Story Arcs

A great question came up from one of our group members and I thought the answer might be of use to other writers. What if you have short stories that you want to structure into a novel? How might you do that?

  • Get a stack of index cards.
  • Create an index card for each short piece, or any chapters that you might have as a rough draft. Give each one a summary title and a short description of the action.
  • Spread them out on a table, bed, floor, or whatever works for you, and sort them into an order that follows the story arc of a novel as shown in the diagram below. If you have an immediate idea for any gaps, fill in a new card and place it there. If nothing comes to mind, just add a card with something like, “Need a major conflict chapter here,” or “Conclusion of secondary love story goes here.”
  • Once you’re satisfied with the flow of the narrative, take a picture, or turn it into an outline, and you’re on your way.

Below is a diagram illustrating a stories arc (whether novel, novella, or short story), as well as a more detailed article on this topic.

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