Prequel novellas, short stories or snippets are works where the story takes place before the events in your novel. Prequel novellas can have the same character cast that appears in your novel, or different characters that live in the same universe and get mentioned or appear later in the novel. A prequel novella can have its own separate plot from the main novel, it can be filled with foreshadowing, or simply be a short story that shows the way the characters used to live before the events of the later novel, or novels. The possibilities are endless in terms of story and plot, and the benefits of a prequel novella are numerous as well. Below, we’ve gathered several of them.
1. Creating a preview
When you’ve crafted a prequel novella or a short story, you’ve created a short preview into the world of the upcoming novel. The novella acts as a hook into the world, the characters and the story. It shouldn’t be too long, because the characters and the world will be expanded in the upcoming novel. It needs to be short and sweet and make the readers want to know more and thus, read you’re the novel when it comes out. The prequel can follow any character from the universe and it doesn’t have to be the protagonist.
2. Creating a buzz
Another benefit from publishing a prequel novella is that it can create a buzz for the upcoming novel. This is why a good time to publish the prequel novella is several months before the publishing of the book. Additionally, the novella can be a freebie, which will only endear the readers more towards the upcoming book, especially if they like the novella. The prequel can also come in short scenes, or snippets which will serve only to introduce the characters to the readers, and you can publish these on your website and use them when you’re promoting your upcoming book.
3. Numerous stories
Another benefit is the fact that you can publish more than one short prequel story. Your upcoming novel has several key characters in the story? You can publish several prequel short stories where each of them is the protagonist. This will give you the opportunity to expand the world more, and even show how the characters lived before they met each other in the story, and before everything happened. On the other hand, you can create several prequels following a character that doesn’t appear in the novel, but is there to witness an important event relevant to the main plot of the novel.
4. Enriched backstory and world
One of the best benefits is the opportunity to expand upon the characters’ backstories. As previously mentioned, you can create more than one story and focus on more than one character. This means that when the readers come upon the characters in the novel, they will already feel like they “know” the characters, making them more relatable. Also, a prequel novella or a short story gives you the opportunity to expand upon the world – especially if you’re writing in the fantasy or science-fiction genre.
5. Using deleted material
Published novels are always edited, and there will be plenty of things you might have to delete in the process of editing. Most of the deleted material will be focused on backstory and world building – things that are not crucial to the plot or character development. A prequel novella is the perfect place to use the deleted material. This is why many writers give the advice to keep whatever was cut out of a final draft of a novel, because you can tweak it and reuse it with a different purpose.
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Georgina Roy wants to live in a world filled with magic. As an art student, she’s moonlighting as a writer and is content to fill notebooks and sketchbooks with magical creatures and amazing new worlds. When she is not at school, or scribbling away in a notebook, you can usually find her curled up, reading a good urban fantasy novel, or writing on her laptop, trying to create her own.