Is Your Idea a Novel or Short Story? - Writer's Digest

Is Your Idea a Novel or Short Story?

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The Mind of Your Story

Here is a simple way to help determine if your idea is more appropriate for a novel-length work or a short story.

  • A short story shows a character in a state of flux. While other characters are present in the short story, it generally deals with one character's situation. Hence, short stories are almost always character driven.
  • A novel has a broader scope. Not only will it deal with a character's trajectory, there will be substrata and superstrata as well. You'll often find a number of leitmotifs, recurring ideas, or details that appear again and again. A novel's larger idea (or theme) is many-tentacled and won't always stay between the lines.