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I wrote 3 short stories a long time ago, and I realized there's still room to expand them. Recently I made the decision to write a novel with the purpose of starting a writing career. So my plan is to pick one of the stories and turn it into a novel (I have a tight schedule right now so I want to focus on only one).

All of them got good reviews (from people that I know and from writing communities like this one). But the one that got the best reviews was the one called Sushi Break. Which is a story about a girl who travels 3 hours every weekend to see her boyfriend (the boyfriend is doing an internship and doesn't have time visit her). Things are OK for a moment, but after some days the boyfriend starts cancelling the meetings at the last minute (usually with some lame excuse). However, the girl keeps traveling to the city to eat in a sushi place she fell in love with. In this place, she meets all kind of strange but friendly characters who help her reflect on her relationship.

Here is the story for those who are interested.

I think people liked this story because (unlike my other ones) it's quite straight forward, it has a nice imagery, and it doesn't have the kind of magical realism that I usually add to my stories. They also said that the protagonist has a "strong" voice and they can really identify with her.

Should I pick this story because is the one that is more likely to succeed (by succeeding I mean selling a good number of copies)? Or should I choose one that is closer to "my style" instead?

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If you had no external feedback on any of them, which would you choose? That is, are you particularly passionate about one of them, or is your interest about equal for all of them? –  Monica Cellio May 18 at 16:47
    
Yes, I'm passionate about all of them. –  Alexandro Chen May 18 at 16:49
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3 Answers 3

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Should you pick a story to expand on based on which one people reviewed the best?

No you absolutely should not. What matters when picking a story to expand upon is not the reviews it's received but how well you can expand it. You should look at each story and ask yourself several questions; Where can I go with this? How can the characters develop further? Will a larger story still work well as a cohesive whole? Because surprisingly often they won't. Many stories work well in shorter form because they are short stories and thus nicely contained without any distractions from the point, they're straight forward. I've seen many writers fall into the trap of thinking that their story needs to be longer than it really does and they wind up added events and scenes that don't actually contribute to the plot or character development in any way. If Sushi Break is a story you feel you can run with and take it much further then it would be an excellent choice but if you're only considering it because of how well it did forget about it. Remember write for yourself first and worry about if anyone likes it after.

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Thanks. I agree with your points. The thing is, I wrote all those stories for myself and all of them are expandable (I gave it a lot of thought and I concluded that they do end too soon). I think. I won't be 100% sure until I actually do it. –  Alexandro Chen May 16 at 16:10
    
Actually I disagree with Jerick completely. Yes, you need to be able to expand the short story, but I haven't yet read a short story that could not be expanded into a novel. Some need more work, others already contain everything you need, but none are unexpandable. Also, a short story is like a short summary of your novel. If people are interested in the summary, they will want to read the book. If they don't want to read the book based on the summary, why would you want to write that book? –  what May 22 at 7:36
    
[contd.] Some screenwriters recommend that you create the log line (a one sentence summary) of your movie and test it on random strangers (from your target audience) before you write your screen play. If you want your audience to buy your book, write the book they want to buy. Writing is like architecture: you build a house not for yourself, but for whoever pays you to live there. They must be happy there. So write from yourself, i.e. in your style, with your vision, but not for yourself. The audience pays your rent. –  what May 22 at 7:42
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The Sushi story is nice, well worth telling. But before you jump into a novelization you need to do some serious study of punctuation, the use of commas particularly.

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Thanks for the answer. Could you tell me what's the problem with the commas so I can fix them in the next revision? –  Alexandro Chen May 22 at 7:56
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I haven't read either of your stories, so all I know is the short summary of the Sushi story and that the others contain magical realism.

I don't know about your home country. Magical realism seems to be popular in Latin America. But from your other questions and comments I gleaned that you want to write in English and (thus) publish to an English speaking audience.

From what I know about successful English language publications, and especially books with teenage protagonists (i.e. Young Adult fiction), magical realism is not a part of any of the books that I know. There is some (adult) fantasy that has it (e.g. some aspects of the work of Patricia McKillip), but it is generally rare and not something that can be found in bestsellers.

What (teen) readers love is a realistic, contemporary love story with protagonists they can identify with. Your Sushi plot sounds like a book Sarah Dessen might write, and I am convinced that, like her books, it will be an instant bestseller (if you write it well).

I would write the Sushi book, because to me it appears most compatible with reader taste.

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