1. amiwriter
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    amiwriter New Member

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    Short stories as stepping stone to novels?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by amiwriter, Sep 30, 2011.

    Can writing short stories be used as stepping stones to write novels or are the two different arts of writing?
    Is it recommended to start with short stories?
    I'm not such a fan of short stories, but are writing them powerful tools to finding your writing voice?
     
  2. skeloboy_97
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    skeloboy_97 Senior Member

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    They are completely different. And no, short stories are not summarised novels, they are completely different.
     
  3. will565
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    will565 Member

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    They are both very different in form and style but I think short stories are excellent in that they help you to develop setting, characters and plots in a very short space of time which some novelists struggle to do.
    I generally write short stories when I am procastinating from writing my novel but I wouldn't say that they fall under the same style of writing.
     
  4. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Yes, they are different forms of arts. But I'll say experience in writing SS will help write your novel better and vice versa. There are times when you need to write brief scenes in novels and there are times when you need detail descriptions in SS.
     
  5. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    I feel obliged to bring up the fact that the line between novel and short story is extremely blurred. I mean, they're different genres of prose, sure, but all the same skills are present; grammar, spelling, punctuation. You can definitely write with the same voice in a short story as in a novel. You can definitely find your voice with a short story. The difference is that a short story has a different form and shape to a novel.

    Really, though, there's always the option of just writing until the story is done and letting it be the length that it ends up being.
     
  6. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    The technical aspects (spelling, grammar, characterisation, etc) is the same, but the actual construction is vastly different. I'd say that writing short stories would be a help to the future writing of novels, in that they will help you improve the fundamentals of writing, but you can't go into it thinking that a short story is just a cut-down novel, and a novel is a beefed-up short story. It doesn't work like that.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the reason writing short stories before tackling a novel is a good idea is that it doesn't take long to turn out a short story, while it can take a year or more to write a novel... which means you may be writing terribly all that time and end up with something that can't be sold... or your skills will improve along the way, which results in a novel that seems to have been written by a bunch of people who all write differently... still leaving you with all that time wasted on something you can't sell...

    but as you write short stories for practice, you'll be able to improve your writing as you go along and find it much easier to go back an upgrade pieces only 3k words long, than to rewrite 100k...
     
  8. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Short stories and novels are like sprints and marathons - they require the same basic skills but also have unique methods for successful completion. Short stories require one to be more concise and exacting; novels require one to be able to hold the reader's attention over an extended time. I don't know of a lot of authors who are equally skilled at both, and I've noticed in my own writing that habits developed for writing one can definitely be detrimental when trying to write the other.
     
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    To Banzai's and mammamaia's excellent advice I would only add this: novels are not just longer, they are far more complex than a short story. You have a greater opportunity (obligation?) to develop your characters and you can weave in subplots and other devices. A short story must by nature be far more concise.

    If you are a beginning writer, short stories are a great way to start because you can start simply and work from there. You may find that the short story format is too limiting, in which case you would find greater expression in a novel. Or, you may find that you are comfortable with the short story format.

    Good luck.
     

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