1. MistKestrel
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    MistKestrel Member

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    Short Story to Novel?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by MistKestrel, Jul 12, 2012.

    Some people come up with Novels by creating a Short Story first, and expanding on it to create a Novel. Do you think this is a good way of making a Novel? Or do you think that you should come up with ideas for a Novel, without basing it on a short story?
     
  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it is a way to come up with a novel - but one has to remember it's not just a matter of adding words to the short story.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think expanding a short story into a novel can be risky. Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game started as a good short story, then he expanded it into a disaster of a novel. A writer really has to be careful not to get sidetracked into ridiculous subplots and other forms of padding.

    It's better to come up with enough material for a novel from the start, if you're going to write a novel.
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agee 100% with Shadowwalker. A lot of people say to do it this way, but I think the germ of the idea in that advice is that one could tackle a short story before a novel mostly because it is less daunting and you could get criticism and feedback quicker. That's a valid concern for some people, but by no means for everyone.

    I've said before and I'll probably say it hundreds of times more so that people are sick of me saying it -- I think you need to write the story that's in you without regard to its length. However long it ends up is how long it ends up, whether that categorizes it as a short story, novella or novel. In reviewing and editing your story you might find that there are areas you need to add to develop the characters or have the plot make sense or enrich the setting. But you don't want to just tack on some additional plot point to make the story longer and voila! now it's a novel due to its word count.

    Conversely, you might find you need to cut out a lot of stuff that doesn't add to the plot or develop the characters or is repetitive or otherwise unnecessary. Your novella or novel could end up as a short story.

    I'm not sure why people seem to be so preoccupied with the length of their work. Unless one is entering a contest, doing a class assignment, or submitting something for publication with a word limit, I don't see why it matters. The old adage "size doesn't matter" seems to be true.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto the ditto of shadow's post...
     
  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    The structure of a short story differs from that of a novel in many ways. A short story isn't a condensed novel and neither is a novel an expanded short story. The plot, pacing, characterization, among many things, is different between the two.

    When deciding whether an idea for a story is novel-length or short fiction-length, determine what the story is that's to be told, get an idea of events and characters that are necessary to tell it. Short fiction generally doesn't have multiple POV characters with a lot of scene shifts and multiple intertwining plots.

    One can search the internet for a short story diagram that gives the basics, which of course can be modified. A novel doesn't necessarily have that structure. It's usually more complex.
     
  7. MistKestrel
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    MistKestrel Member

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    Thanks for everyone's opinions. I was wondering if that was a way I could write a Novel as many people do it that way, but thanks for the helpful advice. I will bear it in mind.
     

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