Week 3: How You Can Turn a Novel into Stories

This week, we extracted stories/subplots from a novel. I wanted my students to see that if they can write stories, they can write a novel, too! And I wanted to talk about the 117 vignettes of Mrs. Bridge as “linked stories.” Kelsey Englert weighs in.


This is a blog post for Cathy Day’s Linked Fiction course at Ball State University.

You can follow along with the course at: https://iamlinking.wordpress.com/

In the third week of the semester, we analyzed how through lines in novels can be extrapolated and merged into short stories.

What We Read for Class

Fiction: Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell

Essay: “Novels into Stories, Stories into Novels” from Cathy Day’s blog, The Big Thing

To prepare for this class, while reading Mrs. Bridge, we were to generate a list of subplots, layers, characters, or through lines. This fueled our discussion of the techniques Connell used to link his novel together.

Learning Activity

We presented the lists we generated, and then discussed the following questions:

Which characters foil other characters?

What are the book’s subplots?

What if the stories had been told from different points of view?  Or if each story…

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