Fred Cole

I just can't make it long enough

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I'm having this problem. I'd like to produce a novel length work, but I can't seem to create a story long enough.

My first attempt was 50 pages. My second was 83.

Anyone have suggestions I how to make a longer work?

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I'm having this problem. I'd like to produce a novel length work, but I can't seem to create a story long enough.

My first attempt was 50 pages. My second was 83.

Anyone have suggestions I how to make a longer work?

Write in 50 point fonts and four inch margins.

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Fred,

I have studied a ton of methods and the best one I have encountered for length is the following: Dramatica.

Look around that site and read. There is oodles and oodles of stuff to learn and think about.

I really like the way they divide up character functions so they represent different parts of the brain. It's a wonderful concept of major length story.

I have only worked my way through 20% of the material and I am in awe of it.

I will be producing works of my own along these lines.

The only caveat is that sometimes the material gets dry. But if you push through it, the rewards are great. And if you are a gifted storyteller, you suddenly get deep structure that will carry you firmly across epic lengths.

Michael

btw - I'm moving this to Writing Techniques. (Suddenly there are a lot of new threads popping up in Creative Writing that are not fiction.)

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Fred,

I have studied a ton of methods and the best one I have encountered for length is the following: Dramatica.

Look around that site and read. There is oodles and oodles of stuff to learn and think about.

I really like the way they divide up character functions so they represent different parts of the brain. It's a wonderful concept of major length story.

I have only worked my way through 20% of the material and I am in awe of it.

I will be producing works of my own along these lines.

The only caveat is that sometimes the material gets dry. But if you push through it, the rewards are great. And if you are a gifted storyteller, you suddenly get deep structure that will carry you firmly across epic lengths.

Michael

btw - I'm moving this to Writing Techniques. (Suddenly there are a lot of new threads popping up in Creative Writing that are not fiction.)

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I'm having this problem. I'd like to produce a novel length work, but I can't seem to create a story long enough.

My first attempt was 50 pages. My second was 83.

Anyone have suggestions I how to make a longer work?

Write in 50 point fonts and four inch margins.

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Fred, length of any fiction created by a wordsmith must be directly proportional to complexity of the plot-theme. Suggestion one I offer is to rethink your plot(s).

The other suggestion involves which person to write in. First person novels (Private Eyes are famous for this) always come out with short books/stories - even with a number of red herrings showing up. The third person view, however, gets complex and lengthy very quickly - (Again, for the Private Eye genre, when the detective is just another protagonist in the book). These are devilishly difficult to write and still hold the interest of readers/potential readers - and doing so without red herrings - because all of a sudden time frames of action in the work loom in importance (Again consider the private eye. A murder victim can not meet up with a protagonist after he is dead.....). My bookkeeping of my sub-plots with place/date/time lines is a clumsy housekeeping task - there must be some software for sale that helps......

And finally, the words used by the wordsmith must be precise and the word count must absolutely be minimized and express the exact idea the wordsmith had intended or, once again, the reader will be pissed off and not buy your book/story.

Good luck.

Cecil

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My bookkeeping of my sub-plots with place/date/time lines is a clumsy housekeeping task - there must be some software for sale that helps......

Cecil,

Welcome to OL.

One of the very best programs I have found for this is also free: yWriter5. The link is to the CNET download site where there is an editor's review (a glowing one with 5 stars).

Here is the author's site: yWriter.

I'll be honest. I have been using version 4. I didn't even realize that version 5 was out (apparently it came out at the beginning of this month) until I looked for the links to respond to you. So now I am going to upgrade. It's a hell of a nice little program.

