View Full Version : Length issues
June 1st, 2007, 02:14 PM
I'm having a few length issues with my story.
I'm on chapter 6 and my problem is stretching out the scenes and stuff. I'm writing it but for some reason i like to keep it short and have done basically little to no words (i've done 6663 so far) and that for a fantasy story is nothing.
So any ideas or tips on how to stretch a story a bit.
June 1st, 2007, 02:39 PM
I think I used to have this same exact issue. Here is what I did to rectify it.
A good novel, in my opinion, is one in which every chapter reads like a well-written short story. Every chapter has a main point, beginning to end. So, with that in mind, try retracing your steps back to chapter one. Think about what the beginning is and then what the ending is. After that, fill in the blanks and write a 4000 word short story based on the events that are to occur in chapter one. However, if you are finding that your chapters are seperating main points which can be included in a short story form of the novel, then you can merge two of your existing chapters together.
In my 110,000 word novel I wrote about 23 chapters. That is roughly 4,738 words per chapter. This is about average for most authors. Some chapters can take longer or shorter than your chapter average but whatever you do; do not add nonesense just to, "Stretch Out," your chapters. Writing is about ebb and flow; rhyme and rythym. Your story must flow properly in order for people to read it and understand. If your readers can picture your writing from event to event without loosing the mental image, than you have accomplished the goal of being a writer.
However, there are few authors, even professional, that manage to do that. There is a lot to work on and a lot to learn. Thats the only reason why I spent ten years of my life writing before I even dared post a story on the web for others to enjoy with my name on it.
Writing takes patience and skill. Just remember to keep your characters alive. Your characters make the decision of what they do; not you. Though you are the author, your job is to take their story and write it skillfully and majestically in order to properly convey the fantastic journey that your characters carried out. In my opinion, that is how all authors should view their stories. We are merely the pen and paper to the story that lives in our imaginations.
June 1st, 2007, 09:20 PM
Some stories just don't fit in a novel-sized container. Although it's harder to market shorter works (unless you're aiming for the YA market or something), you need to recognize the limits of your story and not force it to be bigger than it's meant to be. Excessive verbosity is no virtue.
That being said, there's usually plenty of room for expansion if you know what you're doing. Think of additional scenes that would fit into the storyline, new opportunities for character development, more descriptive language, etc.
I'll tell ya, the first draft of my novel was a piddly 16K, but after a few years of revisions and additions, it now weighs in at a respectable 60K with only a single chapter I feel is a bit on the weak side. Ironically, I had an easier time expanding it, when I came in with only two new chapter ideas and a single new scene, than I did with the sequel, where I was adding a whole parallel storyline. We call that irony, folks. ^_^
Go over your story and ask yourself, "What is this missing?" In my case, my charas were fugitives, but they were never really chased by anyone. Once I tossed a pursuer into the mix, the story bulked up considerably and I've grown rather fond of the new addition to the family. ^_^ Give it a shot.
June 2nd, 2007, 12:47 AM
It's not unusual, makoa, the first time I tried to write a novel it came out to just about 80 pages, double spaced. But here are some ideas...
Read a novel, take apart what that author did and how it worked for you as a reader. Learn what works.
I agree with above, if the story isn't big enough, the only way to expand is to make the story bigger. Give the main characters more personal problems, give them more people to talk to, give them obstacles. Let them talk about things instead of having those things all in the narrative. If they have something to think about, let them think. Show us what the bad guys are doing at the same time. Make sure the reader knows who the characters are, and why, and make sure the settings are clear.
Most of the time my first drafts are pretty thin. As I edit I add detail and texture and shading. Usually after a few times over I can start to get something that more resembles story than outline. Keep trying.
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