Tags:
  1. JarOfWebs

    JarOfWebs New Member

    Joined:
    Yesterday
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0

    Filling Up Pages

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by JarOfWebs, Jan 17, 2018 at 6:26 PM.

    This is my first post, so that's a cool thing I guess.

    About a week or so ago I had an amazing idea for a novel, and being someone who's enjoyed writing for most of my life I figured to go ahead and try. I've had a bit of experience with a screenwriting workshop, and know the basics of story. I've made a list of characters with their backstories and whatnot, I've written a couple paragraphs of a quick runthrough of all the events I wish to put in the story.

    Today I felt like I was finally ready to start writing my first draft. After doing a bit of research, I found that the common words-per-page for a novel is around 300 (That may be wrong, correct me if so). I made it my goal to write at least one page per day.

    As I started writing today, I quickly realized that I can't quite fill up the page as much as I want. To put it simpler, my story progresses too fast. I've read many a book over the past 18 years of my life, and I know introductions to the books can take an entire chapter to complete, but for some reason in all the different attempts to start my novel I finish the entire introduction within 1-2 pages. I ignored it and moved on, to realize I had written a large portion of my story in a small amount of pages.

    Does anyone have any tips to avoid this?
     
  2. Kwills79

    Kwills79 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2017
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    11
    I am not a novel writer, so take this for what it's worth! I also have the same problem you do though, and it happens even when I'm trying to wrote short children's stories, or essays, or what-have-you. I think the secret is in the details. So you have your plot line and you know exactly where you want it to go. So you go there. But there are a thousand little things that make a story a visual experience for the reader and this is what makes writing so hard (in my opinion). I would recommend writing your rough draft just to get it down on the page, and then go back and really re-work each paragraph to see what you can add to make it really come alive. Authors like Barbara Kingsolver are extremely good at this, so reading some of her books (or even just a few paragraphs) might be helpful. Another tip I've gotten is to carry a journal around with you so that if you see something funny or just something that stands out to you (like a funny bumper sticker, or the way a person is dressed, or the way a street fair looks to you), you can jot down the details of it and then use it in a later story. I hope that helps!
     
  3. surrealscenes

    surrealscenes Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2017
    Messages:
    314
    Likes Received:
    206
    Location:
    a room made of impossible angles
    My suggestion is to go back to what other things you learned in screenwriting. Go the very traditional route with a 3 act structure with 7 or so points in each act. A way to flesh out more writing is to figure out how all these characters interact and influence each other. Think visually and write visually but don't get bogged down in the details. Once you are adding dialog, your page count should grow.
     
  4. DeeDee

    DeeDee New Member

    Joined:
    Tuesday
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    14
    Not all books are the same length. You can fit about 10 "Bridges of Madison County" in one "Lord of the Rings" :D But if "B.M.C." was 10 times longer I doubt it would have been as wonderful :love: So there's no point in just comparing how many pages a story takes up. Maybe what you're writing is not even a novel but a novella, or a short story. Write the thing first, and only then go back and check if there are not enough words. You could start thinking about stuff like: Does the action happen faster than it fits the story? Is there enough description? Are there enough things happening in the story? All those have different solutions. If your story runs ahead way too fast - for example, if your character has to go on a blind date in a bar, does the whole date happen in one paragraph? That might be a bit too fast and might need expanding. Then start thinking if enough of the room is described? Are there enough little details to make the place spring to life for the reader? Is there enough to tell them who the characters are, what they think, how they feel? And are there enough things happening during the characters encounter to make it worth reading about? Do they just meet, say hello, talk about the weather? Or, does anything else happen? Maybe an old girlfriend appears and makes a scene. Maybe wine is spilled. There are lots of ways to boost wordcount and fill pages :write:
     
    Fiender_ and Kwills79 like this.
  5. Fiender_

    Fiender_ Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2017
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    51
    I usually write very scarce scenes. Not intentionally, but when I'm first putting a story down, that's just how I write. It's almost entirely dialogue and basic action. On later passes through a manuscript, I'll add internal dialogue, descriptions, and flair up any dialogue and action (though that doesn't always mean making it longer). And first drafts are usually very different and a lot weaker than later drafts, so I'd suggest not worrying about it too much. Put in what you can in the first draft, and worry about the rest when you're done. :)
     
    GlitterRain7 likes this.
  6. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,952
    Likes Received:
    6,282
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    Either you have a novella on your hands or you might consider reading up on how to build characters and setting. Do your characters have any depth? Why are they who they are, what are their inner and outer goals? Is the world in this story fully explored?

    It should never be "filler" it should be text that builds and moves the story forward.
     
  7. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    221
    Likes Received:
    124
    I find I get some expansion by reviewing for 'telling instead of showing' when I do my 2nd draft.

    "Joe got frustrated," can be replaced with:

    "Joe squinted. He balled up his fists, flex, relax, flex, relax. He closed his eyes and tilted his head up, muttering 'Ninety-nine, ninety-eight, ninety-seven...' "

    Personally, I have the Gift of the Gab, and it comes out on paper, too, so my challenge is going from the other direction: shaving down the first draft's verbal diarrhea into something more digestible.

    (Edite: OK, I reread that last bit, and that was a terrible analogy)
     
    GingerCoffee likes this.
  8. izzybot

    izzybot Oportet Vivere Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    1,840
    Likes Received:
    2,353
    Location:
    SC, USA
    Pacing is definitely one of the trickier aspects of writing, at least for me. Especially since this is your first project, I wouldn't worry about word or page count that much - worry about telling the story. If you finish it really quickly, great! Now you have a first draft. Having something finished that you can tinker with is better than having nothing and just spinning your wheels over how you can improve that nothing.

    My advice would be to just continue writing. My first 'novel' was thirteen pages long, and trust me, it sucked - but I got the barebones of the story out. You can build up the meat of it later. And in doing that, you'll get better at figuring out what you need to do add that meat in on the first go-round.
     
    GlitterRain7 likes this.

Share This Page