The Insecure Writer’s Support Group ~ No#18

This post will be short and sweet!

I'd like some clarity on the differences between the following:

1. YA and NA

2. novella and novelette

3. critique partner and beta reader

I've noticed a particular writing challenge in blogland that I'll call The WriMo Phenomenon (for lack of a better title). The "big chief" is NaNoWriMo. Then you get a host of offspring, like siblings /cousins or something along those lines. These are JuNoWriMo, BuNoWriMo, NaPoWriMo… are there more of these family members waiting to spring out of the woodwork? How are they related? Just curious…

Head over to the IWSG to read other posts written by a bunch of fabulous writers.

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                                       BOOK RELEASE

Looking for some short stories for your summer reading? Here is a great story to add to your collection.



Bullies rule … or do they?

For seventeen years, Victoria Sheek has been a paralegal surpervisor at the Law Offices of Pereene, Carr, and Sevino, specializing in injury law. Rumors portray her as a bully. She remains confident that her position will never cease because of close relations to one of the founding partners, Mr. Carr.

Until Mr. Pereene, the head partner, hires Monica Bowman. Smitten with her because of her resemblance to his deceases granddaughter, Melissa, and his memories of her, she can do no wrong.

Which one of the two girls will keep their position at the firm? It takes and unexpected event to decide the outcome of this rivalry.


Shelly Arkon is the author of Secondhand Shoes


When Shelly isn’t doing the laundry, cleaning, cooking, chasing grandkids, listening to daughter drama (five of them), or lopping heads of hair at the salon, she’s writing beside her two fur-peeps, Sir Poops and Hair Ball, popping an occasional chocolate while her hubby is flipping through TV channels.

She lives in New Port Richey with her husband and two dogs. She’s also a member of Florida Writer’s Association and Writer’s of Mass Distraction.


  1. Julie Flanders on June 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Congrats to Shelly! She's awesome and I'm so excited for her.

    I had to laugh at your list, because I need clarity on these things as well. I am especially confused about the difference between a CP and a beta. Glad I'm not alone in this!

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2013 at 8:51 am

      I'm also laughing now. You've already published your novel, and yet you are confused about those  terms. Didn't you use CP's and betas for Polar Night? 🙂

  2. Alex J. Cavanaugh on June 5, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Congratulations, Shelly!

    The first one is the difference in age of the main character. (I think.) Second one has to do with length, but don't know what that is. (I'm helpful, aren't I?) Last one – a critique partner is more like an editor, looking for mistakes in all things from grammer to plot, while a beta reader is someone who reads the genre and can let you know if the overall story sucks or not. At least, that's how I use my critique partners and test readers.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2013 at 8:54 am

      Thanks for the help Alex! LOL Actually your CP/beta explanation is the same idea I had in mind. Just not sure that it's right.

  3. J.L. Campbell on June 5, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Hey, Michelle,

    There are quite a few things we writers need to know these days. 🙂 Only recently started reading NA, which has to do with college aged folks. What I've seen so far are characters from 18 to early twenties.

    As to the 'n' word, (short stories up to 7,500k) Novelette (my auntie's name) 7,501 – 17000 words, Novella 17,001- 40,000 words, Novels 40K plus.

    Alex's info sounds accurate to me. As to all the spinoffs from NaNo. I haven't kept up with those at all.

    Hope Shelly's book does well.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2013 at 9:00 am

      I thought that the NA and YA reference also has to do with the target group, not the actual character ages? Is it the same thing? What would YA be – ages 14 to 18 or thereabouts? Auntie Novelette sounds like a cool name… 🙂

  4. M. J. Joachim on June 5, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Well that makes everything clear as mud from where I'm sitting…lol Think I might have to do some in-depth research on some of these questions…

  5. Nas on June 5, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Hi Michelle!

     Congrats to Shelley! The book sounds great!

  6. Melissa Maygrove on June 5, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Congrats to Shelly! 🙂

    1. YA and NA – YA is aimed at and has characters of high school age. NA is about characters who are a little older, but not established adults – like 18-25 or so. It's about the transition to adulthood.

