18 Short Story Writers On Why They Decided To Write A Novel

    An incredible group of authors discuss why they chose to go long.

    It happens all the time: A writer publishes a wonderful collection of short stories and then moves into the heady world of the novel. But why did he or she decide to go long? Was there pressure to take on a novel? Did the new story dictate a higher word count? Did the writer simply feel inspired to shift focus?

    I spoke with 18 authors — already successful in working small — about their decision to write a novel. Some are just now first-time novelists (or will have their first novels published soon), while others made the transition early in their careers. With each, I asked this one question: What made you take the leap from short fiction/essays to the novel?

    1. Maya Lang

    2. Courtney Maum

    3. Lydia Davis

    4. Charles Baxter

    5. Roxane Gay

    6. Rebecca Makkai

    7. Laura van den Berg

    8. Vanessa Blakeslee

    9. Bret Anthony Johnston

    10. Jennine Capó Crucet

    11. Julia Elliott

    12. Jess Row

    13. Ondjaki

    14. Amelia Gray

    15. Ted Thompson

    16. Lindsay Hunter

    17. Stephen Graham Jones

    18. Kevin Wilson


    Benjamin Woodard is a short story writer. His recent work has appeared in Cheap Pop, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and decomP magazinE. He is an editor at Numéro Cinq Magazine and a regular contributor to Publishers Weekly and Rain Taxi Review of Books.