1. aesir22
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    aesir22 Member

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    Filling the gaps

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by aesir22, Feb 9, 2011.

    Hi all,

    I have the story in my head (I wrote a rubbish draft a few years back). I quite like it, I enjoyed reading it as well as writing it. It would need A LOT of work to make it even close to being suitable for sending off.

    One of the main problems I find is filling in the gaps between the exciting events. I tried to have a few major events, with smaller ones in between those to keep things going, but what about between those? Most of the daft I wrote had lots of little disjoined events in it that could easily have been cut out and knocked the word count down from 140000 to 100000 or less! How does one keep the story going when its not all excitement and adventure? (Its a fantasy novel).

    I am just looking for some tips. I thought character development, letting the reader get to know them, but can this really continue throughout the whole book?!
     
  2. Leonardo Pisano
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    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

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    Think in scenes

    I am a newbie as much as you are, so not sure if this helps.

    My thriller is in fact organized as scenes in a movie. I have chapters titled as place and date (say: "London Stansted, 23 March 2001") and separate sub-scenes on the same day by a scene separator (e.g., three asterisks ***).

    Just my two cents. HTH
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    100,000 words is about right for a first novel maybe a little long.

    My advice finish a draft, include everything, throw everything at it, then cut it out later.
     
  4. Heather Munn
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    Heather Munn Member

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    Maybe it would help if you didn't think of the gaps as gaps. Presumably your major events are interrelated in some ways, and the characters have something to do with that. The best stuff to put in between major events is a series of smaller events that are interconnected with each other and with the plot--that actually serve to lead up to and precipitate the larger events. Characters working in small or medium-sized ways to make the major events happen, or prevent them. Thus character development is actually combined with plot. That way it has some substance, is not just filler. (Since you're doing fantasy, it's good to combine world-building into this mix as well. Every scene should do at least three things. You know: reveal that the mage doesn't trust the prince, get the jester the magic cloak, and inform the reader that like all magic items in your world it is powered by the energies of the earth and recharges by being close to a volcano...)

    That's what I'd aim for, and if anything I had in there genuinely felt like nothing but filler, I'd cut it, and do a time-jump rather than spend ink on the page killing time.
     
  5. aesir22
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    aesir22 Member

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    Thanks everyone :)

    100,000 words too long? Gulp! It was the first of 2 books that was 140,000 words long, and that was still missing a siezeable chunk of stuff - it'd probably be closer to 170,000 on completion, and that'd only be the first book! Do I really need to get the second book in there as well and have a much lower word count? I was hoping to get to about 200,000-220,000 total for the entire work.

    I have decided to rename a lot of my characters. Their names didn't really fit, which I didn't realise back then.
     
  6. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    How about if you chopped it up into more books?
     
  7. aesir22
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    aesir22 Member

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    You mean like make it a trilogy? I thought fantasy novels were normally a little longer than other novels, so thought 100,000 to 150,000 words per book was about normal lol. Oh well I am probably incorrect! Trilogy sounds intriguing though. There are three major events, one almost major event and more smaller ones. I could end each book at one of the major events. Maybe geat it down to about 70-80,000 words per book?

    I read on another thread that publishing will be difficult with a trilogy as I have never been published before. Does this mean I will have to write a stand alone novel first then go for the trilogy?
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    fantasy is around 120,000 words - Angry Robot is asking for around 100,000 I think.
     
  9. aesir22
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    aesir22 Member

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    Lol I wonder where Robert Jordans Wheel of Time series comes in there. 13 books now I think, each easily topping 120,000. Sigh...I can only dream of creating a world as amazing and enthralling as he did before he sadly passed away.
     
  10. Heather Munn
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    Heather Munn Member

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    Generally a novel needs to be a little shorter to be accepted for publication from an as-yet-unpublished writer.

    But yes, it sounds like with fantasy you have more leeway. I didn't have quite so much luck. I started at 140,000, it got accepted for publication and they made me cut it down to 100,000. And then they wanted it to be a YA b/c the MC was a teen... that didn't require all that many changes EXCEPT cutting it down to 85,000...

    If you want any tips on cutting word count I'll be happy to share. I've tried them ALL...
     

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