How to turn a short story into a novel

Have you ever had a short story get a little… out of hand? Perhaps it starts out as a mere spark of an idea, maybe just a little piece of flash fiction, and then it grows, and grows, and evolves and morphs and mutates into this enormous monster that’s too huge to possibly be contained in a few thousand words.

So what then? How do you move from writing short stories into the great big daunting world of novel writing?

The short story and the novel are two very different beasts, but the writer’s brain is a wonderful thing, and if the thought of churning out 80,000 odd words leaves you in a cold sweat, what you need is some serious PLOTSTORMING.

novel writing course

Writers’ HQ’s online novel outlining course will teach you the fundamentals of plotting your story from start to finish. Designed to fit around everyday life and a busy schedule, all you need to get started is an idea, and after six weeks’ furious plotstorming, you’ll finish with a comprehensive outline of your novel, so that you’re rip-roaring ready to get that first draft out.

This in-depth online plotting course contains everything you need to expand your short story into a novel. You’ll learn the fundamental elements that make up every good plot and the basics of story structure:

  • Explore who’s in your story, what their roles are, and how to make compelling characters
  • Learn how to add tension and conflict so that your novel is unputdownable
  • Break your story down into chapters and scenes so that it feels more manageable
  • And find out what to do with your outline once you have it (hint: a whole lot of writing lies in your future…)

Exercises, examples, group discussion, tutor feedback, swearing and productive procrastination (eg: research, day-dreaming, tea-drinking) will enable you to grow your fictional world and build your story plan into a detailed outline, taking it from ‘random idea in your head’ to ‘actual real story that’s ready to be properly written’!

The next Plotstormers course starts on the 7th of August. Get ready to help that epic short story reach its full potential and take the leap into novel writing!

If you’re still not sure, try a FREE one-week primer course here, or get in touch with the procrastination-busting whip-crackers at Writers’ HQ who will soothe your fevered brow and bribe you with gold stars. BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW!

And if you’re absolutely, positively sure novel writing isn’t for you, check out the WHQ Writing Short Fiction course instead. It might help you find a way to contain that behemoth of an idea into a self-contained piece of short fiction, and help you make the most of each idea that springs into your head, covering everything from characterisation to structure to narrative voice to getting your stories published.

Find out more about Writers’ HQ online courses and regional writing retreats at www.writershq.co.uk or chat with the WHQ crew on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Seven Days of Story Inspiration from Writers’ HQ

writers' hq seven ideas in seven days online writing course

SEVEN IDEAS IN SEVEN DAYS – 1 WEEK ONLINE WRITING COURSE – STARTS 5th JUNE (£20)

Learn how to see, hear and think like a writer with Writers’ HQ’s 5-star online creative writing course, Seven Ideas in Seven Days.  Designed to fit around every day life and a busy schedule wherever you are in the world, we’ll give you techniques and exercises for generating ideas and turning them into usable outlines for brilliant stories.

If you’ve ever sat down with good intentions to write a short story but find your brain (and the page) utterly blank, then this is the writing course for you. Ideas are the bedrock of story writing. Sometimes they come thick and fast, and sometimes they seem to languish in the dank cellar of your subconscious and refuse to come out to play. Seven Ideas in Seven Days will help you to turn into an idea-generating machine using inspiring exercises, forum discussions, writing prompts, feedback and support.

Over the course of the week, we’ll teach your brain to germinate those idea-seeds. (Seedy ideas? Something like that.) We’ll give you techniques to spot ideas in both the fantastic and the mundane, exercises to encourage them to grow and bloom, ways to record them for when you need them, and generally help you get into the habit of THINKING.

By the end you will have: seven ideas that can be grown into fully fledged stories, or inserted into existing stories to make them even better. Book your place HERE!

WHAT YOU GET

  • Seven ideas that you can use, grow, nurture, or throw on the floor in frustration (then pick up again and hope no one saw)
  • Daily inspiration, whip-cracking, writing exercises and prompts
  • Top tips from tip-top authors
  • A private student forum to discuss ideas, techniques and get advice from your tutors and fellow writers
  • Dedicated support by email from your fantastic tutors
  • Feedback and writerly conversation from the LOVELY social media community of Writers HQers

STARTS MONDAY 5th JUNE (and costs just £20!) – BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW!

Still not convinced? Check out just a few of the 5-star reviews from previous students:

“More ideas than you can shake an inspiration stick at! Fab exercises for toning up your idea muscles. A fun, inspiring week.”

“Super splendid idea generating joy! I’d been feeling like I’d lost the ability to generate ideas but this course gave me my confidence back. You’ll get the chance to play around with some really fun exercises and just see what happens! I got at least seven really decent ideas to develop further. It’s great value for money and will really give you a great big creative kick. Five gold stars from me!”

“A mysterious benefactor gives you a task a day and – shazam! – by the end of the week you’re a-fizzing with ideas. Tis witchcraft. Do it.”

“Inspiring! A really varied crash course in ideas generation. It was great sharing the course with a small group of fellow students and Sarah is a wonderful course leader. I’ll definitely use the ideas I came up with and the techniques I learned in my writing. Five gold stars!”

” Just a fab way to work. Really enjoyed myself and discovered so many aspects of the writing process I didn’t know or ignored. They throw you in at the deep end but best way to question your process and the way you work. We are so easily stuck in a rut. And this course is a real encouragement to define a box and then think outside it.”

Try a FREE taster of the Writers’ HQ Short Story course!

The next round of Writers’ HQ’s 6-week online Writing Short Fiction course starts on the 20th of March but you can try out a FREE taster week HERE!

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Writing Short Fiction

6 Week Online Course from Writers’ HQ

Starts 20th March, £140 (Get 10% off when you use promo code SHORTSTOPS10 before the 12th of March!)

Short stories aren’t just easier versions of the novel. They’re a broad, complex and rewarding art form in their own right. Writers’ HQ’s new online writing short story course will help you see the bigger picture and compress it into short stories with real punch.

Short stories have been here since the dawn of time. Based in the oral tradition (stop sniggering at the back), they’re the apocryphal family legends our grandmas/weird uncle used to tell us over Christmas dinner; they’re the school-yard urban myths; the sleepover ghost stories; the soliloquies in our diaries; the wine-soaked rants to that random person you cornered in the kitchen at that party after so-and-so dumped you. Short stories are all around us. <cue X-Files theme>

But super short stories are not super easy for writers, natch. In fact, the shorter your story becomes, the harder it is to distil what really matters onto the page. I would have written a shorter letter, so the famous quote goes, but I didn’t have the time.

So what makes truly great short fiction? The kind that leaves you dribbling, slack-jawed, slap-faced when you finish it. The kind you remember forever, like some weird dream-memory. Well. We can’t write it for you, but we can give you a nudge, a shove, and a poke with a sharp stick (whatever floats your boat) to help you on your way. With the help of writing prompts, advice from award-winning short fiction writers, inspiring exercises, and our awesome little online community, you’ll come out the other side at least one fully formed short story to call your very own.

TRY OUT A FREEBIE WEEK HERE AND BOOK YOUR PLACE! (Don’t forget to use promo code SHORTSTOPS10 to get 10% off when you book before 12th March.)

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