1. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    How to finish a first draft...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by sprirj, Jun 5, 2011.

    So, I've had an idea, I've outlined, I've got key plot points, I've written as much as I can...and now I'm stuck.
    I'm about two 3rds in to my first draft and I know what should happen next, but I now feel like I'm writing it to stretch it to make it a publishable word count.
    All I want to do is wrap it up and begin my conclusion/ending. But can a book that is one 3rd shorter on its word count be publishable?

    Heeeeeeeeeeelllllpppp!!!!!
     
  2. Lord Malum
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    Lord Malum Senior Member

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    Er-hem... Just write! If you're word count is "low", so what? If the story is finished, then the story is finished. Do not add filler to meet a word count. This goes double for a first draft. It certianly will not be your last draft, so anything that crosses your mind in rewriting can be put in later. Again: write, write, write!
     
  3. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it feels like a filler then what you're writing is a filler. Rather stretch your mind to come up with something that feels significant, scenes that enhance and feel instrumental to your newly evolving plot. I don't believe that once a story is written it's done and shouldn't be added to. If you wrote it, you can change it. You can turn it into an 80k novel. You just need a little imagination.

    Any length of story is publishable. A story has the greatest chance of being published as a novel if it falls between 80k-100k for most genres (YA not included). And yes the length of a novel is something to consider, and should not be overrun by the "don't add to a story that's said everything it has to say" argument. What a story has to say is what you had to say. Now try to think of more to say.
     
  4. MJLowson
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    MJLowson Member

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    How many words is it currently now?
     
  5. Ashrynn
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    Ashrynn Active Member

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    Write.

    Like don't type it, write it. You won't know how many words you've done.

    Then as you transfer over your first draft the computer you'll add more and see where your word count it.
     
  6. Rascal
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    Rascal Member

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    I'm not sure I can add anything to what has already been said. Just write and continue on with the story.

    Though I would like to offer just a small suggestion. While I enjoy creative writing, I am not published (and probably never will be). Whenever I sit down to type, I am never worried about a word count, or what is publishable. I find that the material that I don't intend to show anyone usually comes out better then the material that I know someone will read. So I wouldn't worry so much about publishing. Just write what comes to you, and worry about a publisher later on.
     
  7. GraceCousins
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    GraceCousins Member

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    I have to add my agreement to what everyone else has said, and I also find I have this problem. When I sit down to write something with the idea that someday it will be published and read, I start censoring myself. I find I don’t write what I need to because I second guess whether readers will like it or what they will think of it. I’ve dismissed a lot of good passages of text from my writing this way, and as a result the story is not as long as it would have been or else not as complete as it should have been.
     
  8. Three
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    Three Member

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    It's already been said, but just keep writing the story the way you hear it, and finish it on your terms. Filler will read like filler. You might find out that it took more words to finish than you thought it would. You might get to the end and find that you need more development of a subplot, or you're got another loose end to tie up. Or you might get to the end, averything is the way you want it and you're short of your word count. I wouldn't worry about it. If your story is over, it's over. No use forcing it to stretch out just so that you can have a slightly heavier paperback. How long is animal farm? Stuart Little? Kim? Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the book that Bladerunner was based on? Even Dune began as a nouvella, later expanded upon.
     
  9. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    I found your problem.

    No offense, or anything, but I'm pretty sure you aren't to the stage of needing to worry about this sort of thing. It's kind of a catch-22, as you're ready to worry about publishable lengths when you're establish enough you don't have to worry about it (as you either have the experience to just make things work, or nobody cares what length your manuscripts are).

    My advice, pull that cart back and hitch the horse back up, because it seems you're counting chickens when you've learned to crack a few eggs making omelets (and there's no use hatching more chickens when you can't cook the eggs or have your cart so far ahead of the horse you're busy pushing the cart to market).
     
  10. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    Thanks! :)

    Sometimes you just need a bit of clarity. I should justwrite and add character development etc come 2nd draft. Maybe I was just putting of starting the end because I have grown attached? haha

    I do write with pen & paper, so the word count is totally estimated, going by words per page times number of pages.

    It currently stands at 50k, I think the end will bring it in at 65-70k.
     
  11. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    If you think it's finished, you should write the conclusion. If you think something needs to be added, you can go back later and add it. But worrying about the word count isn't good, because it usually means you add filler and things that aren't essential to the story.
     
  12. James Scarborough
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    James Scarborough Member

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    I pretty much agree with what others have said, don't add filler to reach some predetermined idea of proper length. Besides, 65,000 to 70,000 words is plenty long enough for most full-length novels.

    I will say that I have exactly the opposite problem. For a finished novel of 70,000 words, my first draft would need to be in the range of 100,000+ words to allow for rewrites and editing, but that's because of the way I write. My work process during the first draft is to write everything down and not worry too much about quality.
     

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