1. LottieLab
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    LottieLab New Member

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    Making stories longer?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by LottieLab, Apr 16, 2012.

    I am a really keen writer (I wouldn't be on here if I wasn't!) and aiming to be an author but I always write stories that are only about ten pages long. It is too long for my school teacher, but how am I supposed to try and publish books as short as that!? When I read my stories to myself, they sound really rushed, like I squished all the action parts together. I get bored when I reach pages full of description, so maybe that has something to do with that. But in books like Eragon, there is plenty of action and not too much description but it doesn't seem rushed at all! Please, how do authors do that, and how can I make my stories 20 times longer!?
     
  2. Jowettc
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    Jowettc Contributing Member

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    I imagine that you are young so first of all - DONT PANIC.

    Contrary to what you might initially think most of us desperately try to REDUCE the length of our stories because they are often too wordy, or too indirect, to be worthy of initial publishing, so we trim, and trim, and trim away all the fat until we have the real meat of the story.

    Very few people jump stright into novel publishing.

    Write what you want, edit it, re-write it, edit it again and submit it for publishing. There are plenty of markets for short works (see duotrope) - even less than 40 words in some cases for flash fiction, and most short story publications prefer between 1,000 and 7,000 words for a short story. Once you are happy with your short's then you can look at fleshing out a novel.

    By the way, most publishers don''t care about page counts as it doesnt mean much, they are only interested in word count.
     
  3. LottieLab
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    LottieLab New Member

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    Ok, so I should start small? Only problem is, I need a way to smooth out my writing a bit, so everything isn't happening at once. When I go over a word limit, which I always do, I tend to cut away description more than action! Most of what I am left with is just a blur, but I don't often realise soon enough:redface:.
     
  4. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause Contributing Member

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    I've always found it quite useful to study film in building a novel. You'll no doubt be aware that almost every film likely to appear in your average cinema relies on a three act structure. I cite a very good description from TVTropes:

    Within this guideline, you can set aside a chapter for each scene of your novel and spend your time ensuring that you properly convey not only the information you want, but also the emotions, the subtext, the visual and the character arcs. Make little notes for yourself for each chapter, working out every 'beat' the chapter needs to hit in order to contribute towards the advancement of plot, mood and character. Try giving the chapter to a friend and asking them if they got everything from it you wanted to convey. Ask them to describe the visuals in their mind, what it made them feel etc.

    If you're not hitting your marks, then you need to give it "the old B & D," as Michael Connelly said in a recent novel: breadth and depth. It takes practice.
     
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  5. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    That's just one thing that can only be resolved with practice and more writing. You don't want to cut away descriptions because they serve a point, but you don't want only descriptions either. You're going to want to mix them up. As you continue to write, you'll start to realize what ideas will be novel length, and what ones will be short story and etc. But, if you're on a set word limit, you're writing a short story. What you'll want is a condensed story, take a critical eye to your work and remove what's not necessary to get the point of the story you're telling.
     
  6. Allan Paas
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    Allan Paas Contributing Member

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    I'm quite new to writing myself. My first story was short, some 4100 words, just an initial experience. What I found out is that it's too short for what I'm going for, so instead of writing stories below 10 000 words I will go for stories above 20 000 and below 60 000 words until I feel I am ready to begin working on my first novel (2-3 years from now).
    Writing my first story I saw that there wasn't much room for description. Short stories and novels are different. Since I'm not going for short stories there is no point exercising them, so I go straight for the longer ones.

    How to make them longer? I'd say read a lot and see how other writers have done it themselves. And, of course, keep writing. Practice and experience makes you better.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Making a story longer usually requires adding more story, not just more words.

    This may help: What is Plot Creation and Development?. But a lot of it will simply come down to practicing and gaining experience.
     
  8. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    Completely agree.

    Just keep writing, keep trying new things out and see what works and what doesn't. Eventually you are going to see that your writing will naturally get longer. I remember the days when I would write a scene and it would be a few pages long. Now the same scene is sometimes two to three times longer.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sounds to me like you need to do more READing than writing at this point in your life... read good novels by the best writers throughout history, as well as the best [not the most popular] ones of today... and study how they flesh out their stories to get them to book length...

    and don't agonize over it now, since you're so young and only getting started... you have many years to learn and perfect your writing skills... don't rush things... keep that old bit of advice about 'haste' in mind...

    love and hugs, maia
     

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