A Raven’s Heart, a novella included in the collection: Love Unexpected, With All My Heart
In the midst of my having been put on bed rest from my writing (that’s one way of describing how it felt) one of my editors asked if I would be willing to write a novella to be part of a book that would include novellas by two other authors. In case you don’t already know, a novella is a miniature novel; much longer than a short story, and much shorter than a novel. I really wanted to be writing even though it was difficult if not impossible, but a novella being much shorter than my typical project felt like something I could take on. I prayed about it and felt good about taking the challenge.
I was told they were looking for stories that had the elements that diehard romance readers love. That’s what was selling, and I think this novella project might have been somewhat of an experiment. So I pondered what those elements might be, and as I always do when I need to write something, I prayed for an idea. For all the skill I’ve gained in writing, if I don’t get some inspiration from the other side, I’ve got nothing and it just doesn’t happen. An idea came and I went with it. Although it ended up having many stereotypical elements of romance novels, which I don’t necessarily like to do in my work. But I decided if the story had some stereotypes in it, I needed to at least give it some emotional depth, as Anita Stansfield is known for. Of course, I was kind of in a creative abyss, so I can’t say whether or not it turned out well. I heard some rumors that it’s a good story.
So, yeah . . . stereotypes: Heroine is orphaned and living on the mercy and kindness of one of her parent’s friends. Heroine tries to find work but can’t. Heroine inherits a country estate that is worth a lot but needs a great deal of work. It comes with a few servants. One of them is a handsome, brooding stable hand with a dark secret.
Oh, and . . . I love ravens. So, I incorporated that into the story.
As for the experience of writing a novella, I found it more difficult than I expected and don’t know if I’ll do it again. Just because it’s shorter didn’t make it easier. I’m accustomed to getting into more depth and allowing the plot to flow in a certain way. I felt like I had to compress it in order to meet the length requirement, and it just didn’t feel like my cup of tea. After all, I’m very good at making a short story long.