Why So Many Novellas, CCJ?

Why So Many Novellas, CCJ?

“Why so many novellas/short projects, CCJ?”

This is such a loaded question, which I get painfully often, that I’m sorely attempted to answer with, “Because I’m grown.

I guess that’s not very helpful though, huh?

Especially when it’s often a question with no malice behind it, just a simple inquiry. Only… it’s hard to not be defensive about it when my art is attacked on this very specific front on a regular basis. I seriously get this in comments, questions, reviews, messages, every week. Sometimes multiple times a week.

What’s with all these novellas?

Shorts don’t satisfy me.

This could’ve been 300 pages.

Why is it so abrupt?

This didn’t have enough meat to it, should’ve been longer.

And that’s not even the mean stuff, really.

It’s all hella subjective, and look – I’m not here to tell you that you have to buy and enjoy everything I do. What I will tell you is that my art is very specific, and I never pretend it’s something it isn’t. 

I write Black couples.

I write the story they give me.

Many of those stories do not require a full length novel.

It’s possible that, if one went into a shorter project looking to enjoy it for what it is instead of what one wanted it to be, one might discover that there is value and entertainment in simply…what was offered.

Kinda like how your favorite food being steak doesn’t make sushi taste less good.

It’s just different.

 

Maybe you don’t like steak.

That’s fine.

 

Maybe you don’t like sushi.

Also fine.

 

That doesn’t take the nutritional or taste value away from either thing though.

And also, there are lots of different types of sushi, lots of ways to cook a steak.

 

Follow?

 

Anyway, maybe you’re thinking, “But you’re the author, it’s up to you,” or, “well I could easily see where this or that could happen to make it longer.”

k.

But over here, as for me, every story that comes to my mind (and others) does not require full novel length, and that’s it and that’s all.

I’m not going to make anything longer just for the sake of writing a long book.

I’m not adding a twist, a turn, an angle, a slight left, an overpass, nothing.

I’m telling what came to my head.

Because that is what works for me.

 

On average, for the last 6-7 years, I have produced anywhere from 300k-500k words… a year. 

Let’s do some math. We’ll call it six years instead of seven, and split the word count difference to say 400k words every year. 

That’s 2.4 million words over the length of my career.

If we break that down to a 100k word novel (About the length of Ante Up, if you’re familiar, and what I would consider a “long” book), that’s the equivalent of twenty-four full length novels in six years.

 

But remember, we rounded down.

 

So I’ve written more than twenty-four full length novels in six years (I keep repeating this cause WOW).

What’s the purpose of these numbers?

 

Because what we wont do is act like just because I SOMETIMES write novellas, I haven’t been putting in the work.

My catalog is, quite literally, a mixed bag of genre and length.

 

In 2019, I published:

Wonder – full length

Coveted – novella

The Love Sisters – 3 novellas 

In Tandem – shorter full length

Equivalent Exchange – full length

Bittersweet – longer novella

3 Equilibrium Shorts

 

What I hear when I see those complaints about soooooommaaaaaannnnnyyyyynoveelllllasssss  is, “but CCJ, you haven’t done enough.”

 

And you know… it’s really and truly fine if you think so.

But please don’t talk to me about it.

I’m not trying to be mean, and really I’m not even feeling sensitive, but you can call it that if you’d like.

 

I’m calling it a boundary.

 

I’m not trying to police what you feel about the books you read, or suggesting you can’t express it.

Tell a friend.

Tell your bookclub.

Tell your homegirls from the facebook group.

Put it in a review if you feel inclined, that’s your space to say whatever it is you feel.

 

But before you bring it to ME, remember that there’s a real person over here – not a company, not a brand, just me, over here trying to work out my passion and create what speaks to me.

 

I don’t need consoling, or defending, or bolstering, none of that – I am honestly and truly good, because this is a boundary for me. If you’ve asked me about when I’ll do more full length, don’t feel like you inspired this – it wasn’t you. It was the quite literal hundreds of times I’ve heard it.

 

TL;DR:

 

My work, in the way I present it, is absolutely enough, and I will forever and always create in a way that feels good to me.

 

-CCJ

19 Comments
  • Tanya LaTasha
    Posted at 13:56h, 22 April Reply

    What you do is always enough for me, so keep churning them out as you see fit

  • Brande with an "e"
    Posted at 14:02h, 22 April Reply

    You know that I gladly receive whatever you give. Keep on bringing it, in all ways.

