Thursday, September 15, 2011

But What Happened Before . . . . Writing the Prequel

When we started writing the novella, I did a little research on blogs to see people’s opinions of the prequel, and novellas in general. What’s the main thing I discovered? That readers have a love/hate relationship with the novella/prequel. There are those readers out there who hate the prequel story because it’s not a complete story. Others who love prequels but hate that it’s billed as a novella when it’s an introduction to what’s already happened. Still others don’t care what it’s called as long as they can get their hands or e-reader on it.

What is the difference between a novella and a prequel? From what I’ve read, the novella is a short, complete story that provides the happily-ever-after that readers love. While the prequel is more of a teaser of the series that it’s related to, that’s designed to make the reader want more of the series. I must admit, this confused me a little. You see, I thought that all novellas, or prequels in novella form, or even prequels in full-length book form, were supposed to make the reader want more or to give them more of the series they've fallen in love with.

So, that brings me to Before The Fall. Is it a prequel or a novella?

First, the teaser:
Zach was once the Order of Ancients' most feared warrior, beating back the hounds of hell to protect the unsuspecting human race. But since he left the Order ten years ago, he'd been living as a mortal...until now. The gates of the underworld are breaking open, and Zach is needed once again in the fight. But before he can answer his summons, there's one person he refuses to leave behind. Shanna may think Zach has a screw loose, spouting all this "hounds of hell" nonsense, but he has to get her to safety. The journey to the Order's headquarters is a dangerous one, and even a warrior like Zach might not be strong enough to keep the darkness at bay.

Novella or Prequel?

Well, if you follow the definitions, it’s a prequel because the story comes before Ascension, the first in the Dark Breed Novels. However, it also gives you a happily-ever-after ending—at least where Zach and Shanna are concerned—so that makes it a novella, right? I don’t know, but I believe if you go by our definition—a story that makes you want more of a series you’ve fallen in love with—you’ll find Before The Fall everything you’re looking for no matter what you call it.

Now, my question to you: Do you call it a prequel or novella or even care as long as you don't have to wait too long for the chance to read it? One lucky commenter will win a signed cover flat of our December release, Bedeviled, book 2 in the Dark Breed Novels.


Roger said...

Don't care what it's called. That's like putting Urban Fantasy books on the romance shelf in the book store.
I just need to read it as part of the series.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Depends on the ending. ;) If it has a cliffie that makes me want it but the next book is a year away... you don't know what I call it. ;D Otherwise if the book is right there for me to pick it up and I have the prequel, I love it. I agree with your definitions in the second paragraph.

Na said...

It doesn't matter to me because it is the story that will interest me. Even if the story isn't new to me (continual in a series) I will still read the blurb and decide if I want to read it. Usually this decision falls into three area: read right now, read later, maybe/pass. I love the covers for your books :)

Sharon said...

Didn't realize there was a separate "prequel" catagory vs the novella. Hmmm. I have become a *big fan of novellas. You can get a quick fix of whatever you are aching for. They can be read in one sitting, you get a full story and character development.

I'm gonna call this one (based on the blurb) a novella. Looking forward to Bedeviled!

Sable Grace said...

I agree, Roger. I never thought about what label a book/novella was given, just if I could find it in the book store with the series.

Sable Grace said...


LOL! I can fill in the blanks of what you might call those long waited-for books--and I'm sure you're not alone in that either. At least I'm right there with you. I hate waiting for the next book in a series to come out.

Do you have equally bad names for authors who leave you with a cliffie and make you wait almost six months or more for the next book in the series? (yeah, I'm really not sure I want to know the answer to this one :)

Sable Grace said...


I have a hard time passing on a novella of a series I love. I'm always afraid that I'll miss that one important detail--like a new character to fall in love with--that I can't resist reading.

Thanks! They did an excellent job on the covers, didn't they

Sable Grace said...


Came as a bit of a surprise to me, too.

And I'm so glad you're looking forward to Bedeviled. It's not much longer now!

Kim Falconer said...

I love the idea of a prequel and I think the dividing lines are dotted when it comes to novella and/or. I mean, what's the difference between a long short story and a short novella? Who makes up these rules anyway?

Looking forward to your series. Do you have a recommended reading order now?

Barbara said...

I'm with most of the others..who really cares...altho I'm a nut about reading order so when I go back to reread a series I need to do it in order. Also..I was corrected recently when chatting on CR about Novellas vs short stories. I was told they were not the same thing...that short stories that appear in an anthology were not novellas if they were released separately. *confused look* I didnt really care cause if I LOVE a series I have to read EVERYTHING I can get my hands on about it. ....Can't wait for the next one Sable!

Amanda said...

I don't care what it is called as long as it involves my favorite characters. It is agonizing to wait between books so the prequel/novella whatever you want to call it helps me get my "fix." Thanks for the witty post. :)