(Craft) Is Your Short Story Really a Novel?

novelA short story is a complete work of art that usually does not exceed 10,000 words. But there are times when a short story begs to expand into a novel. How can we recognize those times?  Here are a few tips:

1) If your short story ends up at far more than 10,000 words and your every attempt to pare it down to bare essentials has failed, then you may be dealing with a novel.

2) If your story covers too long of a time period, your story may really be a novel in disguse.

3) If your story needs several characters to tell it, it may be telling you that it wants to be a novel.

4) If your story includes more than one theme, you should most likely expand it to a novel.

5) If you don’t want to stop working on your short story, you may be happier writing it as a novel.

While essential fictional principles remain the same, writing a novel is different from writing a short story. Let the story tell you what it wants to be. Then follow its leading.

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Photo Source: Microsoft Clipart

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One thought on “(Craft) Is Your Short Story Really a Novel?

  1. This is helpful, MaryAnn: whenever I write fiction, it becomes clear that I am not constantly at the helm, and often ideas or even characters emerge that were not planned. I agree to let it unfold on its own.