So...Just cruising around the forums like I usually do (hehe...sneaky me) and I got to thinking...Should I write out my "wannabe" novel as a short story then add onto it when the time is right? Or just plunge headlong into it and pray all goes right? Seeing as to how I'm only a measly teenager with no free time between school, video games, chillin' with other teenagers, work, etc...Would short then long be a good idea for me then?
I wouldn't. I've been doing some short stories set in my novel universes lately, but they aren't novels that I'm writing. I'm looking for an aspect and writing a story about a single event. It helps to flesh out the novel universe.
Posts: 2 | Registered: Aug 2010
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Spaceman has a point. Generally the storyline of a novel simply cannot be compressed into a good short story. All you'll have is a plot summary. If you write short stories, they need to be short stories.
Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999
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There's nothing worse than a short story that has no real end or isn't complete. How can such a story offer any reader satisfaction? It does seem though, that a lot of short stories get published that don't have a real ending. I don't know how many times I've read short stories, gotten to the end, and wondered where the rest of the story was. To me, these so-called stories should never have made it to print.
There have been short stories made into novels more often than you'd think. Roald Dahl wrote "The Champion of the World" for adults before he made his children's book, Danny, the Champion of the World. At the time, though, the short story was all there was ever going to be.
Short stories don't make very good condensed novels. This is true with OSC's "Hart's Hope". The novel is one of my favorites in his bibliography, but the novelette that appeared in Chrysalis 8 didn't condense well. Card had already planned Hart's Hope to be a novel, but shortened it just for that anthology. While still good, it cried to be longer than it was.
"Ender's Game", on the other hand, works well on its own because the shorter work was all it was intended to be. It works as a short story, and was only expanded after he began working on Speaker for the Dead. While I think the novel is better, the short story is still very enjoyable, and I've read it more times than I have the book.
Write your story. If it needs the page space to be a novel, then write that. Trying to shorten a novel into a short is very difficult to do because the two types of writing are very different.
The way I think about it is that a short story is more like a single episode of a television series. It deals with one issue and wraps it up in a very limited amount of words. It has to be the complete story. Can you write a bunch of short stories set in the same world with the same characters? Yes. Can you incorporate the events of those stories into a novel? Possibly.
Write the story and let it tell you whether it is a short or novel length one.
Perhaps working on several short stories gets the creative juices flowing more than focusing on one project? You can still work on that novel, and by the time you're done with the stories hopefully it'll be fleshed out enough to begin.
Posts: 36 | Registered: Jan 2007
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I've been wrestling with the same question. I have an outline for a novel but when I began writing I realized I didnt have a clear picture of the universe that my story took place in. There were far too many unanswered questions in my own mind to right a cohesive, detailed novel.
I decided to right short stories based on the world I am creating. Each story answers more of those questions and has given me many more ideas for the novel I plan on writing.
My advise is to do the same but don't write a condensed version of your short story. Right parallel stories or stories that flesh out the history of your novel. Even if they never get published you will be more intimately familiar with your world and it will make for a far richer novel.