There are times that you will be writing a short story or fanfiction and the more you write the more you realize there is to write. A good writer will recognize when this is the case and take a step back to decide whether or not this story is just going to be a really long short story or whether some more research should be done to try to turn it into a novel. In this article, we will take a look at that entire process so you can decide whether the story is deserving of a full-length novel treatment and then how to expand parts of the story that you already written to fit into the chapter by chapter format of a novel.
So, how do you recognize when a short story is starting to run away with you in begin to morph into a full-length novel? One of the best ways that you can tell is by the characters. Of course, no matter if you’re writing a short story or novel, you should always develop your character so that they are breathing and living on the page. But sometimes you see your characters later on in the novel or story doing things that came from a place that you have not thought about. For example, if your mild-mannered accountant who is trying to escape the aliens is suddenly strapped down with futuristic guns and infiltrating an alien spaceship, then you might have to turn that sci-fi story into a novel.
You can also tell because the world seems too big for the story that you are telling. If the world keeps growing and you are continually adding to it and enriching the details, then it might deserve a better plot than you have laid out and a more comprehensive character list. Can you imagine the immersive world of Harry Potter or a Song of Ice and Fire that only lasted the length of a simple short story? If you are mentioning places in the world and populating them with characters, then you should definitely go to those places later or leave them out entirely.
The best thing to do when you realize that your short story is going to require a lot more work than you thought it would is to go back and write a brief sketch of each scene that you have created so far. Then you can decide whether that scene needs expanded into its own chapter or whether you can combine multiple scenes in a chapter. From there you can begin to plot out the rest of the book.
Books have a mind of their own. Any writer that has been writing for a decent length of time knows that it is not the author that decides whether something is going to be a short story or novel or whether a character is going to be named Bob or Bill or Steve. That’s certainly the case with the plot which can go off in a random direction that you never expected or imagined. However, when it does it can be some your best writing.
If you’re looking for help on how to write a novel, check out Squibler’s post