I'm writing science fiction short stories and intend to later expand and stitch them together into a science fiction novel.

My problem is that (e.g.) the scenery is left / the destination point is arrived at too quickly. This doesn't mean that the story needs to be over at that point but most of the times it more or less asks for a new chapter.

Many times I could expand them as I often just basically "explain" a science fiction idea (e.g. by examination/experience of an object/phenomena) where it probably should rather be an exploration of the idea. But not always and often I'm not sure how. At the same time I aim to have the story be as non-vacuous as possible.

  • This is a very broad "question", or rather a collection of questions that could all have very different answers. Have you searched for questions similar before posting this? I've seen a lot of questions similar to the ones you include here, which have gotten very good answers. You should check if you can find your answers in existing questions. Also, writing classes should still allow you to "do your own style". Anything else would surprise me.
    – storbror
    Mar 31, 2017 at 10:34
  • Well then please take it as just one question: how to write longer stories? (as explained further in the question) I found writers.stackexchange.com/questions/5894/… which is similar and has some answers also useful here
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Mar 31, 2017 at 11:46
  • Im guessing this is similar in relative terms to the Black Mirror series on Netflix?
    – Kyle Li
    Apr 1, 2017 at 13:52
  • I would like more info on what you have. Are your short stories all with the same characters or just the same "world" or theme? When you say stitch them together, it sounds like you want to put them end-to-end to make something longer, but a novel isn't just a series of stories. There would be story and character arcs that should be longer, There is usually the main plot and subplots, etc. Apr 7, 2017 at 20:21

2 Answers 2


A story must always be a story, which is to say that it must have a story arc. The arc of a story is fundamentally built around desire and the things people will or will not do to achieve their desire. Thus the crux of a story is always a choice the protagonist must make about the price they are willing to pay (or not willing to pay) to achieve their desire.

Different genres are defined both by the types of choices they deal with and by the settings in which they are told. The "science fiction idea" at the heart of some science fiction stories (not all SF has an original idea by any means) functions as catalyst for the character's desire or the character's choice.

If your "story" is little more than the examination of the science fiction idea itself, it is not yet a story. And while length is not strictly germane to story, it is likely that it would take you much longer to tell the story of someone whose desires or choices are impacted by the SF idea than it would to describe the idea itself.

  • This was much my thought when reading the question: Nowhere does it mention characters. It sounds like further character development is needed, to the point where the characters' choices are obvious to the writer. The story should flow naturally out of that. Apr 1, 2017 at 15:45
  • @NeilFein Well I asked about character development etc earlier but it was removed from the question.
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Apr 21, 2017 at 14:00

Don't try to expand your story into something larger. If your story works at its shorter length then trying to blow it up into something longer will end up with superfluous action and characters. If you like the world depicted, try to find some other characters and events in that world that could play out over a longer timespan. If you like the characters, look at what happened before, after or around the events of the short story, or put them into something that will take longer to resolve.

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