    2. novella and novelette – It's all about wordcount. A novella = 17,500 to 40,000 words (70-160 pgs.), whereas a novelette = 7,500 to 17,500 words  (30 to 70 pages

    3. critique partner and beta reader – This varies depending on who you ask, but a critique partner usually does more of a line-by-line style critique, whereas a beta reader looks at broad issues.

    NaNo – I think many of those are copycats (and I mean that in a nice way), not offical parts of NaNoWriMo.

    IWSG# 123, until Alex culls the list again. 🙂





    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2013 at 9:03 am

      Thanks Melissa. Your explanation is quite definitive. 🙂

  7. Carol Kilgore on June 5, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    I agree with Alex and Melissa. And send a ton of good wishes to Shelly for her book!

  8. Natasha Hanova on June 5, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    Well, I was going to explain the difference between YA and NA, but looks like Melissa Maygrove covered it. 

    Congrats to Shelly! 

    IWSG #207

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2013 at 9:05 am

      Congrats once again, on your book release Natasha! Woo-hoo!

  9. Nicki Elson on June 5, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    Well, looks like I showed up just in time – for you to have your questions answered by others, ha!  Good thing, because I've never even heard of a novelette before. 

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2013 at 9:07 am

      Nicki, we learn something new every day, don't we? I just came across the word 'novelette' the other day…

  10. Lexa Cain on June 6, 2013 at 2:31 am

    Big congrats to Shelly! Woohoo!

    It seems you've had your questions answered already. 🙂

  11. Rekha on June 6, 2013 at 6:23 am

    The others have go it spot on so I wouldn't go into the explanation part. The Nano are different where you attempt a 50000 word novel.The Nov one is the king and June/July ones are popular among certain writers. Then you have Dec/Jan – the month you edit your nano novel. Ther are others…April – poetry a day, May – a story a day….March – your flash ficiton month, and wordathons where you sent word goals for a month or year……you can choose what you suits you or write in spurts and bursts like me.

    Have a great time Michelle and be happy.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2013 at 9:10 am

      Rekha, thanks for visiting. I hope you've been well? Thank you for the added info 🙂 I also write in spurts and bursts… *sighs* You're not alone!

  12. Madeline Mora-Summonte on June 6, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    NaNo in November is the big, official one. They also have Camp NaNo in the summer. Those are the two that I've taken part in. The idea is to write 50,000 words but I think there's some flexibility, especially in the summer, where you can be more of a "rebel" and change up the goals for yourself. 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2013 at 9:13 am

      November is the structured by-the-book NaNo and then Camp NaNo is a more "relaxed version"… ? Something along those lines…?

  13. Annalisa Crawford on June 6, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    If you visit my blog, I had a post on there about betas and CPs. I asked the question and got a ton of very useful and thorough answers. 

    I think a novelette is under 20k and a novella is between 20-50k… But each publisher will have their own guidelines, and if you're self-publishing you can call it what you want 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2013 at 9:14 am

      I need to swing by your place and check out those responses. 🙂

  14. Lynda R. Young on June 7, 2013 at 12:34 am

    Melissa explained it really well. I so often see stories marketed as novellas when really they're just novelettes, or worse, just short stories.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2013 at 9:19 am

      Melissa's explanation is thorough. From a marketing point of view, would marketing your story incorrectly become a crucial issue?

  15. Charmaine Clancy on June 7, 2013 at 3:29 am

    Great explanations in the comment – Congrats Shelly! – Good cover!

  16. Lara Lacombe on June 7, 2013 at 3:36 am

    A lot of the WriMo's are put on by the Office of Letters and Light, the organization that sponsors NaNoWriMo.  They have NaNo's during the summer (called camps), a screenwriting challenge, and a young authors challenge as well.  You can check out the main NaNo page to see all the WriMo's they organize.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2013 at 9:23 am

      Very interesting info Lara. Thanks for sharing. There's so much going on, and they seem to cater for everybody. The Office Of letters and Light? What organisation is that?

