Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Life Beyond

As I close in on the end of my Boyfriend Plague revisions, my mind keeps drifting off toward that next book. I have an idea for it, but it's tricky, and I'm not sure I'm a skilled enough writer to tackle it yet. It's a character I wrote in a short story about a year ago. In the story I focused on one event, but there were hints of a very complex and rich backstory there. In the book I have swirling around my head, that backstory will become the main plot.

But is it ever a good idea to write a novel from a short story? Short stories are a unique entity, and the best ones are focused on a very specific moment in time. Novels span weeks, months or years. Can you expand a short story successfully?

I hope so. So many of my short stories have fascinating characters that I would love to be able to explore more fully. My heroin addicted ballerina for example. And my beach house family who I have ignored most shamefully this year. I apologize.

Do you use short stories as springboards to novels? Or is that just a bad idea?


  1. I hope short stories can be expanded on as novels, because that's what my next novel is. I don't think you can build the short-story alone into an all-expansive bigger story, but I do think if it's done right, you can build up everything around it. Like you said, a rich backstory and interesting characters can be taken outside that individual snap-shot.

    Good luck with the new project. You are a writing fiend, and it's amazing ^_^

  2. I tried to turn one of my short stories into a novel and it didn't work out. But I think it all depends on the story. Good luck!

  3. Time will tell, I suppose.... Good luck with expanding Apathy, Lori.

    Ghenet, it is all about the story. Some are too finished to be made into novels; others feel like a brief flash into a life that could be explored more fully. I'm hoping my story is a flash, not finished!

  4. I think it all depends on the story, and how you feel about it. I've got several shorts I'd love to expand, but for now I'm happy to leave them as they are until I feel I have sufficient time to tell their story successfully.
    Also, a heroin addicted ballerina - sounds such an interesting complex character.

  5. Sorry, it's been years since I even wrote a short story! I think if you have a really detailed character and interesting idea, you could expand upon that.

  6. It's definitely about the story and the character. I have many stories I would never even consider trying to expand. They are, if not perfect as they are, untouchable...

  7. What fun! Obviously your muse is headed in that direction, so I say: try it! For every novel, I try and push myself in some area--do something that I think is on the limits of my abilities and forces me to learn and become a better writer.

    And if it doesn't work--oh, well. Abandon it and move on. It isn't like the story police are going to come storming after you.

  8. You're right, Heidi, although I hate to abandon books, even when I know they are probably unsalvageable...