THE DARK SIRE would like to reintroduce you to a time honored format that has been somewhat ignored in the recent past: the Novella. You are probably more familiar with this form than you realize. Many of the “books” you had to read in high school and college were novellas but were not presented as such. Famous novellas include: George Orwell’s Animal Farm; Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend; and Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Robert Silverberg, a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, called the novella “one of the richest and most rewarding of literary forms… it allows for more extended development of theme and character than does the short story, without making the elaborate structural demands of the full-length book.”
You might wonder why TDS’s interest? Everyone who subscribes to our magazine will have noticed that we publish serializations. Novellas, because of their concentrated focus on the story coupled with an equally focused exploration of the subject, lend themselves quite easily to serialization. The novella is actually quite difficult to sell to commercial publishers. It is too long for many magazines and too short for book publishers. Being able to serialize them fulfills a needed niche in the publishing world, especially to authors who write in the Gothic, Horror, Fantasy and Psychological Realism genres.
From Victorian England to the 20th Century, writers of the supernatural have drawn to this form. In 1879, Margaret Oliphant published one of the most innovative pieces of horror fiction ever written. A Beleaguered City tells the story of a city under siege from the dead. (Familiar plot, anyone?) Charlotte Riddell’s novellas concern mysterious disappearances, ghosts, greed, murder, and revenge. Florence Marryat’s The Dead Man’s Message has ghosts, ghost animals, spirit photography and séances.
When a novella has been serialized in THE DARK SIRE, our interest does not stop there. We intend to publish those novellas as CHAPBOOKS. In a world where there is a lot of talk about readers’ dwindling attention spans, chapbooks are a great way to soak up great writing. They are, by nature, short. Edgar Allen Poe said that the optimum length for a piece of literature was one that could be read in one sitting. A chapbook can. This is the TDS way of supporting writers whose work doesn’t fit into the commercial publishing pattern. We want to give them a voice, to tell their stories and, above all, to entertain our readers. In the changing paradigm of how readers choose books and shop for them, chapbooks look like the new age way to go. Their compact style is perfect for readers with busy lives.
If you are a writer and have a story that fits into the novella category, please consider submitting to THE DARK SIRE. We want to support you and your creative journey.