Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Making a short novel long (My Writing Journey, Part #9)

It's challenging to write about a journey you're still on. That's the way I feel about my writing journey so far. The last time I wrote, I had just started submitting my manuscript to publishers. I could go on and on about this leg of the trip.

Eventually I realized I needed to lengthen my 67K manuscript. So I went back over it adding 10K. This is actually an interesting point. How to make a short manuscript longer. I've come up with a few steps that helped me:

1. Look for places where you’ve summarized a scene. Dramatize it instead.

2. Look for scenes where a character has a lot of interior monologue. Bring in a second character for them to talk with.

3. Look for time gaps. What happens in them that you could make into a scene?

4. Add another character. Perhaps someone your main character doesn’t want to see, or wasn’t expecting to see.

5. Add a subplot. Are there any existing characters you could give scenes? Maybe your villain?

So writers and readers ... what say you?

==============
The CFBA blog tour this week is for Robert Liparulo's Deadfall.

Read a great review of the book here.
And read an interview I did with Robert awhile back here.

6 comments:

Kathie said...

You've got some great ideas for adding length to a mss. Wonderful. Enjoyed visiting.
Blessings from Costa Rica

Peg Brantley said...

I think your first one has the greatest potential for impact. I know I tend to write "sparingly" and sometimes that's a good thing.

Other times, the idea of digging a bit below the surface is scary. But, (and I know you already know this C.J.), that's where the power is.

Peg.

Rachelle G. said...

Great post. Adding content is an interesting problem consider most writers are told to cut, not lengthen. Your ideas are all good ones. I usually recommend #1. Most novels can use more scenes, not more narrative.

First time visiting your blog... I'll be back!

Nicole said...

Lengthening is never my problem. It took me some time to define my writing, but it was an epiphany to realize I write "sagas". Not exactly the current trend in CBA novels.

Christina Berry said...

We like to point this out to each other in our critique group. If there's a short bit of telling to move the story forward but we all want to see it "on screen," it gives the author a place to add words.

C.J. Darlington said...

Thanks for all your great comments, ladies! And welcome, Rachelle. :)