Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Ellen Hart writes:

We all collect ideas. I’ve often thought of writers as cosmic vacuum cleaners, sucking up everything around them. When we need something, we look into the bag. Many of us write novels and short stories. Thus, today’s burning question is:

How do you know when you have a novel-length idea vs. a short story idea? Is there a difference? Is it all in the writing?


Steve Liskow said...

If the conflict is basic and immediate enough that I don't need a lot of backstory, I think in terms of three or four scenes, max, and try to treat it as a short story. Lots of backstory to make things clear usually means a novel for me because I like to layer the information in very gradually.

I also look at the number of characters. My (Unrealistic and often ignored) limit for a short story is four people with worthwhile activity. More than that, it's a novel.

All of this is subject to change without notice. ;-)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I think it depends on the depth of your character and situation whether it is a novel length idea or a short story idea...