1. jimboa26
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    jimboa26 Member

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    Novel Too Short???

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jimboa26, Mar 11, 2011.

    Alright, I have finished my first novel. I'm very proud and happy to finally have this thing done, but here's my problem: it clocks in at 72,650 words. I'm told that most publishers won't even consider anything under 80,000. How do I beef it up?

    It's a very tightly-focused psychological horror about a young man who loses his high school sweetheart/fiance in a car wreck. She was his first friend and someone he knew his whole life and it destroys him; he pretty much withdraws from life. Two years later he's finally starting to move on with his life when he sees what appears to be her ghost, desperate to be reunited with him.

    It sets off a chain of events that has devastating consequences for himself, his friends and family and ultimately his community.

    As far as plot goes, I can't really think of anything else to add. Artificially adding plot would be a bridge to nowhere and I don't think it would fit, and I don't want to over-do description to the point where it's just boring fluff, but I need a way to make this just a bit longer. Or do I?
     
  2. JPLayne
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    JPLayne Member

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    It might be a good time to get a few other pairs of eyes to take a look at it. Someone else may be able to better tell you where more information would be helpful or where you a portion of the story could be further developed. Worse case scenario try working in another subplot. Of course if you are confident in your work's completion submit it or self publish (digital) where length isn't as much of an issue. Hope this helps.
     
  3. jimboa26
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    jimboa26 Member

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    Kinda, though I don't want too many subplots. There are a few in the book already, but they're closely related to the main thread and don't deviate much.
     
  4. JMTweedie
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    JMTweedie Senior Member

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    If it was my script then I would be re-reading the whole thing through a few times. You might suddenly think of something good to add somewhere.

    You didn't say if it was your first draft or not but the vast majority of writers edit their work several times before doing anything else.

    As JPLayne has said, it would also be good to have somebody read through your work and offer constructive criticism.
     
  5. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    I would personally put the book to one side, maybe as others have suggested get some one else to read it for feedback.

    Then I would start writing a fresh short story about the same characters, maybe more back story? Depends on novel...

    I would write another completely unrelated story, but same characters.

    Maybe a story about the girl or a minor character (parents), etc

    And just see where it takes me, if it inspires. If not, then I would not continue with the subplot route, unless something amazing falls in to place. Its not like you have to put in these sub-plots just because you have written them, but its probably worth the extra effort.
     
  6. Show
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    IDK if I like the idea of adding stuff just to make it longer. And revision often knocks DOWN the word count. I'd still ask somebody else to read it cause you might have left some holes that need patching up. And I don't know how legalistic the 80K rule is. You might be able to get that novel published if it isnt too far under 80K. But work on editing first anyway. You'd want it as good as can be before publishing it anyway.

    I am kind of in the same boat as you with one of my novels. But I did manage to add quite a bit and I hope it adds up. (Edit: I just checked and, unless I accidentally counted something twice, it went WAY up. I really hope it stays that way as I complete editing. So I think you CAN get another 8K in there if you let somebody else take a look and see if you left anything out.)
     
  7. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    Id rather be slightly under then slightly over.

    If you let the story sit for a few weeksw/months you'll be suprised how you may find something that might help it a little.

    Being 5k under shouldn't kill your chances. Not half as much as presenting a novel thats say 90k (well over for a first time novel).
     
  8. Show
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    ^^^^I thought first time novels were supposed to be 80-100K. The 80K rule is a minimum from what I understand, not an exact number. (The limit is supposedly around 100K) So if a novel was 90K, I would think it'd be workable too.
     
  9. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    80k is usually spot on. Some publishing firms that handle fantasy may take in a higher count, but 100k...i think you'd be pushing it.
     
  10. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    How about a flash back of the good times they had?
    Some special moment that he thinks of, dreams of, something to show the reader the closeness they had.
    You probably have some, but maybe some other dream that may have a hint of the horror involved?
    Or maybe add a friend trying to help him?

    Sometimes when I reread, I find places that need more description or maybe need to be explained better.
    But I write quickly, so my editing is usually adding meat to it, rather then trimming the fat.
     
  11. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    Would have to be a good flash back. Just my opinion, but they are so overdone, and i have read so many bad ones.

    You have to realise, with editing, sometimes your MS will grow, not always shrink.
     
  12. Terry D
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    Terry D Active Member

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    If you have already revised and edited your book to the point where you are happy with it, then by all means begin the submission process. Those word count numbers are simply guidelines, not hard and fast rules; a book length manuscript is anything above 60,000 words.

    If your book has merit, agents and publishers will see that, and will recommend any changes they feel it needs.
     
  13. Show
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    But few books will be spot on at 80K. I've never heard of such a hard ruled word count. And every rule I've heard touts 80K as a minimum guideline, not a maximum.
     
  14. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I'm not saying you have to nail 80,000 words. Just give or take 5,000-10,000 or so.

    You start going over big time and it only means publishers will have to spend more money on a book from an unknown author.
     
  15. Show
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    ^^^^True, but nobody's really saying to go over big time.

    Of course, everyone says something different so who do you believe anymore. ;)
     
  16. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    All you can do is write a really good story and hope they like it. ;)
     
  17. Show
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    ^^^^Maybe, if you can get them to even read it. ;)
     
  18. jimboa26
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    jimboa26 Member

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    I already have a couple flashbacks, one in a "corrupted" dream sequence that turns into a nightmare, one or two "hallucinations" (they're not hallucinations but it's too complicated to explain here) and plenty of discussions of the times they had, so I'm very much "covered" in the department of giving the reader an idea of the love they shared.
     

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