  • Karen
    Posted at 14:03h, 22 April Reply

    I ain’t made at ya. I will say though, it’s mainly because I just found you this year (I bet you didn’t know you were lost). So I have a lot of catalog to catch up on, In just about 2 months I have already read more than 20 of your titles because although your writing may not be everyone’s cup of tea it is definitely my favorite brew right now. I will also add that if the people asking about longer books are anything like me, its only because they LOVE LOVE LOVE all the things so much and are greedy and want MORE MORE MORE. Thank you for the many hours of enjoyment you have provided me during this super stressful time and continue to stay blessed and do you, Boo!

  • Pam
    Posted at 14:05h, 22 April Reply

    LOVE that you said “I don’t need consoling, or defending, or bolstering, none of that” so I won’t even gas you up lol. Just commenting to say I love your work, devoured the novellas, and every one has left me content. The characters and their stories stay on my mind. And honestly, most times, I prefer the novella length. Thanks for staying true to you and the characters that speak to you <3

  • Shantel
    Posted at 14:18h, 22 April Reply

    Keep doing what you do…I’ll be here for it! Thank you for sharing your gift!

  • Tereesa
    Posted at 14:28h, 22 April Reply

    Well said. Sorry it needed to be said but glad you so eloquently spoke your peace. The only thing missing was the mic drop at the end 😉

  • LaLa Prsbry
    Posted at 14:51h, 22 April Reply

    Ma’am, please just don’t stop writing! I’ll take 5 pages if that’s what your characters tell you they need to get their story told. I love it all!

  • Janielle Boncy
    Posted at 15:13h, 22 April Reply

    I love EVERYTHING about this blog!!! Putting myself in your shoes, I’m sure those comments are hella annoying. Especially when you keep getting them over and over. I enjoy your stories so I appreciate whatever form you give em in…I’m reading them all!!! Congrats on the accomplishment of that many published books in just 6-7 years. That is AMAZING!!!!

  • Carolyn Y King
    Posted at 16:26h, 22 April Reply

    I don’t care what the length of your books are. I am going to resd them regardless. You are one of my favorite authors. Just keep on writing. That is all I got to say. Thanks.

  • Queen
    Posted at 16:36h, 22 April Reply

    Yes ma’am!!!! That part!!!! But I think people should only add it to the review if they believe the short lacked…but that’s never the case with you!!! And I know you don’t need defending but I absolutely wanted to hit reply to a review or two…lol. I’m just passionate about my favs!! Lol I absolutely love your artistry…in every form you present it in!!

  • Denise Henry
    Posted at 19:06h, 22 April Reply

    Well, I love what you do and how you do it and I like many others am gonna keep on reading and recommending you. Now they can catch. ME outside de. How bout that.

  • Celeste
    Posted at 20:23h, 22 April Reply

    I want your authentic self, so whether it’s a novella or full length, I thank you for sharing your creativity. Writing isn’t easy and I respect what you do.

  • Deborah C.
    Posted at 22:06h, 22 April Reply

    Wow, sorry things seem to have gone left.
    I have read your books since the beginning and love it all .Folks have been spoiled and probably just noticed the short stories. Either way I love ya will read what you write.
    You do you love❤️

  • Tamarz
    Posted at 10:04h, 23 April Reply

    Gotta respect it Half the time I’m not in the mood for a full length book & enjoy a gd novella anyway.

  • Takita Dodson
    Posted at 13:50h, 25 April Reply

    I would never bash your novellas because I love longer novels. Your work is impeccable in ALL that you write so the quality is always there! Do I wish some were longer.. Yes! But I know you are an artist and you’re sensitive about your shit lol naw but fr each is enlightening in their own right and I’m grateful just to be able to read and visualize them. Thank you

  • TT-Rent
    Posted at 03:38h, 06 June Reply

    I am a new quarantine reader I personally love the novellas (an so does my husband)…. quick, sexy and to the point!! Thanks for all you do with representing black love!!! We need it now more than ever!

  • Stacey
    Posted at 00:11h, 29 July Reply

    Keep up the good work! You are talented and I LOVE the black love

  • Oneika
    Posted at 10:59h, 05 August Reply

    I love your work, no matter the length. You keep writing and I will keep supporting.

  • Happy Purchaser
    Posted at 21:16h, 17 August Reply

    Oh! Vent if you like just keep writing. I am too big of a fan to complain. What I don’t like I don’t read. My favorites I read over and over as if I don’t know the story. I just love it when characters I’ve come to care about pop up in other stories regardless of length. How you come up with such entertaining tales just keeps this reader amazed and reading.

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