1. stevec
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    stevec New Member

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    Where do I go from here!

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by stevec, Feb 8, 2015.

    Hi All
    I am new to this forum and to writing. I have always felt I have a story in me ever since I read War of the Worlds when I was about 14.

    I have always been fascinated by books and movies about humans survival after a Nuclear War or Alien invasion and such like. I have always wanted to write a book from my view point but without the Hollywood glamour of being a gun toting martial arts warrior. I also wanted to base it in the UK, in areas I actually know.

    The novel is based on Brett (my character) and his family flying into the UK after a holiday in the states. During the flight a mysterious green mist came down over the world killing everyone other than people who were flying or underground.

    Brett and his group start by surviving in Hastings but due to a set to with a military style group that is forming in the South, they move on North.

    Some weeks later the Aliens land and it is discovered they are mining our world for copper. Electronics have been disabled and only old vehicles without electronics, are usable.

    The story them moves on to the group travelling to a safe haven in Scotland, having various adventures with bad people and Aliens.

    I basically just wrote and wrote my story. At about 40,000 words, my wife read it as she is my biggest critic and she loved it.

    Trouble is, I am now 100,000 words in and I have lots to write. I have not even started our fight back against the Aliens and I am worried the novell will be too long. However, I don't want to rush to an ending!

    So, what do I do? Just write from the heart and carry on, letting the book make its own legnth or do I need to have a re-think?

    By the way. I am not too worried about publishing. I intend binding around 10 books as gifts for my family but I want them to enjoy the book.

    I would be grateful for just 1 reply. I really would.

    Many Thanks
     
  2. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    You story sounds a bit like The Day of the Triffids. Not that that is a bad thing.

    If having gone through what you have already written and don't see any need for drastic pruning, then perhaps you may want to consider splitting the book. The first dealing with the basic need to survive the first encounters with the aliens, and the second volume the fight back.
     
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  3. Some_Bloke
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    Some_Bloke Active Member

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    I agree with Bryan. If your book seems too long, split it in two. It's what I've done with my stories.

    I also did the opposite, when a story seemed too short I put it in a book with multiple stories.
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This is your first, rough draft, so I wouldn't worry about length. Just write to your heart's content and let the story take its shape. And after you're finished, reread it, edit it, and rewrite it. That's when the hard work actually begins. A member of the forum on here had a 400,000 word novel that he finally cut down to 100,000 after editing. Others, even after editing, find their novels too long and decide to split it into 2 or more books instead. Both of these are possibilities, but you won't know which one your book will end up being until you're done writing.

    So finish your draft first without worries - sounds like you're doing well so far - and once it's finished, you'll know what your story is actually about, and what is actually important to have in the story. You'll know what needs cutting, or adding, as the case may be. You'll know whether the pacing of the novel is good and according to that, whether you need to delete chapters or expand on scenes.

    Since you say you're only intending to give it away as gifts to friends anyway, I don't think you need to worry too much about it being "too long". Simply worry about finishing it, and once it's finished, worry about whether it's written well :)

    In other words, keep writing, and keep enjoying it!
     
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  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the problem with "too long" books, independent of their publish-ability, is that they may drag. That's if they're too long because they weren't properly edited.

    Some books have a big story to tell, and even with good editing they'll still be long. Other books have a regular-length story but can get bloated b/c the author doesn't know how to keep the writing tight.

    It's hard to know which of these we're looking at, based on your description. But it might be something for you to think about as you go. What's the point of the scene you're currently writing, and is it absolutely necessary to the story you want to tell? Are you telling it in the most concise way possible, while still getting across the details you need included? If so, keep going. If not, you're probably going to want to do some cutting, either now or later.
     
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  6. stevec
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    stevec New Member

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    Thank you all so much.
    What's great about your replies is you have pretty much confirmed what I have been thinking.

    1. To carry on as I am.
    2, To consider two books (although I would rather just one).

    Your replies have given me the confidence to carry on writing and I must admit, I was worried about writing more with the doubts I was having.

