1. Neoaptt
    Offline

    Neoaptt Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    212
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Utah

    Switch from Short Stories to Novel

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Neoaptt, Feb 25, 2010.

    I have a question to ask some writers that have switched from short stories to novel writing. How do you do it?

    I am trying to get some short stories published right now. But in the long run I want to write a novel. I just don't know how to do that dramatic switch. My longest story was 6000 words. And a novel needs to be 70k words. What keeps you interested long enough to keep writing about the same thing day in and day out? How do you discipline yourself to keep to it and not to give up?

    Then when you are finished with the novel. Do you ask your publishers to edit it? Do you need some one else to edit it for you? You can't do it all by yourself. Is the editing process different from the publishing process? I can't just post the whole thing here and let someone edit for me. Otherwise that would be considered a type of publishing.

    I don't really know what to do from here on out. I want to make this step and write a novel. I just don't know how.
     
  2. whiskeyjameson
    Offline

    whiskeyjameson Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2009
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Editing is done by you and editing and publishing are two different things. The best advice I can offer is to not worry about editing or publishing till the novel is actually all written down. If there is such a formula, most people write their novel, let it sit for a time, and then go back over it with fresh eyes. When you have what you believe to be the best possible finished manuscript you can begin querying publishers/agents.

    As far as your first question, I haven't written a novel so I can't really help.
     
  3. Jobeykobra
    Offline

    Jobeykobra Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lake Zurich, IL.
    I wrote a novel last year and am working on several more. The best piece of advice I can tell you is, visualize the end, and visualize the beginning. The journey from beginning to end is an adventure and it's all about how your characters get from that beginning to that end and it can end up being a cathartic and magical experience. You just need to focus on how you can logically get to that end and stick with it. Don't give up on your characters. If you do, then you probably didn't truly feel them to begin with.
     
  4. Neoaptt
    Offline

    Neoaptt Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    212
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Utah
    Ending the book before beginning the book. Sounds like a closed hatchet. But I guess that is the only thing i haven't thought of yet. I heard that the author for harry potter did that too. And ended up with 7 books. I can do this!
     
  5. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    I'm sort of on the same page you are. I write mostly short stories. But I have rough outlines for 2 ideas that could potentially end up as novels.

    Here is something you can do and something that sort of helped me. Try to make your plot more complex. After all, the main plot is probably going to run the entire course of the novel, so you want to pick a conflict (or conflicts) that can't be resolved in only a few thousand words. On a related note, I wouldn't recommend arbitrarily adding subplots just for the sake of length. Instead, try to focus on things like characterization, description, etc.
     
  6. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,528
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    The way I see it, the main difference between writing a short story and a novel is scope, followed by pacing.

    Your love of the story (for me). Some novelists might say the characters. That's what keeps me interested and focused. And you have to be, because you will be reading and reworking and revising the story multiple times. If it bores you, you're going to struggle to get it ready for submission.

    You have to have the self-discipline to keep at it and follow through. Nobody else will care about your novel more than you. Not your spouse, mother, father, sibling, girlfriend/boyfriend, mentor, or crit partners. And if you find a publisher, not even your agent or your editor. You, the author, have to be excited and care enough to see it reach publication and beyond.

    You have to get your novel as perfect as possible. Yes, if you find a publisher, they will edit it--or they should. But if the novel isn't in good shape, it will mean a lot of work on the editor's part. And time is always at a premium for an editor. There are many many things an editor does besides fixing grammar and helping an author work through plot holes, etc. There are more good novels out there (submitted) than any publisher can find slots for in their schedule.

    A sloppy novel will get passed on. A poorly written novel will get passed on. The idea or story or characters--ideas are easy. Execution is what counts.

    Plan out your novel. Figure where to start and the ending. Then some of the main points along the way (kind of like mile markers on a trip). I'd do that minimum. More, I think would be better. Sure, you may change the ending by the time you get there. You may skip or alter events getting to it. You may even revise where your novel starts after the first draft is completed. That's okay.

    You can find threads that argue whether one should plot and to what extent or just write from the seat of the pants. I'm not going to argue that here. It's up to you.

    Good luck and hang in there!

    Terry
     
  7. laciemn
    Offline

    laciemn Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    4
    I have the opposite problem as you. I have a hard time with short stories, simply because I never feel like ending it. I often write with the long-term in mind. All my novel-starts(I haven't completed one yet) end up being around 15k words, and then I end up either giving up or doing something else. However, I have a hard time writing a story less than 6000 words.

    You have to get excited about the future of your novel and plot. As you're writing one part, think about how it could lead into future plot-points, further the intrigue, thicken the plot, increase interest. Plan to reveal characters at certain times, meet at certain times, find certain objects, or meet the antagonist, and then invent horrible things for the antagonists to do and think of what message you are really trying to send. One thing I focus on is trials & rewards. The character wants x, but if character just gets x, it's not interesting. so instead, in order to find x, the character must do y, and then they can receive x.

    Think of it as this huge, intricate web where everything has to connect in a logical way, and you are the master spider that weaves the thread.

    Or a less creepy metaphor if you don't like spiders :p.
     
  8. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    ...i've written both... and sometimes at the same time, switching from one to the other... how i do it is just by 'writing' period... a novel takes a major commitment from you, to keep at it till you get to the end... but that's no problem, when you're so intrigued by the story you have to tell, that you can't stop even if you wanted to...

    ...the story i'm telling is what keeps me interested... just as with reading, i have to keep going, to find out what happens next!... and i've never had to 'discipline' myself to keep writing... on the contrary, it takes a powerful outside force to stop me from writing...


    ...you don't ask them... they assign an editor to each author only to find goofs you may have missed and perhaps suggest changes that may make the book more marketable... but publishers won't do your work for you... if you can't submit a well-edited, polished ms, don't bother even querying...

    ...that's what writers do... if you can't, then you'll never get anything published...

    ...two totally different things... editing is just going back and forth with changes/correction... publishing involves negotiating terms, signing contracts, meeting deadlines, promoting, printing, marketing, distributing the book... some of which you'll be involved in, some you won't...

    1. it's not allowed
    2. it would make it unpublishable
    3. no one here is going to edit your whole book for you and/or do it for free... however, i do edit parts of works for those i mentor, to show them what needs fixing and help them learn how to do it on their own... and i do it for free... so, when you get to that point, if i'm still alive and kicking/typing, i'll be glad to give you a hand...

    ...you've put the cart miles ahead of your horse... first read lots of the best-written novels in the genre you want to write... then write it!... when it's done, edit the heck outa the poor thing till it shines and only then should you start thinking about agents and publishers...

    love and hugs, maia
     

Share This Page