1. nacht
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    nacht Member

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    Too short

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by nacht, Dec 27, 2010.

    When I "finish" writing a story, I'll go back through the pages and find it's much shorter than I originally believed. In fact, sometimes they're only as long as a few hundred words when it felt like I wrote several thousand.
    It becomes rather down-putting, considering I had already completed the entire plot in just those few pages.

    Does anybody else encounter this problem when writing?
     
  2. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    Almost always - I guess it's something to do with how much effort you put into visualising the setting and putting it into words.

    The main problem we face of course is whether or not we expand on the scenario or add detail in order to fill the chapter.

    If you do the first, you run the risk of ruining breaks in plot advancement as you originally intended them. If you do the second, you run the risk of boring people with padding. Having said that, you need at least so much to happen within a given chapter and you need at least so much detail to give the reader.

    Unfortunately, I haven't found a concrete way of solving this. I just try whichever one feels most natural for me.
     
  3. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    I don't think short is ever, itself, a real problem. Most people need much editing (even self-editing) to get the story to a more readable length. So, a story being shorter is not a bad thing per se. That is if you are a person that edits a you write (I do this).

    However, the issue you could have that you may not have developed the character as you should. If you've executed a plot in a short structure, what could have been cut short. I'd suggest that it may be character development.

    Developing characters can take a large part of any writing. I'd think that would be one portion where, if something is missing, that you would want to consider.
     
  4. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Shorter is better would work if minimum word counts didn't rule the day. *sighs

    I run into the problem all the time. Although I check word count very frequently so I tend to expect it. I would say work on better character development and fleshing out scenes. Also become very interested in the scene you write, it does help to make that word count take off.
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This used to happen to me when I was just starting out. I realized that my stories were short because I was summarizing scenes instead of dramatizing them. For example, I'd write something like:

    "John and Mary got into a huge fight over the fact that, without telling him, Mary had stopped taking the pill so she was now pregnant and John never wanted a baby. Finally, after an hour of screaming, John stormed out of the house, went to the bar, and got drunk."

    A real writer would have written that fight in detail - every word, every insult, how much it hurt both characters - because that's where the drama is. That two-sentence summary above just doesn't cut it. If you write like that, your story will only be a couple of hundred words long, even if you went through it all in detail in your imagination. The problem is, you didn't put it on the page.

    Put the drama on the page, and maybe you'll find that your stories are as long as you think they are.
     
  6. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    Some stories are meant to be short. You should always keep this in mind and not let it put you down.

    When I first began writing, I couldn't write a lengthy story. I learned to write longer stories by formulating sub plots and dragging out the writing, but at the same time, keeping it exciting. I think if you spend a little more time considering what you want to write about, and let your imagination work to its best potential, you can write longer stories, if that is what you want.
     
  7. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    It may be that you're just listing out the facts of what happens, writing more like a news article than fiction (I do this with rough drafts all the time). If that's the case, as people have said, just use dialogue/tone-setting/description etc.

    With description, don't go overboard just for the sake of it. If you do, people will think "who cares" and skip through it. Instead, think of description's primary purpose as setting the tone. In other words, is the forest behind the MC's house a wooded canopy of unshattered serenity, or is it a gaping black cavern punctured by scraggly, claw-like trees? Use description to make the reader get the emotion they're supposed to have while reading.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you told a good story in a compelling way, then why try to make it any longer?

    some stories are just shorter than others...
     
  9. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nacht,

    If the story is strong at its 'short' length, nothing wrong with that. There are plenty of paying markets that seek very short works of fiction. If you feel they are good enough, consider submitting them for publication rather than trying to extend them into something else.

    Terry
     
  10. Sarah's Mom
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    Sarah's Mom Member

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    I think the lesson from all the good replies here is to post one of the too-short stories for review.
     
  11. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Terry, there is a market for flash fiction/5min. fiction.
     
  12. nacht
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    nacht Member

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    Thanks to everyone for the replies, and so speedy as well =D I'll end up writing another one just and posting it some time (I got extremely frustrated and deleted everything >.>; )
     

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