    Yes, it is a bit Day of the Triffid's Bryan, which was also one of my favourite books after War of the Worlds! Hopefully it is different enough not to look copy cat
     
  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm on the fence. I'm totally with Mcck to keep going but I'm also with Baywrite to maybe be aware of what you're writing as you continue on. A lot of my novels have been big behemoths. One I'm working on now is over 2,000 pages on paper ( approximate ) - but actually about half that when worked out accurately. Too many characters too much going on but I'm having an easier time editing it and figuring stuff out than another story I wrote called Crimson Waters which was 800 pages ( and no ending in site ) and yet it only had 3 main characters. My problem with that story was everything was described. Every thought, action, article of clothing, everything. It was hard to look at and decide what, at that point, was relevant and how to sift through the irrelevance to find the relevance.

    I'd suggest maybe posting a piece and getting some feedback - maybe it's as everyone says it could be a book that's expanding into sequels or it could be that some brevity is needed.
     
  8. Jenurik Name
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    Jenurik Name Member

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    It sounds like you have a decision on your hands. Either this story is either a 100,000 word story that can be its own stand-alone novel, or a 300,000 word story that requires a trilogy.

    Take chapters and objectively look at what is really happening. If you're someone who routinely writes blocks of 5,000 words where nothing is happening, then you know you have to prune. Look at chapters and see what they accomplish. If all it does is "This character is no longer mad at that character" - that's a problem. Things like that are important, but you can't drag them out. Make sure you're not writing as though you're paid by the word.

    If there is significant plot movement - characters are in progress, they have a clear objective, or are in the process of figuring out the next objective, and are working toward meeting it. Character development, exploration of themes, exposition, should be woven with plot advancement so that they progress more or less in parallel.

    So a character interaction advancement like "This character is no longer mad at that character" can take multiple chapters to resolve, but because it's threaded with the rest of the story, doesn't actually take too many words while still feeling like it was done in depth.

    If you are writing and meaningful things are consistently happening, then you should consider splitting it into a duology.
     
  9. stevec
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    stevec New Member

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    Thanks again.
    I have read what I have written from the begining and I do belive the story moved forward with each chapter. For example.

    Chapter one, they land from holiday and find something terrible has happened
    Chapter two, they find transport and travel to their home town.
    Chapter three, individual characters go to their own homes to check on family and friends (all dead).
    Chapter four, group finds a large house to settle together in.
    and so on.

    I am not sure there is a trilogy but maybe two books but as I have said I would rather one book at around 175 words. Is that too long?
     
  10. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    175 k words? That's about what, close to 600 pages? Is that the length your shooting for? Some publishers don't want books that long from newbies but given your genre who knows. You could read up on some of the publishers you'd like to approach when you're done, see if they have any guidelines. When I was writing a children's book years ago I checked into Scholastic's guidelines and tried to keep my book under a certain page count/ word count.
     
  11. stevec
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    stevec New Member

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    I didn't set out to write any length but just to write the book that I have had in me for years, It just happens it will be about that length.
     
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  12. Ms. DiAnonyma
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    Ms. DiAnonyma Active Member

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    Sounds like sound advice... though, for myself, I know, cutting is difficult, because some things actually aren't necessary for the end/goal of the story, but look like they are because they fit into the flow of how I wrote it... But, having reread through it all, you probably have a better idea of where you want all this to go? Sure, you're writing the story without a conscious motive of publishing or getting out a message, but can you analyze it and yourself for your potential latent motive? What makes you write this? What sort of theme brings it all together? Or are there significantly different themes?
    You mentioned your love of writing stemming particularly from War of the Worlds (and for this, The Day of the Triffids)... I can understand writing something like what you admire as kind of like playing a piece of music is a more enjoyable (and difficult!) experience than just listening to it...
    But getting fresh eyes on it, (even just parts), is probably your best bet, (coming from a bat who knows that rereading your own story for the umpteenth time doesn't actually tell you if it drags/gets hard to follow...
    Best of luck to you with your writing!
     
  13. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Though not so much to incite you to rip off Wyndham, I strongly suggest you read The Day Of The Triffids for the following reasons:

    1) it's set in the UK
    2) it's not a lengthy book, quite thin, in fact, which makes it no less epic or full of action.
    3) it deals with a similar kind of phenomena
    4) the language is dispassionate, factual, matter-of-factly just like it should be.


    With your word count and no explicit encounter with the aliens, your story might get a bit tedious. Postponing the grand opening until the very end might be off-putting.
     

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