19/04/2014

Moving On From Short Story to Novel (by Della Galton)

I first came across Della Galton a little over five years ago, when I bought 'How to write and sell short stories' after several recommendations. I found it very readable and full of excellent advice, so when I subscribed, for a while, to a writing magazine I was pleased to find that Della Galton was a regular contributor.

In 2012 she published another writing book, 'Moving On from short story to novel', and I bought a copy almost as soon as it was available. I started reading it immediately, but for some reason it didn't grip me - or perhaps I had too many other books to read. But, being more organised this year and determined to read several writing books from cover to cover, I started it again a few weeks ago and have now finished.

I thought it a very useful book. It does what the title suggests: it explains the differences between short stories and novels, from the point of view of writing them. The author makes it clear that it's not simply the difference in length that distinguishes them. She looks at complexities of plotting, depth of characterisation, flashbacks, description and more, using her own personal experiences with plenty of examples that illustrate the differences well.

Each chapter is short, with a quick summary at the end. In later chapters, subjects such as editing, finding titles, writing synopses and blurbs are covered, followed by explanations about competitions, finding an agent and/or publisher, and more. The style is light and readable, and while there wasn't anything that gave me a lightbulb moment, it was a useful book which I may well refer to in future.

This is really intended for short story writers who are thinking about expanding into novels, and is aimed at the UK market primarily. However it could be used as a general guide for anyone who wants to write fiction and hopes to see it published.

Recommended. Available inexpensively in Kindle form (at least in the UK) as well as paperback.

Review by copyright 2014 Sue's Book Reviews

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