Here is a quote from the editor's review of version 4 (not linked so as to not confuse folks, but you can look it up on the CNET site):

The program required us to do a lot of prep work before we even wrote a word. However, we quickly learned that setting up databases of characters, settings, and scenes helped us down the road. Once we started filling out our chapter outlines and inputting the bulk of our text, we simply pulled the aforementioned people and places from their database to help create a heading that laid out the scene. Once chapters were written, we could click and drag their order and content around with ease. The only thing this program sorely lacked was a spell-check option. yWriter4 really hit its stride with its storyboard feature. This took all the character, location, and story information and created a flowchart that allowed us to see the dramatic peaks and valleys of our writing.

And here is a quote from version 5:

yWriter 5 is an unusual but interesting bit of freeware that takes a coder's approach to writing a novel. Simon Haynes, a bestselling novelist and programmer, developed it to help the aspiring author by automating many of the tasks common to fiction writing. It's basically a specialized word processor that breaks down the elements of a writing project into discrete pieces that can be refined individually and then strung together, much the way a coder approaches a large programming job. Chapters, scenes, characters, and plot elements can be defined, developed, edited, and automatically integrated into the project. You can even drag and drop elements such as new or altered characters or locations into the narrative. It won't suggest plot twists or offer creative suggestions, but it does help the writer focus on the creative process by looking after the housekeeping.

The program downloads and installs easily and free of adware and other malicious software (as is all software on Download.com). It also uses local config files, not the Windows Registry, so it's completely portable. The clean, businesslike interface resembles a spreadsheet more than a word processor, but you don't have to write in it--you can create content in your favorite program and use yWriter 5 to keep track of it. A PDF Quickstart Guide illustrated with many screen shots makes it easy to set up your first project. A sample project shows what yWriter 5 can do in the hands of an experienced writer.

Not only does yWriter5 do something no other software does that we're aware of, but it also does it well. It's completely free to download and use.

For some reason this text is dated 2009, but I am almost sure that is a typo, mainly because the program was added this month. I suggest you go to the link I gave and read the user reviews.

I am using another program called Inspiration. I absolutely love it, but it's not free. It's about 70 bucks. I use this more for nonfiction since you can bop back and forth between mindmaps or diagrams and full-text outlines. This makes it really easy to move stuff around, add in notes from research, etc. There are a lot of other goodies, too. As far as I am concerned, this is the one I have chosen to use from here on out for nonfiction. Oddly enough, it was originally designed for high-school students. But this is one adult who has no problem with that. I imagine Inspiration can be used well for fiction, too, but I haven't tried that yet.

btw - I am studying even another program for screenplays (and it even does comic books), it is free open source: Celtx. It has a great storyboard tool. I have a feeling that once I am intimate with it, it will be a keeper, too. You can access a bunch of kickass writing tutorials from that site. (I know you can do professional programs like Final Draft, etc., too, but those programs are usually expensive. I prefer the price of Celtx right now. :) And it does not look like it is lacking in anything.)

Michael

EDIT: Incidentally, here is a bunch of free stuff from the Dramatica people: Dramaticapedia. Take your lunch, though. You're gonna be a while...

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I'm having this problem. I'd like to produce a novel length work, but I can't seem to create a story long enough.

My first attempt was 50 pages. My second was 83.

Anyone have suggestions I how to make a longer work?

Perhaps writing short stories is your calling. It worked for O. Henry.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I'm having this problem. I'd like to produce a novel length work, but I can't seem to create a story long enough.

My first attempt was 50 pages. My second was 83.

Anyone have suggestions I how to make a longer work?

Perhaps writing short stories is your calling. It worked for O. Henry.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Yes, exactly. You do have to have a lot of plot ideas available, but if you can't fatten up, lean down.

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I'm having this problem. I'd like to produce a novel length work, but I can't seem to create a story long enough.

My first attempt was 50 pages. My second was 83.

Anyone have suggestions I how to make a longer work?

Perhaps writing short stories is your calling. It worked for O. Henry.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Yes, exactly. You do have to have a lot of plot ideas available, but if you can't fatten up, lean down.

I third this. I've read a lot of novels which obviously should have just been short stories and were stretched agonizingly out - they weren't good.

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