Short Story vs Novel

Specifics about craft, talent, technique, etc.
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crlisle
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Short Story vs Novel

Postby crlisle » Tue Jul 21, 2020 5:07 am

Hi all, I have been wondering what the difference between a short story and a novel is, besides length.
What are the main differences?

I want to change one or two of my short stories into YA novels, but I don't know how to go about it.

Thanks for any help you can give me!
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disgruntledpeony
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Re: Short Story vs Novel

Postby disgruntledpeony » Tue Jul 21, 2020 5:15 am

crlisle wrote:Hi all, I have been wondering what the difference between a short story and a novel is, besides length.
What are the main differences?

I want to change one or two of my short stories into YA novels, but I don't know how to go about it.

Thanks for any help you can give me!

There's just... more. Of everything. More characters, more conflicts, more try-fail cycles... it's essentially like a series of short stories braided together into one larger story.
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nreavis
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Re: Short Story vs Novel

Postby nreavis » Tue Jul 21, 2020 6:06 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:
crlisle wrote:Hi all, I have been wondering what the difference between a short story and a novel is, besides length.
What are the main differences?

I want to change one or two of my short stories into YA novels, but I don't know how to go about it.

Thanks for any help you can give me!

There's just... more. Of everything. More characters, more conflicts, more try-fail cycles... it's essentially like a series of short stories braided together into one larger story.


Disgruntledpeony stole my answer, lol.
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Wulf Moon
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Re: Short Story vs Novel

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Jul 21, 2020 10:10 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:
crlisle wrote:Hi all, I have been wondering what the difference between a short story and a novel is, besides length.
What are the main differences?

I want to change one or two of my short stories into YA novels, but I don't know how to go about it.

Thanks for any help you can give me!

There's just... more. Of everything. More characters, more conflicts, more try-fail cycles... it's essentially like a series of short stories braided together into one larger story.


Excellent answer, Liz.

I'll add just one more, and it's for breakout novels. Zuckerman said multiple POV characters are necessary, not just one. More braiding for a more intricate, deeper story.

For short stories, this is normally not a good idea. It can weaken them.
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Reuben
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Re: Short Story vs Novel

Postby Reuben » Tue Jul 21, 2020 10:54 am

Orson Scott Card has said many times that when expanding a story into a novel he begins before the story.

Reading Ender's Game, the short story, is very useful here. It's about a boy who is very talented and is the head of an army; the plot basically follows the end of the book. But all the background with Ender's introduction to Battle School? That's all implied, just a quick sentence here and there. There's no Peter, no Valentine.

In the story, too, Ender gets tired, he says he can't go on. But to me, who's read the book, it's all awfully lacking--the sentiment is empty because the character is barely developed. Of course, this was the best Card could do at the time, with the word count he had, but the story is that much richer in the book, because all the characters are explained, all the motives, all the backstory.

Perhaps a short story of Harry Potter would start, and end, with the adventure on the third floor. There would be a lot that would need to be explained, but it would be easily taken care with a few well-placed sentences. Ever since he had met Ron on the Hogwarts Train. Hermoine would know, she always knew the answers in class. The book is, of course, much richer than this supposed story because of all its mileu and characters.

So I guess I would recommend reading short stories that spawned novels, like Ender's Game, or Nightfall. And know that you should begin the novel before the story starts. (After all, you want to begin short stories media res. This is not as important in novels, and in novels there's more res. wotf008 )

Edit: This being written by a person who has never written a novel, so take it with a grain of salt.
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