  17. Michael Di Gesu on June 7, 2013 at 4:49 am

    Hi, Melissa,

    I know I get confused with all the writer appreviations for the different writer LINGO… Many a time I had to ask what something meant…






  18. Medeia Sharif on June 7, 2013 at 5:07 am

    I'm also wondering about #2.


    Congrats to Shelly!

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2013 at 9:27 am

      Check the reponses above, there's great explanations!

  19. Julie on June 7, 2013 at 5:40 am

    Congrats to Shelly! Glad your questions were answered, but I'm more confused than ever!

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2013 at 9:42 am

      Haha! I think you need to give it time to digest… these days, writers have too many things they need to know! What happened to just sitting down and writing the story? 🙂

  20. Lisa Buie-Collard on June 7, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Congratulations to Shelley, and I, too, am a member of Florida Writer's Association! Love meeting other members on line. No need to answer the questions asked here as others have already, but I do have a question to add. I know that YA is Young Adult, what is NA? Thanks Michelle for visiting my blog and commenting! So nice to know we're all in this together…

    • Michelle Wallace on June 8, 2013 at 7:29 am

      To my knowledge (which is quite limited), it stands for New Adult. That's about all I can offer… 🙂 I think it's the 18-25 year old age group.

  21. Deanie Humphrys-Dunne on June 8, 2013 at 1:02 am

    Thanks to everyone for the helpful explanations. It can be a bit confusing so explanations are in order. Congrats to Shelly.  Very exciting for her. Happy weekend, everyone.

  22. Michelle Wallace on June 8, 2013 at 7:35 am

    The explanations were very helpful! Thanks for popping in Deanie. Enjoy your weekend! 🙂

  23. Suzanne Furness on June 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Loads of advice here, some of these questions on clarification can be so tricky. I was wondering about NA myself actually. Thanks for posting the questions.



    • Michelle Wallace on June 8, 2013 at 6:39 pm

      To my understanding, NA is a fairly new idea…  I mean in terms of seperating target groups/character ages… But I could be wrong. I do get that impression though…

  24. Laura Eno on June 8, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Congrats to Shelley!

    You have good explanations here already for your questions, Michelle. As for the writing frenzies…too many wrimos for me. 🙂

  25. Cathy Keaton on June 9, 2013 at 12:40 am

    I know the differences between all of those things! But, yeah, it can be hard to differentiate.

  26. Michelle Wallace on June 9, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Thanks for the visit Cathy!

  27. Nancy LaRonda Johnson on June 9, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    So glad you've asked those questions, Michelle, especially about the CP vs. beta reader. I did know that NA has to deal with a bit  more adult themes (if you want to call it that), having more sexual inuendo, drinking and maybe drugs, although I've known YA to have that too. But I guess they're trying to make a separation so parents in particular can know whether their kids are reading something too adult by the NA genre tag.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 11, 2013 at 11:10 am

      Thanks for this info, Nancy. The unavoidable reality is that lots of kids are exposed to things before their time. The NA genre would be one way of keeping adult issues seperate… it would help, to a certain extent… and at least it helps keep parents in the loop…

  28. Stina Lindenblatt on June 9, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    For more info on NA, check out this great blog. It should answer all your questions. 😀

  29. Mark Koopmans on June 11, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Aloha Michelle,

    I can't even do the A-Z challenge, let alone all the MO's that are out there.

    Great questions by the way – neat way to do your IWSG post 🙂


    I also wanted to say thanks very much for stopping by and commenting on my recent D-Day post. (I'm still working through all the comments!)

    CSM Ryan's story has received an incredible amount of support and a HUGE *Thank you* goes to DL Hammons – and all the Blitzers 🙂

    PS: Bill said to let everyone know he really appreciated all the personal comments directed his way 🙂

  30. Michelle Wallace on June 11, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Thanks Mark! 🙂 That was such a great post… and it's loads of fun to descend upon an unsuspecting "blitzee"…

  31. PK Hrezo on June 14, 2013 at 2:18 am

    Hey, sister! I'm late to the party but looks like you got your answers. NA is more mature 18-25 year old MCs. ANd for me, my CPs do line by line notes and editing, while my beta readers just read the story all the way thru and give me an overall persepctive. Both are equally important IMO! 🙂

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