1. gabriellockhart
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    gabriellockhart Member

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    Longest story you've ever written?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by gabriellockhart, Jan 12, 2010.

    I'm curious does any one here write massive stories:confused:

    myself i can't help it, my younger brother refers to my works as leg smashers, my current work is looking at something well over 14000 pages long?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    To begin with, forget page counts. Submissions are counted in words, not pages.

    If your word count is very much outside of the range of 80,000 to 120,000 words, your chances of getting a publisher to even look at it are slim to none.

    Forget Stephen King or any of the other big name writers who seem to defecate massive tomes in their sleep. They have made their mark, so they can indulge in wordiness and still get published. But an unknown writer will stay unknown if he or she can't stay within the preferred new submission word counts.
     
  3. gabriellockhart
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    gabriellockhart Member

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    Your assuming my ungodly massive work is a single book, it's split into 18seperate parts, each with a false ending that gives the impression of a concluded story or arc with-in a larger story line leaving the reader satisfied but wanting more.

    What i was talking about is the length of a single story or narrative.

    All i was asking was do other people have trouble writng shorter stories like myself.
     
  4. wave1345
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    wave1345 Member

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    18 separate parts, as in 18 separate books? I'm not sure the average reader
    wants that much! Robert Jordan is at 12 with Wheel of Time, and in my opinion
    it's just getting tired. ;)

    As for do I have trouble writing shorter stories? No, I have trouble writing long
    stories. I get impatient to get what's in my head on the page, and that makes
    me discouraged, and I eventually abandon it and begin on something else.
    I think we both need to find that happy medium!
     
  5. Yarnillah
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    Yarnillah Contributing Member

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    Yes. I always find that when I try to write a shorter story, I leave loose ends that leave a reader unsatisfied. I'm much better at writing novels.
     
  6. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Quantity doesn't mean much to me. My essays at uni were always under 5 pages while everyone else was churning out about 12, and it didn't stop me getting a 2:1. A story takes as many words as are necessary. The longest I've ever written (not 'wrote') is a 95,000 word novel that's still tiredly doing the rounds.
     
  7. gabriellockhart
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    gabriellockhart Member

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    When i started this particular story over a decade ago it was a ropey trilogy about saving the earth from aliens but succesive rewrite and reboots it keeps expanding and growing into something far more massive and more interesting.

    Whe Wheel of Time is my favourite series of books and i love reading them.

    I love the sheer detail and complexity you can craft into a novel of that size while still maintaining a simplicity for the reader, what i'm saying is i could compress it by at least half but the story would move at a super pace and i might lose the audience.

    I mean is it fair to assume your audience is as smart as i am or a dumb as a bag of hammers.
     
  8. Ecksvie
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    Ecksvie Member

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    If we're talking stories rather than single books, then my longest is around 110,000 words - one novella at 25,000 words and its sequel at about 85,000.

    Alot of people say it's a big jump in word count for a continuation of the same story, but for me a story is as long as it needs to be. Quality, not quantity they say. I'm sure most people would prefer to read something short and concise that says what it needs to say than something that rambles on and on.

    And yes, measure in words, not pages. Page count can easily be manipulated by font size, line spacing and so on. Word count is objective.
     
  9. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    My longest single story was about 165,000 words. It was the second part in a planned trilogy, but I gave up midway through the third one. Looking back on it now, it's bloody awful, and I can't stand it. That's probably to do with the genre, and the fact I was about 15/16 at the time.
     
  10. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I'm a short story writer, end of.

    And as a writer of short stories and poetry I've come to find the sentence 'I'm writing a novel' to be the most passionless, depressing thing an English speaker can utter.

    Not that I don't want to move into the world of novels, I really do, I just keep thinking that I'm selling out whenever I've tried my hand at it in the past, and give up; either leaving the idea completely, or just making a short story of it.

