How to Develop a Short Fiction Story into a Novel
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How to Develop a Short Fiction Story into a Novel

Many years ago, I wrote a short fiction story. It had two primary characters, one secondary character and one minor character. As short stories go, it was amusing but lacking in substance. After some consideration, I decided to write the story as a novel. During the course of my character and story development, the players became more real and the story evolved quickly. This article provides strategies for writers to turn a short story into a novel by expanding the lives of the characters. It also shows how certain aspects of a character’s psyche can enrich a story.

Many years ago, I wrote a short fiction story. It had two primary characters, one secondary character and one minor character. As short stories go, it was amusing but lacking in substance. After some consideration, I decided to write the story as a novel. During the course of my character and story development, the players became more real and the story evolved quickly. This article provides strategies for writers to turn a short story into a novel by expanding the lives of the characters. It also shows how certain aspects of a character’s psyche can enrich a story.

Story theme and how it can spark ideas

The first thing to decide is the theme of the story. This is dependent upon the genre you have decided to target. In my case, it was contemporary romance. However, the strategies I used would be the same for any genre.

My story was character driven and explored the psychological aspects of the primary characters. I also included the people who are closest to them to provide interest and events relevant to the storyline.

If your story is plot driven, spend time developing the plot so that the reader will be intrigued yet wondering what will happen next.

Give the characters a life, a profession and a family

Formulating the lives of your characters should be interesting and fun. Again, depending on the type of story you want to write, there are many possibilities for concocting situations between your characters based on their life situations.

To kick start the project, I gave my characters a profession in such a way that their business association provided a source of external conflict.

I provided realistic lives for the couple, I devised a range of characters that would fit into the story because of their association with both of the central characters.

As I formulated the secondary and minor characters, I was mindful of not having any character in the story unless they had a role to play. This is important to avoid padding the story with no real purpose.

Make notes about character relationships so your ideas won’t be lost as your mind fills with possibilities for your story.

Give the characters a place of residence

Each primary character must have a place of residence even if they move around within the story.

Those secondary characters that have the largest roles in the story should also reside in a place realistic to their station in life.

Story design

Do a rough outline of the story to capture the essence of your characters and how they will fit into events and circumstances of your story.

When you have devised sufficient characters, it is a good idea to formulate a detailed story outline. I prefer to do a scene-by-scene outline for each chapter of the book. This keeps my story on track. This story outline can be altered as and when new ideas surface.

Be mindful of upping the ante at appropriate intervals in your story. Develop a strong external conflict and don’t forget to include the internal conflict for each primary character.

Summary

Turning a short fiction story into a novel is basically a matter of expanding everything about the story. Adding sufficient characters will spark storyline ideas as each one is added to the mix. Other story ideas will flow through and perhaps require the addition of more characters.

Turning 3,000 words into 80,000 words is a challenge but so worth the effort. Try it and see for yourself.

Sources:

Personal knowledge and experience

Read more of my fiction writing articles:

http://writing-poetry.knoji.com/how-to-enhance-conflict-in-fiction-writing/

http://writing-poetry.knoji.com/how-much-talent-does-a-fiction-writer-need/

http://writing-poetry.knoji.com/10-tips-for-beginning-fiction-writers/

http://writing-poetry.knoji.com/how-to-avoid-writers-block-and-enhance-your-writing-productivity/

http://writing-poetry.knoji.com/writing-for-publication-what-makes-a-book-publishable-and-marketable/

http://writing-poetry.knoji.com/why-some-creative-writers-are-a-bit-eccentric/

http://writing-poetry.knoji.com/professional-development-for-fiction-writers/

http://writing-poetry.knoji.com/fiction-book-writing-6-things-to-do-before-you-start-writing-a-novel/

http://writing-poetry.knoji.com/why-creative-writing-is-a-great-hobby/

http://writing-poetry.knoji.com/how-to-develop-fiction-book-characters/

http://writing-poetry.knoji.com/joining-a-fiction-writing-group/

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