When A Short Story Demands To Be Turned Into Something Bigger #writers #writing

Short story, fiction, writers


You write a short story, edit it, revise it and share it. After doing all this you put it aside, as in your head it is time to move onto something else. Your short story, however, has other ideas!

There are 5 stages to your short story demanding to be turned into something bigger:

  1. Bliss. You are enjoying, what we in the trade call, short story bliss. Short story / writer relationships are very different to novel / writer relationships. With a short story there is no creative fatigue, you don’t have night terrors about editing and it’s all wrapped up in a couple of pages, as opposed to dragging on for thirty chapters. Your creative life feels blissful, fun and carefree. You finally finish your short story and let out a sigh of literary satisfaction. It was quite a story that you created and one which will take a few days to recover from. Your story had a magical feel to it and the character you created gave you a strange tingling sensation, something you haven’t experienced in a long time. You were left wanting more but its over now. With a smile you slot it into your writing folder and go take a refreshing nap.
  2. Stalking. Your short story refuses to leave you alone. It climbs into your head whilst you sleep and enters your dreams. When you rise you can feel its presence inside your mind. You go about your daily life trying to ignore it and telling yourself “it was just a short story!”  But it won’t go away! A week later and it is still stalking you in the small hours, hanging out with you whilst you clean the loo and sat in the passenger seat as you drive to work. It starts to whisper “write more of me!” and “I should be a novel!”  which makes you wonder whether this is the start of insanity.
  3. Denial. You enter the denial phase quite quickly. In your head you run through all the reasons why you can’t write more of this short story; it was only meant to be a bit of fun, you were not looking for anything serious and it wouldn’t work as a novel. Your mind suddenly plays devil advocate and says stuff like “good things happen when we are having fun, you are a writer which means you are always looking for something serious and it does have the makings of a great novel!”  You shrug your shoulders and look away. Your short story then whispers “you can’t stop thinking about me – can you?”  Cue your frustrated scream. Aghh – this attractive short story has a point! It has been difficult to forget about and there have been occasions where you have found yourself daydreaming about how it could be turned into something bigger. But it was only meant to be a short story!
  4. Mediation. To help you work through this difficult creative time you enter a phase of mediation. This is where you look to a third party to help you resolve your differences. You email your short story to an honest writer friend in the hope that they will say “leave it as a short story!”  They have never let you down before. You sit and wait. Their email pops up within the hour and to your horror, in capitals are the words ‘THIS WOULD MAKE A GREAT BOOK!’ The short story dances around in your head chanting “told you so!”
  5. Hope. After weeks of denial and pushing your short story away you finally give in. You and your short story head for the writing desk with a hop, skip and a jump. Three months later and you are getting stuck into your fab new novel, which started life as a short story!

I hope none of you are busy ignoring the demands of a great short story!

Have a fabulous day!

Photo: Stocksnap

Posted by

I am a blonde writer of romantic comedy fiction.

86 thoughts on “When A Short Story Demands To Be Turned Into Something Bigger #writers #writing

  1. Ha! Yess so much! It took a year of denial and mediation for me to start writing the novel. My friend kept telling me to “finish the story” and I kept saying “that’s the end! The main character dies at the end, how can there be more story?” Them gosh-darn characters just don’t stay dead though 😉 haha

  2. Ha! That was a fun read! None of my short stories have become novels yet unfortunately… But maybe that’s because the idea for a novel still hasn’t arrived 😎

  3. Lol – brilliant. I’ve had stories stalk me. I punished them by turning them into short stories. They punish me back by turning those shorts into novellas, which then become full-fledged novels. Which, obviously, become series. I’m now waiting to see where this nightmare will end. Hollywood, anyone?

  4. Yes, I am busy ignoring them but there’s no need to yell at me for it. 😉 I write a lot of micro and flash so they often beg to be made into longer stories. As for a novel, I’m not sure that would work. So, interestingly enough, my problem is micro fiction needing to be short stories not short stories into novels. Did I confuse everyone?

  5. I feel like I’m stuck in Phase 1-bliss. There isn’t a story that demands my attention to be written as a novel. I have had ideas to write an anthology of short stories centered around a theme or setting. Recently, I finished a book where the main story was broken into stories where secondary characters had some interaction with the main characters. It was a good book. I’m thinking about trying something like that.

  6. my one YA book, still in the ‘to be edited’ section of My Documents grew from a short story and now wants to be a series… I’m thinking of putting it up for adpotion

  7. I’ve a couple of short stories that have been trying to give me ideas. One story has me thinking of trying to make a series along the same lines as it (sort of a Fantasy version of Nancy Drew), and one story has me thinking of actually turning it into a book (thanks to reader’s suggestion).

  8. Just going through this now. Written what was supposed to be a short story (thought a bit on the long side), and now it seems to be hinting that it wants to be even longer. This is why I have no short stories. :/

  9. Haha! You’re so funny! Sacha is right, this is exactly what has happened to me with Swanskin… it was only ever meant to be a short and simple novella, but beta readers are FORCING me to turn it into a novel. I am kicking and screaming against it but they’re just ignoring me. Sigh. And I really cant stop thinking about it…

      1. You are welcome. I find the idea of a “short story stalking” the writer interesting. That, itself, sounds like an X-Files episode. 😈 👽

  10. I think I’m going backwards. Started working on a novel, then caved to writing short stories – started with stories within the universe of the novel, then went completely unrelated. I’m pretty sure the new babies will haunt me at some point, haha! Anyway, great post 🙂

  11. I loved this post! Sometimes I truly despise the space and old short story occupies in my mind, because it adds another large project I’d like to finish to my Neverending pile of projects.
    I really enjoyed your perspective, thanks for sharing.

  12. Ms. Mitchell, just wanted to say very true, very true. I wrote an 8 page short story once, titled They’re Dead and put it in a folder. Years later I found it, thought about it and the short story became my second novel, The Cards. Ideas never die, though, writers I suppose do! Any how thanks for your great blog post.

  13. So true. I just stumbled upon your post, and it pretty well sums up a few of my shorts, constantly rattling in my noggin, wanting to be expanded (or made into a graphic novel). One of the most wonderful thing about flash and shorts, in my opinion, is that you can let yourself be enthused and inspired by a story and have a first draft in the same day. Sure, you may want to revisit and revise, perhaps expand to full-length, but that first blast of inspiration is so pure and wonderful in its near instant-satisfaction speed.

  14. I am hoping that I will be inspired to challenge myself to something longer one day, so far only written a few short stories, (been writing for about a year) I lie thinking about them being read on radio four, perhaps I need to think about screen plays and actually finding out if anyone likes them.

      1. You blog is still turning over in my mind. The author of a short story has a liberty that a novelist doesn’t. And I think the reader understands that.

      2. Agree. I also think that writers rush to write novels and miss the opportunity to validate the concept via a short story first. I think short stories are so important for writers and sometimes overlooked.

  15. Oh no! I hadn’t even realised this could happen. I’ve always been okay at just letting it be.. I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight now. Darn those short stories!

  16. I wrote a short story recently and after its completion, I decided to make it a part of a series . . . so now, I have a never-ending “short” story, hahaha. I enjoyed this post; much relate-able.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s