1. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    how to stretch out a book?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Protar, May 15, 2011.

    So I'm attempting to write a novel. I've got the basics of the story mapped out and am fairly good at writing I feel (descriptions are my strong point.). But I want this story to be a full blown book. I'm planning for 20 chapters each roughly 10 pages long but there's the problem. While I can write just fine I seem to have some difficulty stretching things out. I can't seem to find enough stuff to write about to fill out the chapter. Does that make sense? Any advice on this?
     
  2. barnz
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    barnz Member

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    Multiple perspectives if you're writing in third person, it's a good way to round our your story with a plethora of views and differing, often clashing opinions!
     
  3. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    I was planning on having a dual perspective at the very least but I was planning to have a POV switch every chapter. Could I switch POV's mid chapter?
     
  4. barnz
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    barnz Member

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    Yep! Just scene break to show the reader what's going on. Don't necessarilly be confined to switching every chapter or halfway through, just switch as it feels right!
     
  5. Ramivacation
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    Ramivacation Member

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    Well, good prose means you're not stretching things out. In fact, it means the opposite. You want everything to be concise as possible. It's a bad idea to pick an arbitrary length for something and then try to meet that quota.

    If your story and characters need 200 pages, you'll be able to write it just fine. So if you feel like that's impossible, it's not your writing or style that's necessarily the problem. It's the story itself.
     
  6. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    I understand it's not good to have to strict an idea for length, and 20, 10 page chapters was just a guide line. But I do still want a full length novel. I guess I'll just have to work on putting in more events, and I think a switching POV will help.
     
  7. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    It's probably not so much about adding more events as it is about fleshing out the story you already have the idea for. This comes with experience, practice, and lots and lots of reading. As Ram said you probably don't want to start out with such strict guidelines. Just write it as it needs to be written.
     
  8. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I agree with the others. Write the story as it needs to be written. Don't try to pad things out with unecessary stuff. (Ironic of me to say this since my last book was a 185,000 word nightmare but true.) Stories have their own pace and rhythm, and just chucking bits in and taking them out simply because it doesn't meet your plan or an editors desired word count etc, is probably a mistake.

    Cheers.
     
  9. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    My advice would be to forget about the 20 10 page chapter guideline. The only thing you should outline is the story not the book structure. Start writing the scenes and you might be surprized at how they can take a life of thier own and something you thought would be expressed in 500 words actually ends up being 1500 words.
     
  10. Ramivacation
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    Ramivacation Member

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    What it boils down to, I think, is not being concerned about the length. At all. Nor should you add more to the story just for the sake of having more. The same way that you shouldn't add detail just so that there's more detail. Detail is not intrinsically good and neither is length.

    Switching PoV is fine, but don't do it for the sake of length. Do it for the sake of having a better story because of it.

    Also, what I do is make an outline. (Everyone does that, I know). Start with what gets the story going and then ignore the middle section and add the ending of the story to the outline. Fill out the middle starting vaguely. What are ALL big events that need to happen in order to reach that ending? Then, what's needed to get to and resolve each of those events. Keep honing it down smaller and smaller. If you do that and it still feels too short, don't be afraid to just make the thing a short story instead of a novel or something. Or you could change your ending or your beginning.
     
  11. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    Thanks for all the advice, I'll ditch the 20 chapters outline. That's still what I'd like to go for but if I over or under shoot that's fine. I was going to do POV switches anyway so I'm not just doing them to pad things out. Once my 2 week waiting period is over I should be able to post some of my work as well which I think will help as well.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Don't stretch it. Pack it with meat and substance.
     
  13. Velox
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    Velox Senior Member

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    You could try to go more in-depth with the characters' thoughts and feelings. Or just simply add more to the plot.

    I would not trying to stretch out what you already have, though, like Cogito said. That can easily make it too boring for the reader, as they might be able to tell that you drew it out so much.
     
  14. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Some story ideas are not novel-length. Some are short story or novella length ideas. Adding information, switching POVs, stretching things out, including more description, etc. that happen to lengthen the piece but do little else will weaking the overall quality.
     
  15. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    Although in the past the concept of the character arc has been discounted here.
    The arc has become a huge part of the published fiction landscape in the last three decades.

    No characters resonate more than those who in the course of a story transcend/ battle/ acknowledge even deny their own flaws, weaknesses, insecurties.

    If you agree that the archtype cardboard characters are not a fit for your story, there is a possibilty you can add not only volume but an engaging element if you acknowledge the arc exists.

    Even if your character remains steadfast you still employ the arc concept as they grow in their resolve. In that case, they grow stronger and stronger in their beliefs in order to hold out against increasingly powerful change.


    As a reader of only mainstream, I dimiss any thing I read without an arc as boring 'fill"
     

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