    My longest short story thus far is just over 10,000 words, and was a scrapped novel idea that just wouldn't leave me alone. My longest attempt at fiction is around Banzai's 160,000 mark, but this was (like his) when I was 15 or 16, and couldn't handle a project of that scope. However, I think that I'm beginning to move onto novels regardless, and my newer ideas are much more detailed, and much more elaborate than they used to be. My short stories, too, are noticeably growing in word length - and I’m a fanatic of the idea: quality over quantity!
     
  11. Ecksvie
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    Ecksvie Member

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    I agree! I've heard so many writers say "I'm writing a novel!" and are so proud of the fact.

    I never say I'm writing a novel. As I said in my previous post, a story is as long as it needs to be, and if it ends up as a novella or something else, then so be it. There's no shame in writing a story that isnt quite long enough to be a novel.

    I never say I'm writing a novel. I'm always either writing a book or a story. In fact, since my stories are always handwritten on the first draft, I often have no idea of how long the story is until I type it up for the second draft. People ask me if its a novel, and I say I'm not sure yet!
     
  12. bleakside
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    bleakside New Member

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    As for writing short stories, I used to be in your situation. I wrote a trilogy by my final year in primary school. Now I'm trying my hand at short stories. The best method is to leave out almost all details and give the reader some space for creativity. This is to say, for each paragraph of description, slash it down to a couple of lines. You need to give the reader some credit. If they enjoy reading, they don't want to be spoonfed, they're generally going to be more intelligent than that. Readers, I'm sure you'll agree, like to think that their interpretation of the story is personal to them. That way it's almost like they made their own story WITH the author. Remember, they're paying for an experience, not a lecture. Let's take these two examples:

    This is the sort of thing you'd get in waffling epics. How about the sort of thing you'd find in a short story? That will let you picture the scene for yourself.

    If you can't imagine or you don't know what a prairie sunset looks like, then how much more wonderous a-scene could the reader conjur, given all the space in the world?
     
  13. gabriellockhart
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    gabriellockhart Member

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    Thanks for all the info...:)
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    are you actually saying you have completed 18 story-connected novels, totalling 14,000 pages?!
     
  15. gabriellockhart
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    gabriellockhart Member

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    Yes, plus a couple of trilogies, the 18 parter is still is work in progress with me designing the last couple of parts and writing 16 and rewriting part 1 now...plus working on an encylopedia for the 18 parter...that i plan on doing sometime this year.

    I usually write between 40 and 100 pages a day, with my best day being 128 pages in a single 18 hour day, being currently unemployed means i can write all day every day...

    :eek:
     
  16. thecommabandit
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    thecommabandit Member

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    128 pages in a day? Did you eat? Did you ever stop writing?
     
  17. gabriellockhart
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    gabriellockhart Member

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    Went toilet once and ate a sandwich that's about it, i had to finish as i had pre arranged to use an industrial office printer... so pulled an all day and nighter, stopped work at five in the morning and had to go out at eight in the AM.

    That was nearly a DVT time.:p
     
  18. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    I think short fiction is more difficult than long fiction in the sense that it requires more attention to every detail, every word, every nuance, and more meticulous craftsmanship to allow it to do what good short fiction does better than long fiction--which is to create a meaningful reading experience in a very short period of time. Nothing is forgiven the author in a piece of short fiction.

    The difficulty with long fiction is, I think, to be able to sustain the reader's experience over the course of a lengthy work, where little things that wouldn't fly in short fiction can be overlooked if the long work seems interesting and vital. But that forgiveness that long fiction may have is more likely to become an excuse for the writer not to seek out, recognize, and repair deficiencies the long work may contain. Readers' thresholds for deficiency build-up are varied. So, ignoring these weaknesses may pass muster on some level (reading by friends and such), but it can easily be disastrous when it comes to marketing the work--especially so from a novice writer.

    Although I have a preference for artful writing, I do read some popular fiction, and some of it's awfully well put together (though, of course, a lot of it isn't). Right now I'm reading Dan Brown's DIGITAL FORTRESS. His pacing is pretty good, and the storyline is interesting, imaginative, and plausible--though maybe flawed in some ways that don't really concern me too much. The characters are identifiable, if not very three-dimensional. Still, there's nothing about it that would ever pass muster as a piece of stunning short fiction (where, as a reader, I simply expect to care about every aspect). Of course, all that's just my own preference and opinion. But that, I think, highlights the difference (which is somewhat subjective) between the difficulties of presenting fiction, short versus long.

