How to Develop a Plot into an Entire Novel


When you have an idea for a story, it can be a little tricky bulking it out enough to fill a novel.

The first thing you need to think is: Is this actually a novel-length idea?

  • You could write a short story or novella as the story might not need 30-100 thousand words. If you try to write a novel based on a small idea, it will feel like it’s dragging, for the reader and you as the writer.

If you have a big idea but it still feels like it might come out a bit short, try to add more conflicts. A story with one or two big conflicts before the final huge conflict can be exciting and will certainly extend your work – this will also allow for more space to develop characters as you can see how they react and change in response to the conflicts.

Characterisation is always the best way to extend a story. Whether that be through conversations, thoughts, or actions, it will breathe life into your characters and make them both more believable and enjoyable to read.

In the end, when planning a story, you should not be focusing on word count. The story will decide when it is finished, not necessarily the writer. You could try to force it but then the story loses depth.

I hope this helps. If you have any suggestions of your own, or any questions, please let me know in the comments!

6 comments on “How to Develop a Plot into an Entire Novel”

  1. Nice suggestions – I find it often just as likely that my story is too big for a single novel, but not suitable for a series. Any advice on condensing storied?

      1. If you want! I’m not in dire need, I just thought it would be cool to see your opinion. I wrote (and have since given up on) a story that ended up being 12 freaking books. I have a friend, however, who has written a series of 4 books of 200k+ words each, and there’s not really a good way to split up each of the 4 novels into more manageable chunks. I once wrote an epic tome of 300k words that didn’t have a clear book division.

        An alternative would be deciding how to split up a series when it seems impossible.

      2. I believe that ifa story needs to be 200k or 300k then it needs to be, however I am sure that there may be certain aspects of the novel that might not be necessary – scenes that do not add much to the plot are a good example of this. I have cut the odd character out of stories before to give me more room to focus on others.

      3. True. That 300k work of mine is rather old, now, and I think I would cringe to simply look at it now. Even so, I like the cutting characters advice – it’s something that’s often hard to do, since you already put forth the effort to make a character, but it’s totally necessary in some cases. Looking forward to your piece!

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