Category Archives: rights

Ask Wendy: Can my (contest) published short story be turned into a novel?


Just got this question from Suzanne: 

Q: I was wondering if I were to enter a short story in a contest, and it is published and well received, can that story be used to turn into a novel ?

A:  For the most part, the answer is yes. You can’t copyright ideas (and turning a story into a novel would mean a complete rewrite). One thing to watch for is if an anthology buys “all rights” – in which case you would not own rights to your own piece anymore. You would still be able to write a novel about the idea, but in terms of using the exact same piece again (like if you ever did a collection of your own short stories), they would own the rights to that story.