1. jim79
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    jim79 Member

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    I've finished but...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jim79, Jan 19, 2015.

    I've only written 60k! Is this something that's happened to other people if so what do you do?

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  2. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't advocate padding it out as this will be obvious and quite tedious to read. But I often find that my plotting occurs too fast with unbelievable jumps in a character arc that might need some smoothing over. Or that there are sub-plots that are left hanging without a convincing resolution.

    I would go back and edit it and in so doing try to identify if it all hangs together or is rather emaciated in areas.

    However, if it works as 60k words then I guess that is its length.
     
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  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    In what genre are you writing? What is your intended market? It's possibly that 60K is a reasonable length.

    If you have reason to believe 60K is too short, you can read it over and make sure you've given all the necessary detail throughout - some people write short first drafts and add later, others write long first drafts and take away in editing.

    If you've written all you should for the story you're telling and it's still too short for your intended market, you might want to add a subplot or some other element to the story.

    Might be a good time to get a beta reader.
     
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  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm with Baywriter - If you're worried about it you could have a beta reader check it out. It could have some pace issues. Or it could be at it's proper length.

    I don't know if padding works for everyone. Right now I'm fleshing out a short story into a novella and it's working out fine. The good thing is I'm able to introduce characters I only mentioned in passing and flesh out characters that weren't given a lot of time in the first draft.
     
  5. jim79
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    jim79 Member

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    Thanks for the advice, it's an action thriller and there's quite a parts that could do with expanding on  :)

    Bit of a daft question but what's a beta reader?
     
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  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    A Beta reader is a person who reads your finished piece for critique. It's a different step in the process from critiques as you go.
     
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  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    It's a term that gets thrown around a lot here, on the forum, doesn't it?

    A Beta Reader—at least how I define it—is a person who reads a finished draft of your piece and gives you feedback on it.

    Many beta readers are people you might know. Friends, family, etc. People who know you've been 'writing' and ask to read your stuff. They don't have to be writers themselves, although it's great if you can get experienced writers, or people who also write, to give you their perspective. But basically, you want to hear what these readers think. And you want them to be totally honest.

    If there is anything you're not sure about yourself, ask them to keep an eye out for these issues. Ask them to point out anything that confuses or bores them. Ask them to be as specific as they can be about what they think works or doesn't work. Then pay very close attention to what they say.

    And get as many betas as you can! The wider the input, the more valuable it will be. Keep in mind, you will also want betas to read 'improved' drafts you've worked on after the initial feedback, so do keep a few people in reserve. It's more helpful to get fresh eyes, rather than somebody who has already read your first draft, to get a shot at your second, etc.

    My feeling is the more betas the better. You'll get a sense of who your target audience actually is. And believe me, this can be surprising! Sometimes the people you think will hate it actually love your story. Some will belt through it in a day or two, and be all excited and want to talk about your characters and what happened in the story. (GREAT reaction, by the way ...these people are your target audience!) And sometimes the people you think will love it actually never get past the first couple of pages. And some will make encouraging noises because they don't want to hurt your feelings. I'd say most betas probably come across as more positive than maybe they feel, so do make allowances for the fact that they are probably trying to be nice. Pay more attention to what they don't like, than what they do!

    Make sure you let these readers know there will be NO HARD FEELINGS if they don't enjoy your story, or don't manage to finish it. None whatsoever. Everybody likes different things. Even your nearest and dearest might not like your stuff, so don't take their negative reaction personally. And when your betas say things you don't agree with, do try to take their point of view on board anyway. It doesn't mean you need to do what they want, but be aware that your story can have that sort of impact. You might want to consider ways to address their concerns.

    I've lost count of the beta readers I've had for my novel, which has taken a long time to get to the near-finished state it is now. But without their help, I'd still be a floundering wreck.

    One final note: along with what @GingerCoffee said, about giving a beta your finished story rather than a work in progress, I'd also add that you should make the draft the best you can before you give it out. Do your own edit. Get rid of mistakes as you see them. Give them something YOU think is finished. Then be prepared to rework large chunks of it. But don't give betas something that's just slapped together. Do a polish on your own first.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2015
  8. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Definitely go over and see if there's areas that are thin that can be added to - but added to organically. Padding it out just to get out a certain word count isn't advisable and it really doesn't add anything to the story.
     
  9. jim79
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    jim79 Member

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    Cheers for the help!
     
  10. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Finished as in finished the first draft or finished the novel with rewrites and edits and all? The first draft of my second novel was 62K but after it came back from the beta readers and I'd fixed the things the pointed out plus the problems I spotted myself, it was 75K. I tend to write lean first drafts and ALWAYS have to add a lot afterwards. I don't see a problem with a novel being 60K though. It'll be a shorter book, but it's still a novel. :)
     
  11. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    When you set out to write a story you should never decide how long it will be. You may guess at a certain length, but ultimately it should be the story itself that decides how long it will be. As others have suggested you can look for things to improve or see if there is something you can add that will give the story more meaning or a new dimension, but don't ever force the story to a certain word count. Forcing it will do more harm than good.
     
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  12. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    You don't mention where you are in the process. Have you finished the first draft? Done extensive editing? Final draft? A lot of things can change in editing. A good deal of my own editing has been drawing out scenes with greater detail (increasing word count).
     
  13. DaveOlden
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    DaveOlden Member

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    There was a book with so big a reputation, I assumed it was some heavy 1,000 page tome. I stayed away from it until...

    The book was slipped under my door. I reached down and picked it up. Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse. Oh, okay, this isn't so bad.

    Of the great books I've read, Frank Herbert's Dune would probably be the thickest (at 185,783 words). Siddhartha, (at 39,111 words), is definitely on the thinner end of the bookshelf.

    Your 60,000 word draft could very well be just fine. (Depending, of course, on whether you gauge it complete).

    - Dave Olden
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
  14. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Never be tempted to pad a story simply to meet some word target, unless it is a publisher/competition requirement. If after editing you are satisfied that the story is told the way you want, then that's it.
     
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  15. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I honestly wouldn't recommend that either. A story is done when it is done, and forcing it to a certain length will most probably harm more than help.
     
  16. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    Padding a story just to make it longer is probably a bad idea. However, if you are new to writing, you could be rushing through the story. And, then, if you go back and add relevant details and showed emotion, the story could improve.

    I tend to rush when I write and I don't even notice at the time. When I read it later, I see places where I should have slowed down or offered some insight. I also find areas where I briefly describe something. Turning that into a scene where the reader instead experiences it would be more powerful.
     
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  17. jim79
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    jim79 Member

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    However, if you are new to writing, you could be rushing through the story. And, then, if you go back and add relevant details and showed emotion, the story could improve.


    I think that's what's happened, I've not wanted to break the flow of writing and just kept on going. its only when I've stopped that I've thought "oh bugger!" and started to go back through it.
    :)
     

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