I’ve been thinking of going back to my racially charged novella, The Ballad of Martha Brody. It’s a story that had its start in life when I was eighteen and living in Malta, as a 4000 word piece called Talk is Cheap. A couple of iterations and a couple of decades later, and it now weighs in at almost 22,000 words – spiritually the same story written by that clumsy teenager, but practically something with much more depth.
Some time after I had completed it in 2013 – although every writer knows that a story is never truly complete – I wrote another chapter for it. Although it slips in to the narrative quite well it has sat, orphaned, on my laptop for a few years, not really a part of the larger arc. I think I’m just about ready to sew it all together and finally make a concerted effort to see it published, as I do believe it’s one of the best things I’ve produced.
Of course the novella is the bastard child of literature: there are very few places that take them in, and even fewer that are worth bothering with. It is for that reason that I toyed with the idea of turning it into a novel for several months, but I don’t really think it would have the legs for that commitment.
Having said that, in the publishing world a mediocre novel stands a better chance of success than a great novella… so there is that.