1. [audra|june]
    Offline

    [audra|june] Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Illinois

    Book length

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by [audra|june], Jun 30, 2010.

    So I've been writing a book since I was about 13 & now I'm 17 now so I've been working on it for a while. I finally think I'm getting near the end but the problem is it's only about twenty to thirty pages long.
    Are there any general ways to make a book longer? I guess I could consider this my outline and add more when it's all the way finished but I really don't know how...If you get what I mean...
     
  2. izanobu
    Offline

    izanobu Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    0
    That's a short story, not a book. If that's the length the story wants to be, then you're good :)

    Some stories just don't have novel length proportions. How many characters do you have? How many subplots? How big/important are the main events and how many are there? What's the conflict? Without more information about the story it is hard to know if you can expand it to the 300-400 pages (roughly 80-110k words) that you need. (I'm guessing you have about 5-6 thousand words now?)
     
  3. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    No matter how you slice it, 20-30 pages is not book length. But te first thing you must do is stop thinking in terms of pages and start thinking in terms of word counts. You need approximately 80,000 to 120,000 words for a novel by an unknown novelist, in most genres.

    So you clearly have a story the needs a lot more meat.

    If you don't know the difference between storyline and plot, first read What is Plot Creation and Development?.

    The principal way to build more story is to add more plots. Many of these will take the form of additional obstacles for your characters to overcome. Others may be internal conflicts for your characters, which can help grow your characters and make them more rounded.

    To a small degree, you can fill out a story with more description. In general, this is not wise, unless your level of description is already too thin. But description, beyond a certain point, is merely padding, and won't fool anyone into thinking they are getting more story.

    There is always the possibility that the story itself is just not suited for a full novel. In that case, you may be better off makiing it smaller and more concise, and targeting the short story markets instead.
     
  4. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,352
    Likes Received:
    2,896
    Location:
    Boston
    I agree with the others. Don't force it. It's very hard to make something that small into a novel. Most likely you (and your readers) will not be happy with the outcome.

    Focus instead on short story markets. There are plenty of them out there for every genre. There's nothing wrong with starting small and working your way up.
     
  5. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    Making something that small into a novel seems like a pretty tall goal. Might be better to let it stay as a short story.

    I myself can't seem to get a novel past 80K for some reason. (Darn minimum length requirements. The rebel in me would love to create some theory on how all of that kills creative writing. :p ) But yeah, if that is your story, you would have a lot of work to do to make it bigger. Might just wanna settle for it being a short story.
     
  6. DanielCross
    Offline

    DanielCross Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2010
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    0
    Most novels go beyond the 100000 word count, and then there are the door stoppers like that go beyond 250000 words. Most of these "epics", the Wheel of Time comes to mind, abuse padding to stretch out the length. You need to think out a plot that can last you for awhile.
     
  7. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    However, most publisgers won't accept a manuscript much beyond 120K from an unknown writer.

    The rules change once you are an established author.
     
  8. marina
    Offline

    marina Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,280
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Seattle
    Others have already answered your questions, I think. But I just wanted to add that word count for Young Adult books (assuming that's the genre you're aiming for) is usually 60,000-80,000, and length may go from 150 to 350-400 pages (on average).
     
  9. [audra|june]
    Offline

    [audra|june] Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Illinois
    I think i shall create more subplots because now that I read it again it really only has one thing going on & I hate when books do that. Plus, I really feel this story is supposed to be longer & I hadn't thought of subplots. Thanks for the advice I really needed it.
     
  10. [audra|june]
    Offline

    [audra|june] Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Illinois
    yeah...I dont read young adult books so I'm making this an adult book because I really have little experience with young adult books.
     
  11. thewordsmith
    Offline

    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    As izzy already alluded to, if you have a complete story in those thirty pages - a solid beginning, middle, and end, then your story is done and it's a short story. If you feel there is more of a story to tell and what you have written so far just does not do your tale justice, then you probably do have some more writing to do. If, on the other hand, you just want to pad what you've written to fatten up the word count but without really adding to the story, itself, then resist the urge. Finish the story you have written and, if you really feel the need to write a bigger, grander story, then you can lean on this first effort as a learning experience and a proving ground for your writing skills and put that learning into your next effort.
     
  12. CaKsTeR
    Offline

    CaKsTeR Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Richmond, British Columbia
    One thing I've learned from writing novels is that padding your plot is a really bad idea. In the first novel I wrote about a year ago, half of the story was completely useless plot extensions that made the story drag on, when in reality it could have been summed up in sixty pages, give or take.

    I agree that some plots just aren't meant to be full-fledged novels. If your story isn't naturally long enough, don't try to make it longer, for everyone's sake :p
     
  13. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    And depending how established you are, the rules might become barely existent to the point where you can get just about anything you do published and have it sell well too. ;)
     
  14. Elvis
    Offline

    Elvis Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    How are you counting those 20-30 pages?

    Standard manuscript format (as far as I know, and I'm no expert) is 12-pt. Courier, double-spaced with 1-inch margins all around.

    So if you have 30 pages in single-spaced Times New Roman, you might actually have something upwards of 60 pages in the proper format.
     
  15. Banzai
    Offline

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    12,871
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    Which is still too short for a novel.
     
  16. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    Interesting to note for me since my novels tend to hover around the lower end of the required length. Somebody did tell me something else about another way publishers count word count, but I forget exactly what.

    But I do agree, even at 60 pages, it's not a novel length work at all.
     
  17. Mallory
    Offline

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Messages:
    4,274
    Likes Received:
    191
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    It sounds like it's more of a novelette. There have been great published novelletes, like "Anthem" and "The Metamorphosis."

    If you need/want subplot help, you can feel free to PM me for input. But like everyone else said, only do subplots if they are exciting and add to the story.
     
  18. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    sounds to me like you need to read a lot more adult novels, to get some idea of how to write one...
     
  19. [audra|june]
    Offline

    [audra|june] Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Illinois
    I pretty much read a book a day. I think I'm good with that.

    I'll most likely take you up on that. I think I'm going to finish what I have right now & then go back and add some subplots because it really has none.
     

Share This Page