Sometimes it's been a novella. After one particularly in depth storyline, I did a couple short stories and two novellas. It was fun, and it helped me develop certain characters' background in a way that I hadn't had the chance to do previously. It also allowed me to test out certain villains that I planned to use later.

Overall, it was worth it for the writing experience. It's a little more challenging in terms of deciding what I should do with them in terms of ebooks, but I think I'll have an all short fiction collection. Plus I've been putting short stories at the end of some of my books.