1. nacht
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    nacht Member

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    Writing a fantasy (D&D or Tolkien-like); Need some help!

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by nacht, Dec 19, 2009.

    Alright, so I'm writing a story. I've struggled and struggled, trying to find out how I should format the paper. My friend, Toni, said that I would be able to get a better grasp of the writing's length in paperback form by writing in landscape, so I did. She was right, and I see how long -- and short -- it really is.
    Here's my problem: I'm 14 pages in, not counting the title page, and I'm already half-way through Chapter 5. That doesn't seem right.
    So, here's my question: How do I lengthen the story?

    Anything else you want to throw in with your answer (tips? hints? etc.) would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Don't go by pages, go by word count. Most genre books are between 80,000 and 100,000 words in length. Some can be up to 150,000 but that is not as common, just as some can be as short as 50,000. Write the story first. Then when you start looking for a publisher worry about your word counts.
     
  3. nacht
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    nacht Member

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    Alright, but when I get to that point -- how do I expand it? (word count is 3,344 btw, so I know I have a long way to go.)

    Thanks for the speedy reply, btw.
     
  4. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're moving that fast, it may not be a novel, but instead a short story or a novelette. There's nothing wrong with that.

    There's not much more to say unless you give an example. 3,000 words isn't that long, so perhaps post it in the critique area or in the lounge, asking people whether they think it's novely or not.
     
  5. rikithasta
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    rikithasta Member

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    I attempt to write both D&D-esque and Tolkein-esque fantasy, and my initially planned plots usually end up taking under 10,000 words. I feel empathy for you. But if you end up writing a cohesive short story, there's no shame in that like the others said. Short stories can be a lot of fun. Also, they can be the jumping point for more short stories.

    [An aside - Let's say it does end up a short story and you did a lot of world building that you don't want to waste. What other stories can you tell in this world? It doesn't all have to fit into one novel. Look at the Silmarillion and Christopher Tolkein's work. The adventures told in the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is only a brief moment in time. /End of aside.]

    Also plot can't be forced into a story, it has to be built up. Whenever I have, and went to edit it later, I would wonder why I thought it was a good idea. I've found it's better to build the events based on what the characters allow, based on the world setting - but I'd imagine there are an infinite number of ways to build a plot.

    If you have a solid plot, then stick with it and see what happens. You can always worry about fixing things in rewrites. If your plot still seems to thin after writing it out, build new conflicts into the story.

    The Lord of the Rings wasn't only about a hobbit who destroys the One Ring. Everyone in the Fellowship had their own agendas, goals and desires. Well, Merry and Pippin didn't exactly beyond survival, but they were thrown into B-character agendas. There was also a large wealth of secondary characters with their own agendas. The Lord of the Rings combines all of these agendas. Sometimes it causes the characters to work together (bring the ring from Rivendell to Mordor) and other times it causes conflict (Boromir's attempt to take the Ring for Gondor).

    Even in the original Dragonlance trilogy there are a lot of different plot lines going on, with many different characters.

    In my mind I see D&D stories as a different thing from Tolkein-esque stories. A Tolkein-esque is about the complex relations of a host of characters to achieve a set of goals. D&D may end up this be this deep, but it's often a party of characters working together to achieve a goal, possibly a set of goals. There may be some intrigue but it can also be a hack-slash-fireball adventure.

    If you're going for something that reads like a D&D campaign (or how the DMs hope a campaign goes at any rate) you may want som random side quests. These random side quests are natural for a D&D party. Often times they're a group of mercenaries, sometimes with a moral code, and it would make sense for them to do something for pay. This can lead to finding the special-amulet-of-plane-jumping that they will later need to beat the God of the Balrogs, or they can end up finding a vital piece of information toward their Quest.

    So maybe this is more of a technique to slow down the plot than anything else. It also provides an opportunity to help characterize them. I usually try to limit this in my writing though, especially if it deters them from the main path too much.

    My last comment is, don't worry about the format in the first draft. Title pages, chapters, they can all be sorted out in revisions. I usually stick a header so I can figure out what the heck it is later. This header usually includes a draft number or a date started, and possibly a few words of what's going on if the doc is picking up in the middle of the story. I keep my separate projects in different folders so I know what story it's to do with.

    If you want to discuss any thing about this style of literature more, send me a PM. I have a bordering-embarrassing collection of Tolkein and D&D-lit to reference. I can also take a look at what you've written and/or a plot outline if you want.

    EDIT: Sorry for the wall of text. Did a twenty page thesis including some of the above topics recently. Sorry for getting carried away.
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Since this is a fantasy story, make sure you elaborate on any items/magic that readers might not be familiar with. This goes for the environment as well. Take a look at some of your favorite fantasy books and see how the author handles the pace for the first few chapters.
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nacht,

    Do you have your story planned out? Obviously you know where it is to start, as you've started. But do you know how it will end, and some of the major events along the way?

    With all of that in place, you want to be wary of 'lengthening' a work to add words to make it novel-length. Adding fluff, additional information, side plots and such that really do not advance or relate to the main plot will only serve to weaken the piece.

    Good luck,

    Terry
     
  8. nacht
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    nacht Member

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    Thanks for the help, guys, this was bugging me like crazy. I'll PM you, rikithasta, don't worry about that. lol

    I had a general sense of where the story was going, but that's been lost since my break from writing it (I usually hopscotch across story ideas until I find a good one I want to finish, lol) This story actually started because my last one was lost in data transfer from the old partition to the new one, but this response is getting to be too much about my technical failures than the writing itself.

    I could post an excerpt or something -- maybe the first two pages -- to give you guys an idea. I wouldn't post it in here, though. It'd go into the Critique board-place-thing over there. I'll link to it if you guys want me to post it up.
     
  9. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you feel a need to add around the main plot of your story, then consider characterization as the first. Take time exploring the personalities of your characters, how they feel about the things occuring, eachother, etc.
     

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