    I used to think of novelists as folks who inevitably posessed more imagination than I could ever possibly have. Now, I don't think of it quite that way--more, that it requires a different kind of imagination that may or may not involve every possible fictional element--leaning more heavily on the storyline than anything else. The novelists I like best, in addition to being able to sustain my attention with an awfully good storyline, also pay attention to the kinds of elements short fiction requires, however long their stories turn out to be. I'm also finishing up Camus' THE PLAGUE, in which almost every passage is an artful experience to read.

    Just like painters who work better on larger canvasses than small (and vice versa), there are distinct challenges that must be faced and accommodated in either. It's a good idea to sniff out the differences, so you know what you need to overcome to succeed.
     
  19. gabriellockhart
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    gabriellockhart Member

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    I totally agree Manhattanmss, i struggle no end with short fiction.:(
     
  20. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    I work with one novelist who has written what I think are interesting (published) air-tight stories that would fall into the category of popular fiction. At one point he wrote a series of short stories. The best I can say about them is that they read like little attempts to jiggle loose his imagination (from writer's block) so he could return to his storytelling forte. As short stories, they read exactly like you might expect from--if not a complete novice--a writer who was heading down a distinctly wrong path. You'd never guess from the quality of these little stories that they were penned by a pretty good (midlist) fiction writer.

    I don't think there's anything at all wrong with recognizing that your talents may lie in one camp or another, but not straddle both. Me, I write short and can't quite picture myself entering the novel arena.:)
     
  21. Ecksvie
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    Ecksvie Member

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    I hope you dont mind me asking. If you're writing this on a computer, what sort of font size are you using?
     
  22. gabriellockhart
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    gabriellockhart Member

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    Ms word font size 12 courier new or garamond (my favourite to look at) with double spacing for microsoft word 2003. or final draft with courier final draft i think that's set in 12 to...:confused:

    I used to have a novel macro for the older version of ms word but i got office 2007 and the macro's no longer works my page count has halved due to the fact that each page has over 800 words where as with the macro no more the 400...i don't really like the new word, it's nicer to work with but the normal setting is just annoying.

    When i started well over a decade ago i used to work on paper or typewriter, i wrote my first novel on paper. Man i love the sound of typewriters.
     
  23. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    from what you say, it seems to me you're only writing for the sake of writing and have no desire to ever see any of those books published, or you'd have submitted the first one, at least, to see if anyone wants to actually publish your work...

    if that's so, then write on... but if you hope to ever see any of those thousands of pages in print, on the shelves of bookshops, you'll have to rein in your writing obsession and see if you can interest an agent or publisher in what you're turning out ad infinitum...

    and while writing fast is easy to do for some, writing well is what it takes to get published... so, do you ever stop to see if what you're writing is good enough to sell?... do you do any editing and polishing, or just keep on writing?
     
  24. gabriellockhart
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    gabriellockhart Member

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    At the moment i just enjoy writing as a hobby, i do hope to refine my 18 parter into something into that i could get published but at the moment it is way to large.

    So until i can tighten up my writing technique, and trim off the fat so to speak, i'll just keep writing and working on shrinking my novels into to something publishable.:)

    though i have been working on something i could send to agents, a idea i had a few years back about the norse apocalypse called Five days of ragnarok, set in contempery Manhattan.

    do you think that would make i good novel?
     
  25. harm
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    harm Member

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    Wow that just blows my mind. I honestly write stories, usually about 4k - 10k but thats just how they shake out, not a goal or anything. My longest batch of writing was a story I wrote after a stephen king novel irritated me with the waste of a good first half and I got to about 75k but I screwed up the pacing of the last climax and I've just been hammering out the issues with pacing for the last few months.
     

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