How I Turned My Novella Into A FULL LENGTH Novel (And How You Can Too!)

Hey there, friends! I'm super excited about today's post because I get to share some SECRETS with you!

Okay, they're not really secrets, but today, I'm going to give you some tips about how I expanded my 23k word novella to a 136k word novel.

Sound intriguing? Let's go!


If you've been with me for a while on my blog, you have probably heard me mention my very first novel, A Candle in the Window.

In the first or second drafts, this historical fiction story was about a young girl (Katie) who lost her father in an accident. Then, her stepfather, whom she is growing and learning to love, has to go on the same, dangerous journey. Katie is very worried about him.

In these first drafts, the story ends with Katie around 14 years old. The main story still happened, but she didn't grow up
. She stayed the same age throughout the whole book.

So what do you think I did to make the story longer?

Yep, you guessed it! Katie grew up.


The novel is essentially the same story, except my MC (main character) grows up into a woman. Obviously, a LOT more has to happen to make her grow up. I loved exploring Katie's "new life," but the next section will tell you what I added to lengthen the book more!


So what did I add to make my book so much longer?

I added a Prologue (which I may or may not end up keeping
but I won't get into that now) to the beginning, which shows Katie (10 years old) and Mama receiving the news of her first papa's death.

Then, Part 1 begins with Katie at 14 years old. Her mother and stepfather get married. A lot of changes are going on.

Then in Part 2, Katie is 16 years old. She's growing up into a fine young lady.

As the story progresses into Part 3, Katie is now married. All of this growing up required many scenes and chapters.

A BIG help to lengthening my novel was adding more POVs (point of views) to the book. Instead of just my MC Katie's POV, I added her brother's POV, as well as other POVs.

This and making Katie grow up were the two major things that REALLY lengthened my novel.


So, in summary, here are some ideas YOU can use to lengthen YOUR novel:
  • Make something big happen to your character. For Katie, it was growing up, getting married, and starting a family. Your character doesn't have to grow up, but maybe something happens that really impacts your character, and now he has to take a longer time to straighten things out.
  • Add more POVs. You can have more than one protagonist/MC, and you can also have minor characters with POVs. Just make sure everything matters to the story.
  • Make some characters have two-word names if you'd like! This might seem kind of silly, but if you want more words, just make some characters have two-word names. One of my minor character's name was Mary Ann (or something like that). Every time I mentioned her name, I got two words written instead of just one. ;)
  • Add more scenes to your book, but make sure they're MEANINGFUL to your story and not just fillers.

So there you go! That's how I turned my novella into a FULL LENGTH novel
and how you can too!


what about you?

Are you writing a novel? Are you struggling to reach a high word count?

Which of these tips are YOU going to try?


  1. Yeah, I tend to be very succinct. XD That's awesome you found ways to lengthen your story! Thanks for sharing, Julia!


    1. Hi, Jewel! Yes, me too sometimes! It's easy to do! Glad you found this helpful! :D

  2. Wow, this was neat!! I always worry about not getting a high enough word count but by the time everything's happening I'm usually good to go. I do want to rewrite my unpublished first novel and it's more novella length, so I'll keep this stuff in mind!

    1. Hi, Kassie! That's great! Yay, glad you found this helpful! :D


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