Difference #3: Plot
Short stories can get away with a slice of life that resolves quickly. They usually focus on one aspect of a character’s life.
In a novel, the difference lies in the size of the problem and, usually, in the number of characters. The issues are generally deeper and can expand in more than one direction.
Novel readers get hooked on a plot that keeps them awake until the small hours. It’s a good idea to introduce the story early on with a sense of plot that grows organically out of character. It’s a kind of blueprint for constructing a gripping sequence of events. Think of it as the glue that holds the story together. It should be flexible enough not to constrain and structured enough to make it a page-turning tale. A character wants something (even if he/she won’t admit it), followed by a series of linked events that get in the way. Event A must cause Event B and so on all the way to Event Z at the end. There should be rising action as the stakes get higher. However, the line doesn’t have to be straight. It can grow in zig-zag fashion. After a particular intense action, you could have a quieter event.
All plots should have a beginning and an ending. In the beginning your character has a goal. In the middle, the character tries to reach that goal. In the end, there must be a sense of resolution, of life changing or returning to some sort of normality.
I’ll cover sub-plots later.
Remember: Create a drama, not a melodrama!