Today for the novella project we're speaking to Tiffany Morris:
Tiffany Morris is an L'nu'skw (Mi'kmaw) writer from Nova Scotia. She is the author of the swampcore horror novella Green Fuse Burning (Stelliform Books, 2023) and the Elgin-nominated horror poetry collection Elegies of Rotting Stars (Nictitating Books, 2022). Her work has appeared in the Indigenous horror anthology Never Whistle At Night (Vintage Books), as well as in Nightmare Magazine, Uncanny Magazine, and Apex Magazine, among others. She has an MA in English from Acadia University with a focus on Indigenous Futurisms and apocalyptic literature. She can be found at tiffmorris.com or on twitter/bluesky @tiffmorris.
Green Fuse Burning was reviewed earlier this week by Phoebe, which you can read here.
For your recent book Green Fuse Burning, what made you decide to write it as a novella? Was it a particular attraction of the form, or something about this story that suited it?
While I explore a lot of the themes that are present in Green Fuse Burning in my poetry, I really wanted a more expansive form to express some of the interwoven complexities of grief - having an interior glimpse into the mind of a character and how they respond to the things that happen to them felt like the most immediate way for me to do it. But the brutality of how this character experiences grief wasn't something I wanted to expand into a novel, because it's already emotionally difficult subject matter.
That makes a lot of sense - and certainly seems true of a lot of novellas I've read. They're a great way to explore a particular theme without overburdening the reader, and occupy a useful transition point between short fiction and a full novel.
Picking up from that - do you find generally that the form you choose ends up being dictated by the content, or do you ever go in thinking "I am going to write a poem/short story/novella/etc." and then shape the content to mould to the form?
It's funny, my writing process always forms from fragments and seeds - my Notes app is full of images, random sentences, or story idea - and sometimes things jotted down devoid of context that I can't really turn into anything. Ideas that I intend to be novellas or novels will inevitably end up being short stories - or even poems, because my tendency is to pack everything down into dense sentences. I suppose what it becomes really depends on if I think a character needs to think through and experience the idea.