1. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    Writing your novel through short stories

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Rumwriter, Apr 21, 2012.

    I decided today that a chapter is a story in its own way, and though it maybe doesn't stand alone, it needs to have rising action, conflict, etc.

    After thinking this, I thought that maybe instead of trying to write my novel as a novel, I could instead write a bunch of short stories involving my characters, with the intention of in the end trying to weave them together into a major story. Ender's Game was a short story, fleshed out into a novel. So what about fleshing out multiple short stories and putting them together.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    It's been done, beginning with one of my personal favorites, "Tales of the South Pacific" by James Michener. Some chapters stood alone as complete stories, while others had some connection to other chapters.
     
  3. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause Contributing Member

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    It's an idea I'm toying with also, but it has been done many times before.
     
  4. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    Thieves' World comes to mind. I've been thinking doing this with one of my settings for years; someday I might actually write it (one of the stories is done, a few more are outlined). Just because it has been done doesn't mean it can't be done again. Good luck with your work.
     
  5. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    yeah, I definitely wasn't suggesting it is a new idea. I was asking more about whether or not it works well, and any pros or cons it might have etc.
     
  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    if you can do that and still end every chapter in a way that makes the reader want to turn the page and read on, I think it might be a good idea.
     
  7. Jenny Masters
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    Jenny Masters Member

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    It's a fantastic method.

    You've stumbled upon something but you have absolutely no idea of the value of that insight. Or, really, how to benefit from it.

    Stick with it and your learning curve will be exponential.
     
  8. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I have also thought about doing this. Are there any other examples of it being done well?
     
  9. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    I'm not trying to write an "episodic novel", but I thought it would be a great way to get to know my characters better, without having to go through writing my entire novel first. By putting them into small episodes, I can better see how they react, how they talk, what they want, etc. etc. and see how that can transfer over into a bigger novel. 'Cause I have to say, short stories=easier to write than novels.
     
  10. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    This is how I think of each of my chapters when I write. I think it helps you focus on something specific, but also keeping in mind that the chapter needs to serve a purpose. It also makes writing a novel seem less daunting, in my mind.
     
  11. PeterC
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    PeterC Active Member

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    How would one handle things that cross chapter boundaries? It's not strange to set up something in an early chapter that doesn't come to complete fruition until a much later chapter. If a novel was written as a collection of short stories it seems like it would be hard to do something like that.
     
  12. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    I don't know how others approach this, but I don't literally mean a short story. Obviously some chapters are going to cross boundaries or else the novel is going to be completely disjointed, but if you think of a chapter and its purpose it should have a conflict -- something that pushes the story forward. In this instance you need to introduce the conflict and conclude it (sometimes...). I don't know if this is helpful or if you were even asking this.
     
  13. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    Well, you can't entirely. But you can do two things:

    you can have some of the short stories stand alone, so that they don't necessarily work as something you'll use in the novel, but they let you explore the characters in a quick instance. This would be sort of like a "filler" episode of a tv show.

    and secondly, you can try to have all of the short stories focus on a central overlying problem, but have each story have it's own conflicts as well. So that maybe in every story a character is trying to get home, but something different always comes up along the way, and he never quite gets there.
     
  14. PeterC
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    PeterC Active Member

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    That sounds like episodes in a series. I can see how that might work.
     

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