I've written a couple of short stories. I'm really satisfied with some of them, and I would like to turn them into full-length novels. They were meant to be short stories from the beginning, but I feel I can still add more stuff to them (e.g. some part needed more details, and I didn't develop the characters enough).

Is it a bad idea to turn a short story into a full-length novel? (Is there any author who has been doing this?)

  • 3
    Orson Scott Card did this with both Ender's Game and Songbird, and Daniel Keyes did this with the classic Flowers for Algernon. In all three, a key element of the expansion was delving deeper into the key characters, making them fuller characters with richer history and relationships - the focus was more on this than on significantly building up the plot elements.
    – Standback
    Jul 23, 2012 at 12:09

2 Answers 2


Asimov did it with Nightfall as well as Standback's examples.

As I've said elsewhere, it's only a "bad idea" if you're padding your story with effluvia. If you think you have more to say, more things can happen to the characters, the characters can be more developed, the setting could be richer, then by all means go for it.

  • Isaac Asimov wrote the original short story, but it was Robert Silverberg who adapted Nightfall into the novel. Jul 23, 2012 at 12:57
  • According to good ol' Wiki, they collaborated on it, but yes, Silverberg was involved in any case. Jul 23, 2012 at 14:51

I've actually incorporated a short story of mine that I wrote last year into a novel I started a month ago. Using the snowflake method, I combined the short story and the outline I wrote for the novel and worked with 2 and kept expanding from there. I did that because in the short story, I had already developed some history and the personality for the main character, and I wanted to save myself some time. Also, I turned the short story into a prolouge for the entire novel (of course, i condensed it quite a bit).

I write a lot of short stories, because I keep coming up with so many story ideas and characters and I don't want to wait and write later. I purposely write the short stories so that I can use them later in novels.

  • Hi and welcome to Writers. Could you explain what the snowflake method is? Jul 11, 2013 at 2:19
  • @Monica Cellio advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/snowflake-method You start with a sentence or premise, and expand it into a paragraph, then into another paragraph, and so on. I, personally, I'm not fan of this technique. I prefer coming up with the plot as I write. It's a lot more exciting since the ending is unknown even to myself.
    – wyc
    Jul 11, 2013 at 8:45
  • @Isha me too, I use my short-stories as 'prototypes' for my novels.
    – wyc
    Jul 11, 2013 at 8:47
  • @AlexandroChen - I understand why you're not a fan of the technique. I like to combine the snowflake method together with my "short story-prototypes" method. I couldn't come up with a good plot from a single sentence or premise, now that I think of it. But once I have my basic plot, I like to keep expanding. I guess my snowflake method is a bit different. :)
    – Isha
    Jul 11, 2013 at 14:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.