1. MarchOfMephisto
    Offline

    MarchOfMephisto Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    England :)

    Expanding on plot line?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by MarchOfMephisto, May 22, 2011.

    Hey everyone,

    I somehow need to expand a 40k word book into 80k words. The thing is, I've written everything I can think of, expanded everything I could expand that I can think of.

    Does anyone have any tips on how I could expand?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. AltonReed
    Offline

    AltonReed Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Greater London
    Add more characters? A side quest? But if there really isn't much else to do, then there really isnt anything you can do.
     
  3. Steerpike
    Offline

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,095
    Likes Received:
    5,306
    Location:
    California, US
    Agree with Alton - if the story is done, then it is done. If you simply double the length like you are proposing here, it will probably be a mess with a bunch of unnecessary material in it.
     
  4. dizzyspell
    Offline

    dizzyspell Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2010
    Messages:
    421
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    You could put more troubles for your MC to overcome. Is there anywhere when something can go wrong? Make it go wrong. But, of course, be wary of deviating too much from the actual storyline.
    Chucking in a subplot might do it, too, but it would have to tie in seamlessly with your main plot or it will seem contrived.

    Really, though, I agree with the others. You can't expand on a plot that's run its course.
     
  5. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    If you've done everything you can do maybe it's just not an 80k novel? Maybe it's a novella.
     
  6. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Maybe you're better off condensing it to an 8K short story. If you've been padding it until it's ready to pop, you're probably better off letting out some of the air. instead of trying to make it bigger.
     
  7. Melzaar the Almighty
    Offline

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    UK
    Take a step back and consider the premise. What else could come of it? What's the wider story to the world? Often doing some more world building and stuff after finishing a novel will help you see more things to add - or even things you need to change.

    Aside from that, I don't know how you write, but it's unlikely to be purple prose full of flourishes if you've milked every idea you have so far and only hit 40k. I find just reading through scenes and adding more, usually things like sensory description or making sure details about where stuff is in relation to other things can add a lot of words over all. There's some good resource threads around this forum for expanding and improving prose style... Obviously I can't know you're not an awesome writer since I haven't seen your work, but I'm pretty good myself, and I still often neglect to describe in as much detail as I'd like in a first run through in linking scenes and moments I deemed not as important, but actually should be treated properly because only in my head are they not hugely important. Etc. :p

    Oh, and I forgot to mention - linking scenes are really good too. One of my friends never writes very long things because she gets everything she needs in in key scenes, which highlight one specific tense moment or whatever, so character development comes in bursts, jumping to key moments when it reaches a crux. With my novels I take a slower pace and have lots of eating dinner scenes, scenes where people gossip and chat (yes, even in high fantasy) and generally blow off steam. I did a word count break down, and found that the messing around with snow days and a date and stuff mixed in to lighten a pretty plot-heavy catch up point between two adventures, was longer than either of the two adventures individually on either side. :p

    It's not padding if it's all emotional development, or stopping your reader going crazy. No one wants to read a page of plot laid out in stuffy paragraphs when there can be the same ground covered between flirting and stuff in a light-hearted scene.
     
  8. The-Joker
    Offline

    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Africa
    Think about a new conflict that could permeate the entire novel. Add scenes around it. Maybe on or two more characters have to be introduced now. Don't compromise on the tension. Ensure the conflict can be seamlessly integrated into what you already have. You'll have to go through every chapter to do this as you add new chapters.

    I don't particularly agree with some of the other posters who suggest that once a story is written with a particular word count, any more will just be padding.

    The story is yours. It came from your imagination and your imagination has the power to morph it into something twice the length. The only boundaries your plot has are the ones you gave it. You can take them away.

    But I do agree that it's a very difficult task. It'll will be all too easy for you to add extraneous information to bulk up the book, and this should be avoided. The task you have ahead of you I fear is more difficult than writing a book from scratch, but it certainly can be done, regardless of how 'complete' your current manuscript is. It just requires thinking.
     
  9. Ellipse
    Offline

    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    32
    Add in more character development? More world fluff?
     
  10. Cerrus
    Offline

    Cerrus Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Right Behind You
    Are you planning on making a sequel for the book? If so you can just write the sequel but add it in the first book so you make it longer.
     
  11. R-e-n-n-a-t
    Offline

    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    2
    Add a betrayal from a likeable character who's important to the mc. Suddenly the book doubles in length.
     
  12. psychotick
    Offline

    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,375
    Likes Received:
    315
    Location:
    Rotorua, New Zealand
    Hi,

    Don't. A story should be as long as it needs to be to be the best it can be. Padding it out isn't going to make it a novel, just less interesting to your readers.

    Once its done and you're happy leave it. Later you might publish it as a novella or in a book of other shorter works.

    Cheers.
     
  13. cruciFICTION
    Offline

    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,236
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    I'm kinda worried about why you say you need to expand it to twice its length. Trouble with the IRS? The Mafia? If it has a plot, then it's fiction, and I highly doubt it's a book yet. It's a novel, not a book.

    Why could you possibly need to do any such thing? As far as I can think, I don't know why it's so necessary. Therefore, I vote with the majority; leave it alone, as it is. Leave it for a bit, then come back and edit.
     
  14. JimFlagg
    Offline

    JimFlagg Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Messages:
    375
    Likes Received:
    6
    The difference between a short story and a novel is novels are full of sub-plots. You may want to add some subplots. I think the best example of this would be Moby-Dick.

    I agree with Cogito. Maybe you should just make it a short story. Trying to add to a complete story just to make it longer hardly ever works.

    Just my opinion but it is your story and your choice.
     
  15. _Lulu_
    Offline

    _Lulu_ Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2011
    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    UK
    Why do you feel the need to double the word count? It's about quality at the end of the day not quantity. :)
     
  16. Cerrus
    Offline

    Cerrus Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Right Behind You
    Yes, but would you rather read 2 pages that were amazingly written or 200 pages that were amazingly written?
     
  17. _Lulu_
    Offline

    _Lulu_ Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2011
    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    UK
    So if it's amazingly written at 40k why is there a need to double it?

    I've read books that vary by quite a lot in word counts/pages. I don't take that into consideration, the most important part to me is how it's written and if it keeps me turning the page to find out what will happen next. I've never finished a book and thought to myself, oh I wish it were longer as it was amazingly written.
     
  18. Cerrus
    Offline

    Cerrus Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Right Behind You
    Well if the plot is finished and there is nothing more to add to it then that's fine with me.
     
  19. cruciFICTION
    Offline

    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,236
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Well, my limbic system, living in the moment, says that the two pages will be more rewarding in a short period of time. My prefrontal cortex, understanding the benefit of long-term work, says that the two hundred page piece will give me a more satisfied feeling.

    Can I read both, please?

    It's not really that simple, though. If you've got 40k words and it's basically "complete", amending it to twice its length is going to get you to the point where your mind will allow you to churn out any crap just for word count.
     

Share This Page