Saturday, October 14, 2017

Rapid Reads Novellas

by Vicki Delany

Rapid Reads Novellas

At the end of this month, Orca Press will be releasing my fifth novella for them, White Sand Blues.

This is a cozy mystery, the first in a new series about a young Canadian paramedic working in a small Caribbean Island country.  Any resemblance to Turks and Caicos and one of my daughters, is purely coincidental.

It’s a novella, meaning short (about 100 pages). But these books are far more than just a long short story, or short novel. The Rapid Reads books are written for a very specific audience. Adults with low literacy skills, (the reading level is about grade 2 – 4)  ESL students, the elderly who might not have the attention span for an entire novel, and those who are looking for a quick, fast-passed, exciting read. Even teenagers who aren’t big on reading might enjoy them as a way to ease them back into the reading habit.   Before the airplane restriction on ereaders during take off and landing was lived, I loved to carry one or two of these books for the short time frame when I couldn’t read my current novel.

I love writing these books. To me, it’s an exercise in stripping a novel down to it’s basics. Because of the space limitations as well as the literacy requirements, there are no alternative POVs, no flashbacks or alternating time frames, no subplot, no extraneous characters. Just a good story, well written.  The pace is fast, the story quickly developing, to get it all in those 120 pages (about 15,000 – 20,000 words).

In the earlier Sgt Ray Robertson series, (Blood and Belonging, Haitian Graves, Juba Good.) I used the short form to go darker than I usually do. Themes I didn’t want to develop into a full novel, involving struggles in fragile states,  worked perfectly in the shorter form.  With the new, much cozier series, I’m back on familiar ground, but working in a more restricted environment.

If you have someone in your life who needs a less-complex reading experience, I hope you’ll consider looking into Rapid Reads.


Sybil Johnson said...

Those sound very interesting. I've always wondered: how do you know what words go with what reading level? I seem to recall that Word has something that tells you that. Is that what you use to make sure the book is at the right level?

Marianne Wheelaghan said...

Fascinating. Books for people who struggle with reading are invaluable. Your rapid reads sound intriguing and good luck with the new publication! I'm not sure, however, I completely agree with the suggestion that the elderly might not have the attention span for a longer narrative. The older people I know could eat War and Peace for breakfast ;)

Vicki Delany said...

Sybil, Word does have such a feature. If you'd like me to tell you how to use it, drop me an email

Vicki Delany said...

You are so right Marianne. I should have same "some" elderly.