How to Expand on a Short Story Idea

When you have an idea for a short story, sometimes it seems like it is only going to last for a few pages. Since it is difficult to market very short fiction, many writers want to expand the idea and try to make it into a longer story that they can actually sell. But how do you do this? Here are some writing exercises that will help you take an idea that is only half a germ of an idea or perhaps just a single image and allow it to develop into an actual plot line for a decent sized short story or novel.

Allow the Idea to Simmer

Some writers are able to come up with an idea and then put it on some imaginary back burner in the oven of their mind and let it simmer there in a slow cooker full of boiling water with a few spices. Weeks or months down the road, that idea could flashback fully formed into a story. This work was all done subconsciously. Of course, it helps to move the idea along by trying to think about it every night for a few minutes before you go to sleep. This stimulates the idea juices and gets your mind on track.

Try to Create a Plot

While some writers can come up with a fully formed story in their mind, others need to create a plot on paper. Either way of writing is correct. If you have a germ of an idea, then try to sit down and create a plot for try to imagine the who, what, where, why and how. It is often said that character drives plot, so if you just have a germ of an idea, then you might want to create a character first. Then try to imagine this plot device that you have created coming into that character’s life somehow. This might give you the jumpstart that you need to begin plotting.

Try to Write Some Fanfiction

If you have a file where you have scribbled down short story ideas, one of the most effective ways to come up with a plot sometimes is to simply go through them and try to imagine combining two or more of them; if you have the kind of scattered mind that sort of spits details out every once in a while, then those details might be meant to go together in the first place. At the very least, you will get some stimulation to add to the plot device you are creating. Writing some Star Wars Fanfiction or Supernatural Fanfiction always gets the noggin’ joggin too.

Plug Your Idea into Short Story Writing Exercises

You might be surprised what kinds of inspiration will ensue when you go online and look for writing exercises and try to use them as part of whatever germ of an idea you’ve already come up with. There have been several bestsellers that have been written based upon some sort of writing prompt from a workshop or online writing website.