Sunday, March 17, 2013

Length, length, length...

When we all start writing, we write what I like to call, "story starts." Little short one to ten page beginnings of novels. Right? It's not such a bad place to begin, but sometimes, it's easy to get stuck writing story starts. It can seem like no matter what, you just can't write more than a few pages on a story... you lose interest, you think of a new story, etc. etc. Don't worry, we get it. And I just wanted to let you know, you won't be stuck there forever. Almost every author starts out that way.

To start, here's an idea that will help you control the NEW ideas that constantly bombard you.

The new ideas will never stop coming, It's one of the hassles of being an author... you get inspired, you think of something... that's just the way it is. But, when you're working on a story, and a new idea hits you, it can distract you, and derail you. So, when this happens, try this: get a notebook, any notebook, hard-bound, spiral... it really doesn't matter... and each time a new idea comes to you, rather than beginning another "story-start," write down a short synopsis of the idea in the notebook.

Now, how do you actually write a story that's longer than say... 10 pages?

Hmmm... haha. Yup. I know. Not easy. Quite naturally, when you first begin writing, a 300 page novel seems absolutely impossible. Especially, well, let me just say that the number of pages you type in Word will not match up with a book format. You'll have to start judging the length of your book by word count. For every ~350 words, you have 1 page. So take your word count and divide it by 350 to get an approximate page count. But really, don't expect to write a 300 page novel right off the back. Write until the story stops telling itself to you (this is an idea from CS Lewis - Chronicles of Narnia). The more you practice... yes, practice... writing, the easier the story will come. When you look back and compare the word counts of the stories you've written in chronological order, you'll see a steady climb. Other than that, here's some basic tricks...
  • take time to tuck in details about the setting (but beware of dropping huge dull paragraphs of scenery)
  • describe the character's physical reactions (facial, hands, feet... you get the picture)
  • describe the character's thought process. 
These are the kinds of things that will fill out a scene... and when you write a scene, remember that each scene has a point to it that drives the plot. Say that Johnny brings a puppy home because he's searching for friends. He and his mother conflict... she doesn't want a dog in the house. So, Johnny is driven to look elsewhere. Meaningful scenes will help to drive your plot and send the story somewhere.

Happy writing =)

No comments:

Post a Comment