I’ve been reading Della Galton‘s new book – Moving On from Short Story to Novel.
It’s written in an easy to read friendly tone and does what it says on the tin – it explains the different techniques required for writing full length fiction compared to short stories.
When I attempted NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago I fell into the trap of thinking that to fill the pages of a novel it was necessary to pack it with action. I had something new happening all the time. Della explains that this is not the case, what is needed is more depth – i.e. more characterisation, detail of setting etc. She uses examples from her own novels and stories, including a synopsis (great to see a successful synopsis ‘in the flesh’!) and a chart showing how to keep track of what’s happening in each chapter (one of those things that you see and then say – that’s obvious so why didn’t I think of it? Sometimes we just need these things pointing out).
Della also explains the concept of a theme within a novel. Something that I’ve always thought sounds very literary and highbrow but in fact it’s something that many writers do unconsciously. Theme boils down to the focus of your novel and, according to Della, if you can identify that theme then both plotting and editing become easier.
The only downside to this book is that it’s not available on Kindle and incidentally, it’s written in such a way that a novelist could use it as an aid to moving to shorter fiction.
Now all I have to do is put all this brilliant advice into practice…