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SubZero61992
May 30th, 2005, 12:47 PM
I know the basic part of this question has been answered many times, but I don't like how my story is turning out.
I have been gone for about a week, so few of you may or may not remember my first person horror story. The story has advanced a long ways in the length of five chapters, which I dont like consideirng each chapter is 1-4 pages long.
First question is how long is a short story?
My second question is, what should I do to make the story longer? Perhaps span the area of which the events take place? I thought about converting the story into 3rd person so I could put in more description, but that would mean a lot more editing.

I've noticed in my process of making it longer I am putting in unneeded or overused details.

Any ideas?

SubZero61992
May 30th, 2005, 12:49 PM
Either way, I am stuck with a lot of editing, I know that. And I am strongly thinking about rewriting it from the beginning in 3rd person but I want to see what you people think first.

The name in the communities are Bio-Hazard Chapter 1, 2, 3, & 4

Jacquin
May 30th, 2005, 12:55 PM
Five chapters each of which is between one and four pages long? That doesn't really tell us much. How many words are you talking?

J

Dawnstorm
May 30th, 2005, 01:24 PM
First question is how long is a short story?

Does it matter? Write your story with as many or few words as it takes.


My second question is, what should to do to make the story longer? My second question is, what should to do to make the story longer? Perhaps span the area of which the events take place? I thought about converting the story into 3rd person so I could put in more description, but that would mean a lot more editing.

That sounds like you feel your story has too few words and you want to bump it up. Like a school assignment.

But, unless you're specifically writing for a magazine slot, for short stories it doesn't matter how long they are. If they don't meet the minimum word count for a "proper" short story, so what? If they're longer and make the novellette definition, so what? It's the story that determines the length, not the length that determines the story.

You should never span the area, just because you feel there are too few words on the page. You should "span the area", if you think the story's getting more interesting for it.


I've noticed in my process of making it longer I am putting in unneeded or overused details.

See?

***

I may look at what you've got so far later this week. I'm a bit busy now.

TheEarCollector
May 30th, 2005, 01:48 PM
A short story is just that, a short story.

You are writing a story, and when all is said and done and you feel your story is complete, it just happens to be fairly short.
Don't try to tailor your story to be a certain length because it either won't have enough, or it will have too much. Don't try to stretch it out for the sake of stretching it out because chances are that if you are forcing it, we are feeling it, and we aren't going to like it.

Just write the story and post it, whatever happens happens, whatever length it turns out to be is the length that it turns out to be. 'Nuff said.

JRMurdock
May 30th, 2005, 03:49 PM
Don't worry about the story length, worry about the story and the telling of it.

When you're done, THEN figure out if it's a short story, novellete, novella, flash fiction, novel, epic, etc. Don't let the length you desire ruin the story.

I had an idea for a story (my last one I finished) and it was going to be roughly 3-4K works. When I was done, I have a 10K story. it's no longer short, but it's not too long. It came in just right. So far my test readers say it's my best work to date. I feel it's because I didn't try to force it into a mold, I just let it come out and refused to constrain the length (as I have before).

Just let the story out. Worry about length after you're done.

Expendable
May 31st, 2005, 12:35 AM
Actually I think you asked this before.

Flash Fiction are stories under 1000 words (many are under 500).

For the Nebula Awards, the SFWA (http://www.sfwa.org/) says:

A short story as being under 7,500 words.
A Novelette is between 7,500 to 17,499 words.
A Novella is between 17,500 to 39,999 words.
A Novel is 40,000 words and up.

Other people will tell you a short story is anything under 10,000 to 15,000 words.

But Maus99's right. Just worry about putting out your rough draft. Get the story out. Worry about the length later.

MrBF1V3
May 31st, 2005, 02:09 AM
If you want to make your story longer, don't add more description, unless you really need it, you have to add more story. Pick up a few new threads, throw in a character. (And save your original, just in case it doesn't work out.)

Most good work is not written, it's rewritten.

B5

Wow-I've written novelettes and didn't even know it. :)

JamesL
May 31st, 2005, 05:27 AM
If you want to make your story longer, don't add more description, unless you really need it, you have to add more story. Pick up a few new threads, throw in a character. (And save your original, just in case it doesn't work out.)


This is absolutely right. Adding meaningless description or, worse, meaningless dialogue just for the sake of length is a bad idea, as it means the focus of your story starts to slide.

In a short horror story I wrote recently (which weighed in at 5616 words, incidentally) I actually found my first draft to be too long - about 7500 words in total. I wanted to cut some words, and ended up cutting a whole scene that didn't add much to the story, along with a large section of dialogue with a character who I ended up wiping out of the story completely as, again, I felt she added little to the story.

Although I did the opposite of what we are discussing here, it works the same way. I made my story shorter by deleting some largely pointless content. Stories should not be made longer by including the same worthless content (pointless description or dialogue) but by material that progresses and adds to the story - new characters, events, description or dialogue. But they have to serve a purpose; they need to have some value to the story and give it more depth, or they shouldn't be there, whether you need more words or not. ;)

Jacquin
May 31st, 2005, 05:49 AM
The only thing I'd ask is why are you writing it? If it is for publication then where? What do they consider a short story? If it just for you then write away and enjoy it.

J