1. Patrick94
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    Patrick94 Active Member

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    How to thicken a story

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Patrick94, May 11, 2011.

    Just wondering about this. How would I go about making a story longer, without either adding too much to the plot or making it boring?
     
  2. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    First question: are you asking whether to make a plot thicker (as your title suggests) or are you trying to make your novel longer (as your actual post suggests)? They've very different things.

    • To make your plot thicker, add in new, interesting sub-plots and characters. Present your characters with external problems that might get in the way of, or add to, the main plot line. I'm sure someone else could give you better information.

    • To make it longer... well, the next question would be why are you trying to make it longer? The only reason I see to try to lengthen a story is if the length of the piece has been set by a publisher -- personally, I've the opposite problem: I go over the maximum -- and you've failed to meet it. If the story has come in shorter than you expected but you've covered everything you want/need to and you're writing purely as a hobby then let it be. A story ends when it ends.
     
  3. JMTweedie
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    JMTweedie Senior Member

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    That's difficult to answer without knowing what's missing.

    Are you adding enough sensual and emotional description?

    What do your characters see, touch, smell, hear or taste.
     
  4. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    Description of the world, (action and or love) scenes and increase the dialog between characters. I usually have the problem of how to thin a story without messing the plot up. Funny enough, I end up removing the things I just said to add. :)
     
  5. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    I dunno, do you have to make it longer? Ever heard of "short n sweet"? You can make a story interesting and still have it be short.

    You can make a story longer by adding sideplots. Those are fun. Have your MC get distracted so that he veers off the path a bit, then gets right back on when need be. Or maybe, as JMTweedie mentioned earlier, you can add more description based on the senses. That could definitely help double a book's length.

    Or you could dwell on things. Sometimes dwelling isn't always a bad thing. You can have your MC dwell on something like, I don't know, the death of his mother or something major like that. I'm not saying have him lament about it for a dozen pages, but maybe there will be triggers that will remind him of his mother's death.

    However, the issue usually has to be serious, unless you're writing under the genre of comedy. If he starts whining about how his girlfriend of two months left him, you'll shift from pathos to bathos and bathos is rarely a good thing unless it's satire or something that isn't meant to be taken seriously.
     
  6. Brandon P.
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    Brandon P. Senior Member

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    This thread is funny because I had the exact same question last night. My stories suffer from rapid pacing because I'm afraid that if I add more detail, I might come across as infodumping.
     
  7. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    A story sometimes only tells itself in a short space of time... I've got a problem with the first in my series in that there actually isn't that much plot since it's mostly about exploration of the world, and therefore there's only so long I can keep stringing the reader along with description, plot dead-ends and snarky conversations. I had to go away and write 3 more novels in the series and develop the overall plot arc that will guide the whole 8 book (so far) series, before I could come back and edit. The same events will happen but I both have a better understanding of the characters so I'll be writing more about them to get in backstory and as many innocent comments as possible before the reader will realise they're foreshadowing for later things once they've read such later things. And I get to add new scenes, and expand ones that were previously only brief encounters, because I need to get in the information needed to make this a proper jumping off point for the series.

    However, that is only how I'm expanding a series book. For a regular novel, if I felt it was lacking something, well... I'm not sure I've ever had that problem. :p Concrete Faery was always a little plot-thin because I was only writing it to discover the setting from the POV of what I considered a secondary character who I'd picked at random out of a choice of 3 who weren't the mainest main character that the first 3 books would build towards the story of. Aside from the fact that stuff actually ended up happening in it that set the way for later novels, which I didn't expect, it might as well have been one long writing exercise when I started it. I certainly wasn't expecting it to be the start of a big dramatic series of novels :p

    If I'm going to write a novel I start out from the beginning padding and making sure there are subplots and plenty of obstacles. The only reason I could think a story might not be thick enough is if you were lacking obstacles -which usually equals subplots in any case. Look at the story and see where it is a nice easy stroll. For example in my treasure hunt novel, I split the 1 mcguffin object into 4 so there would be 4 quests to go on instead of one long one, since I suck at on the road stories and keeping them fresh and interesting and always having good obstacles. Once I had that I thought of 4 obstacles that might stop the characters getting the treasure - the first 2 times they were even too late to it so they had to overcome another obstacle halfway through in stealing the first two back. All in all it meant there was plenty to write, with the pauses for research, romantic subplots, and sitting around feeling stuck and at a dead end that were required for character development. Just take your novel apart and look at the sections in terms of how much action and how many obstacles, and if it looks like an easy ride, introduce some more problems.
     
  8. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    If it's important to your story, it's not infodumping.

    I've found in my own writing that I sometimes pick up the pace too much if I'm getting too impatient to get to the climactic scene. I actually don't do this much anymore, but when I did, I worked it out in rewriting.
     
  9. DMF
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    DMF Member

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    my story was only 40k words. I think I didnt have enough details.
     
  10. nalysale
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    nalysale New Member

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    Its funny but the matter of story depend on subject.Subject inspired to writings.A familiar subject having good knowledge provides a vast area to work.
     
  11. katica
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    katica Senior Member

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    Make it harder and harder for the main character to accomplish whatever main goal they have in the story. Just keep adding things that make it harder. Make him defeat each hurtle towards getting to his goal and in doing so making the problem worse.

    Don't complain that this example sucks, it's just an illustration . . . .

    Like, he's after some treasure. He gets passed several booby traps and hurts himself in the process in order to get to the treasure. When he gets passed them, he finds the treasure is gone. Now he must search for it again in a weakened state. He goes to the new location of the treasure only to be captured by some natives. While they are threatening to sacrifice them to their gods, he sees that they have the treasure and its hidden in a giant pile behind their king. He escapes and grabs some of the treasure, but immediately has to drop it because its cursed and makes him ill. He has to find a cure for his illness in the jungle and a cure for the treasure in the jungle. The cure is a venom that can only be gotten by fighting a vicious spider. While he's fighting this spider he loses an eye (weakening him again.) He returns to the natives only to find out that they've been wiped out by an invincible dragon whose armor can only be penetrated using a sword found deep inside several caves. He goes into these caves to find the sword guarded by several dwarves whom he must do errands for in order to win them over to his side and in the process he loses the venom he got to cure the treasure with.

    Just keep dangling the goal just out of the main character's reach and make it harder and harder for him to get to it in the process.
     

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