1. Ged
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    Ged Senior Member

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    Short stories to novels

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ged, Nov 3, 2010.

    I've always followed the advice of writing short stories for practise. But I signed up for NaNoWriMo, and I have no idea what to do. If I were to write the whole story, I'd get 5000 words tops. How do I un-learn to write short stories and get started with novels?
     
  2. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just realise that you have more space to create a more complex plot(s), characters, twists. Have more than one conflict, rather than the one. Create deeper characters.

    With short stories, you have to condense everything, but with a novel you can fully explore the world you are creating.
     
  3. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Plot twists, secondary and extremely important characters are all things to look at. Since you're going at it for the first time, even look for a plot twist generator online or something - I can't remember if there's one on the front page of the NaNo site, but there definitely was on the script frenzy one :p It just comes up with stupid stuff like, "suddenly there was an explosion!" so you have to write that in, then look around for the causes of it, etc, and then have the characters deal with it... Just stuff like that. It depends what you're writing, really. Sometimes you just need an extra emotional revelation to keep going.

    A short story should hint loads at stuff that has happened and will happen around the moment of the short. If you look at what was meant to happen before, you could always try writing that instead of looking ahead.

    I translated one of my short stories into a novel and I basically did that - I carried on looking ahead to what might have happened after the moment of the short story, but I also looked back and looked for what might have influenced it to happen as well. Between those two things, I got a full narrative of a novel out of it.
     
  4. gilesmaddox
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    gilesmaddox New Member

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    I always struggle with this! But for me, the technique is to not think of a story as short. I tend to write my synopsis as 4 key parts - then each part break down to 4 other parts, then those smaller parts break down into 4 chunks. Before you know it, you have a novel!
     
  5. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    ^Good suggestion giles maddox. I tend to break down my stories this way as well.

    Try to incorporate more characters and conflicts into your story. Give each one a goal/struggle/or problem.

    If you've had a lot of experience in writing short stories though, you're in a good spot. Short stories are a bit harder to craft as you have a limited amount of time to develop your characters and conflicts. Just try to view each separate chapter of your 50,000 word novel as a separate short story. Bring up a different conflict and a different character if you choose. This just might help you get out of short-story mode.
     
  6. Northern Phil
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    Northern Phil Active Member

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    A good place to start is to think of a novel as a culmination of several short stories.

    In any novel you will have one main story arc with about five or six supporting stories.

    For example: If you were writing about a policeman investigating a murder then it would be about the policeman gathering evidence and eventually arresting the suspect. From there you can start to think about what else you can add to it, you could add in a story arc revolving his family, perhaps even go into detail about the friendships between him and his colleagues. You could also flip the coin and follow the killer and find out what drives him to kill and then go into detail about his family and his friends.

    If you want to see that in action then I would recommend reading Kujo by Stephen King.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    by reading lots of well-written novels and studying how they're different from short stories!
     
  8. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Every time you gotten to a point in conflict you feel; "Hm. I should move on in some way" you don't proceed by doing what you would have done in a short story. Resolve the conflict and wrap it all up neatly. You do something else instead.

    Either you tilt the conflict the conflict in some way, changing the nature of it, and write on.
    Examples: Two lovers is having a verbal fight about braking up, you change it into a physical fight, or you change the tone of the fight, or you change what the fights is about.

    Or you resolve the conflict but adds a "But..." of some kind.
    Example: The fight ends with them braking up... But they cant stop thinking about each other... or... But they can't get a divourse ecuase of legal reason and must keep on living with each other...or... But she faces new challenges as a single mum... or... BUT A NINJA ATTACKS!
     

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