If you have an idea for a work of fiction that can be narrated in 50,000 words or more, then you are noodling around with an idea for a novel. Your story and characters may be completely of your own invention. Or perhaps your story is based on events that actually happened to real people. But as a novelist you have to be prepared to take “the fiction leap” and transform those real events and people into a compelling story. The story in every good novel has a shape and meaning often lacking in the characteristically chaotic unfolding of real events.