1. nailer123
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    nailer123 Member

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    Straight to the Point

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by nailer123, Jul 1, 2008.

    With the story I'm currently writing, and just generally in any story I do write, I tend to progress with the plot fairly fast. I have made a basic plan of the plot in order to give me some freedom with my writing, after all I'm writing it purely for enjoyment. However I don't really like waffling about with the writing, I just like to write it and that usually means progressing with the plot.
    My question is this; Does anybody have any tips on how to thicken my story?

    I didn't think this was a plot development question, so I put it in General Writing if that's the right place. Thanks for your time.
     
  2. Milady
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    Milady Contributing Member

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    Well, there's always subplots...

    Character development and interior conflict help, too.
     
  3. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are you saying you want a longer plot or more pages?
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    One element to be aware of is the pace of your story. In high action the pace usually must be fast. Other times, your characters may be waiting, or trying to think their way through a proble, or undertaking a journey. These time call for a slower pace.

    A fast pace is associated with simple sentences with few ajectives or adverbs, and the minimun description that lets the reader know what is happeining.

    A slower pace is associated with longer, more complex sentences, rich description, dialogue, details.

    When you are racing through the woods with an angry grizzly at your heels, you arent noticing which trees are pines, which are oaks, and whether the leaves are spring yellow, summer dull green, autumn red or orange, or bare. The only thing you notice about the trees is whether they are in your way, or whether one could be climbed to escape (bad idea - grizzlies can climb!)

    But if you are sitting in a waiting room while your best friend is in surgery, you notice the water stain in the ceiling tile, the crumpled candy wrapper sticking out from under the nurse's station, the bitterness of the cold coffee, the snot of the face of the screaming kid ten feet away, all manner of details. So write what you see. Write what you are thinking. Write snatches of dialogue you hear from passing doctors - are they talking about Brad? Write about the rude noise the leather seat makes when you shift nervously. Speculate on why it's called a CAT scan.

    Most of the time you will be in between sections of high action, and even if that's not true, the high action takes up less page space. So paying attention to the pace will usually fill out your story unless you were a detail junkie to begin with.

    And keep in mind that plot and story are not the same thing. Plot is conflict and resolution. Adding plot and subplots makes the story richer, even if your overall storyline is not greatly affected. To add more plots, add more conflicts. Conflicts can either cause complications in your main plot, or they can be there to develop the characters. They shouldn't be random occurrences that have nor relation to the story.

    Does that help?
     
  5. Shizai Ko
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    Shizai Ko New Member

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    Back story helps explain characters' motivations and behaviors. Plot webs may provide multiple possiblities for plot direction, subplots, and factors that will lead to the next major plot/climax while the current main plot is ongoing. Fillers can be used to strengthen character's development for the preparation of the main plot. Then again, I'm not a pro.

    Hopefully helpful.
    BTW, Sorry for any grammar errors.
     
  6. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    I like my stories that are straight forward and to the point.

    Why thicken it with unnecessary fat that does nothing to enhance the flavor?

    Listen to Cogito's advice. You should make your stories thick, only when it needs to be thick, such as creating tension or atmosphere, not to fill in the pages.
     
  7. nailer123
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    nailer123 Member

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    Thanks everyone.

    I think thickening it out with extra conflicts will help and I'll start varying the pace a little more. Better get writing now then :p.
     
  8. Liem
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    Liem New Member

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    I wouldn't try to drag out the story if it seems unnatural, it could end up ruining parts of the story. If you feel that it's at a good pace there's no need to write a huge rat-crushing novel.

    However above posters have given some good advice as to way you can add some length if you feel you really need it.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    read lots of the works of the best writers in your genre/s and see how they 'flesh out' their stories... that will give you a range of options from which you can choose/develop your own preferred method...
     
  10. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    nailer123,

    It could simply be that the ideas/stories you have are better suited for flash fiction or short stories. Those generally require you to get right to it.

    Terry
     
  11. Sandy Banks
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    Sandy Banks Member

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    I've found since i joined this forum that in order to improve my stories and flesh them out a bit more then i really have to get to know my characters. Basically when your writing your creating another world and to make that world realistic you have to go into lots of detail. Maybe try writing about everyday scenes and describe every bit of detail you can think of about a paticulary everyday scene as a sort of training exercise.
     
  12. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I wouldn't "thicken" the story just for the sake of thickening it; I tried that once and it was just...ugh. Sometimes a story is just meant to be short and fast.

    Instead of, say, trying to bulk up a story (even in a good, non-padded way), you might need to look into modifying your entire writing style, because that might be the only way you can lengthen a story and keep it sounding natural. I noticed that this happened with me and my stories grew longer over time. Looking back on older, shorter stories, I see that I wasn't very descriptive and I didn't really get into characters' minds and motivations that much--things that I do naturally, nowadays. I didn't so much "learn" to do it or make myself do it as it was just the way my style progressed over time. You might need to do the same, that is, if it's what you want to do. (It might not be, and that's fine.)

    One thing that lengthens stories is focusing on the characters, their thoughts, emotions, and reactions to things--their psychological and internal states and the way they relate to other people, things, and situations. My writing HEAVILY focuses on these things and I honestly think it's the character interactions and emotions that make my stories as long as they are. The only drawback is, now I can't write decent short stories because I always focus so much on character development!
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Short stories just require a sharper scalpel.
     
  14. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cogito,
    I don't fully agree with this statement. What differentiates a short story from a novel is more scope and structure as opposed to being able to cut, words, sentences, dialogue, scenes and chapters.

    One could argue that novels allow more leeway with respect to description, subplot complexity, characterization, etc., but too much of that type of content will weaken and doom a novel as much as any piece of short fiction. And short fiction, percentage wise (5000 words) vs. novel (100,000 words) does have some occasional leeway to provide depth.

    While there are examples where a successful novella has been expanded into a novel (with sequels) such as Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. and one could presume to cut back such a novel to a novella, but cutting back (with a sharp scalpel) a novel concept/depth/complexity story without altering the structure and severely restricting the scope wouldn't work.

    In the end, all fiction requires the willingness to use a sharp scalpel to keep prose fresh and moving, and avoiding being bogged down or thrown way off track.

    Terry
     
  15. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay, another (second) post on the topic.

    "Thickening" a story, by exploring chararacter's thoughts and motivations more deeply, for example, has its own perils.

    Telling/showing the reader just enough so that they form images, understand or draw conclusions about motivations, get what's going on and why (and the like) is all that's necessary. More doesn't automatically = better, and often = worse.

    Terry
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I do agree with you Terry. I was being somewhat flip, although I do think that a short story won't survive bubbles of fat quite as well as a novel can. In a short story, your character development must be economical, because you don't have the luxury of hundreds of pages to build it up. You have to concentrate on the essential aspects.

    I don't think you can be sloppy with a novel either. And the story itself does have a big impact on whether it's most appropriate for a short, a novella, or a novel. But the shorter the piece, the more imperative it is that you make every word count.

    Fair enough?
     
  17. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cogito,
    Works for me.:cool:

    Terry
     

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