Adventures With Novellas

AREA OF FOCUS – World Building and Novellas


My first experience with using a writer’s notebook and world building was when I wrote a novella for the Kayla Chronicles Series over Christmas break. I had just finished working with an editor on the first book from the series and I had decided that I needed to rewrite the series. In general, I have come a long way as a writer since I first wrote the series. In general, my writing changes drastically from the beginning of the series to the end. After working with an editor, and learning to use a writer’s notebook, I realized that it would be beneficial for me to start over.

With this decision came the choice to write a history, or prequel, to the series. I had enough plot planned to do about 50,000 words, which is not enough to qualify for the typical novel. So I decided to write my first novella. I used this opportunity to begin a notebook for the Kayla Chronicles (Astridia Series) in which I could keep track of world building information.

list of the heirs, their ages, and their kingdoms

When I wrote Astridia initially I spent more time thinking about where the story begins, which is the underground city of Astridia, rather than the outside world. I had not even given the above ground world a name. I used this novella to establish those details and to solidify a few small things about the world, the wars and the kingdoms I would be dealing with throughout both this novella and the following five novels.

I established the heirs, what will eventually become key players in the later books, and I set up the initial wars that work as catalysts for everything that my main characters experience in the first novel,  Astrida.  I found this incredibly helpful, especially as I began really setting up the backstory for my already existing novel.

I had never written a novella or written anything longer than a short story in third person. This proved to be a small challenge, one that I soon grew comfortable with. I found telling this story from an outside, almost objective point of view, which was nice since it allowed me to tell the story from the future enemies side, something I don’t feel I would have been able to do in first person.

a very badly drawn map

Through writing this novella, I was able to work through a few major plot point issues that would make future world building easier. I was also able to work on writing in third person, something that is different for me since almost all of my novels up until that point had been written strictly in first person.