Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

315
Banjo Lovers Online


Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!

Page: 1  2   Last Page (2) 

Sep 20, 2020 - 8:06:30 AM
1453 posts since 4/13/2017

I have been writing a story. I think it has a good plot, but it's not as long as I'd like it to be, and I'm about 60% done fulfilling the plot. It will probably end up being about 20,000 words, but I want it to be more like 50,000. If you're interested in reading this story and telling me how to make it better and lengthen it, email me. Thanks.

Sep 20, 2020 - 8:19:17 AM
like this

Owen

Canada

6495 posts since 6/5/2011

Have you considered double spacing?   

 

[Sorry, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to be a smart azz.  I trust others will have


something more worthwhile to offer. 

 

By gunder!!    I think I'm onto something here!   devil ] 

 

... I wish you success and hope it all works out in the end.

Edited by - Owen on 09/20/2020 08:19:50

Sep 20, 2020 - 8:40:44 AM
like this

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

24974 posts since 8/3/2003

Add another sub plot to the story and that'll help fill out your extra words, as you'll have a mini-story within your original one. Would that work?

Sep 20, 2020 - 8:57:36 AM
likes this

55731 posts since 12/14/2005

I'd be glad to read and offer free advice.
Already done so for 3 other OutHangers.
PM sent.

Also, free advice about length:

Longer isn't ALWAYS better.

There's enough information in about 11 verses of Bob Dylan's  "Rosemary, Lily, and the Jack of Hearts" to make a full length movie.

And the same goes for Townes  VanZandt's "Poncho and Lefty"

Are you familiar with what was presented as the world's SHORTEST Sci-Fi horror story?


"The last man on Earth sat alone in a room.
There was a knock on the door."


Until some other author said they could beat that by ONE keystroke:

"The last man on Earth sat alone in a room.
There was a lock on the door."

Sep 20, 2020 - 9:45:41 AM
likes this
Players Union Member

Brian T

Canada

17100 posts since 6/5/2008

Take another look at your story outline.
As Sherry suggests, can you see to adding a sub plot, a flash-back, a back-story?
That won't double your word count, not even close.
But it's something you can refer to, later on.

Don't bore us with verbage.

Sep 20, 2020 - 9:54:24 AM

1453 posts since 4/13/2017

Ya know what, I decided to just post the link here so anyone can chime in advice rather than having to email me...

my.w.tt/zxvj9OdlV9

Sep 20, 2020 - 11:38:09 AM

J e f f

USA

3358 posts since 12/16/2009

Don't be concerned with word count. 20,000 words = novella. You're writing a novella.

Sep 20, 2020 - 11:50:37 AM

9666 posts since 8/22/2006

Last man on earth sat stoned in a room.
There was a knock at the door.

Title of the book

“ Paranoid Dreams”

broadway showing staring 

Dennis Hopper

reprises his character from Apocalypse Now

Edited by - 5B-Ranch on 09/20/2020 11:53:48

Sep 20, 2020 - 12:17:19 PM
like this

kww

USA

610 posts since 6/21/2008

Why 50K? That's an extremely odd and difficult to market length. 20K is prime short-story material. Sources vary on optimum thriller novel length: some say 70K-90K, others say 80K-110K.

As for me, I target 90K to 100K, but I specifically and only write horror novels. I target that length because more than half of horror novels written fall in that range. I get that length by identifying a number of subplots: specific plot threads involving groups of characters. Each subplot gets allocated to a specific group of my five acts. I write each subplot to a natural length, then interweave them. If I come up short, I stretch and add subplots until I make length.

So, I'll echo some of the advice above: if what you have is a short story idea, then focus on making that the best possible short story you can write. Make it a little gem you can be proud of. If it grows or shrinks a bit, no problem. If in that polishing you get an inspiration for a novel, then write the novel, but there's nothing wrong with a good short story.

Sep 20, 2020 - 1:58:17 PM

262 posts since 10/4/2018

Melville quoted large sections of Whaling books in Moby Dick. I don't know if you have any whales in your book, but it might be worthwhile to put some in. It worked for Herman. Or maybe a character can stammer or maybe have Tourette's Syndrome.

Edited by - Good Buddy on 09/20/2020 14:01:34

Sep 20, 2020 - 2:02:11 PM
like this

kww

USA

610 posts since 6/21/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Good Buddy

Melville quoted large sections of Whaling books in Moby Dick. I don't know if you have any whales in your book, but it might be worthwhile to put some in. It worked for Herman. Or maybe a character can stammer or maybe have Tourettes Syndrome.


My brother claimed the secret to surviving Moby Dick was to skip all even-numbered chapters, as they were just whaling instruction.

Sep 20, 2020 - 2:09:02 PM

262 posts since 10/4/2018

quote:
Originally posted by kww
quote:
Originally posted by Good Buddy

Melville quoted large sections of Whaling books in Moby Dick. I don't know if you have any whales in your book, but it might be worthwhile to put some in. It worked for Herman. Or maybe a character can stammer or maybe have Tourettes Syndrome.


My brother claimed the secret to surviving Moby Dick was to skip all even-numbered chapters, as they were just whaling instruction.


Your brother is a very wise man. Moby Dick is probably the most boring universally loved book on Earth. 

Sep 20, 2020 - 2:14:20 PM
like this

figmo59

USA

31891 posts since 3/5/2008
Online Now

Man you came to the right place to ask....
I been Crawtweeked....

18 ways from Sunday on this fourm... :0/... ;0)

Sep 20, 2020 - 2:50:35 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

23976 posts since 6/25/2005

If you don't already have it, get and read through The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White. It has clear advice about pretty much everythiing you need to kknow about good writing.

https://www.amazon.com/William-Strunk-Jr/e/B000AQ6TSQ?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1600638434&sr=8-3

Sep 20, 2020 - 3:42:23 PM
like this

J e f f

USA

3358 posts since 12/16/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

If you don't already have it, get and read through The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White. It has clear advice about pretty much everythiing you need to kknow about good writing.

https://www.amazon.com/William-Strunk-Jr/e/B000AQ6TSQ?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1600638434&sr=8-3


That will decrease his word count. smiley

Sep 20, 2020 - 5:20:39 PM
likes this

Banjo Lefty

Canada

1997 posts since 6/19/2014

50,000 words is an unusual length. It would make an extremely long short story or an extremely short novel, and it would help to know which of the two, novel or short story, you are writing. They are differentiated by more than just length. A short story revolves around a single incident, usually affecting only one character, although sometimes there can be more than one (see O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi"). The story arc reveals how the incident affects that character.

A novel, by contrast, centres on the relationship between two (or more) characters and shows us how that relationship changes over time. For example, a murder mystery covers the relationship between the murderer and the Great Detective; when it begins, the murderer has the upper hand and the detective knows nothing, but, by the end, the detective knows all and the murderer is caught, killed, or has committed suicide.

We occasionally mischaracterize certain works. "The Red Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane is often thought of as a novella, but it's really a long short story. On the other hand, something about the same length, such as "The Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad, is sometime classified as a lengthy short story, but it is truly a novel because the arc involves the evolving relationship between Marlow and Kurtz.

Before I retired to pick banjo, I was a lawyer, but before that I taught English to grade 12 students for many years. My advice to you is to know what you are trying to say, and then pick the format that best suits your idea, rather than the other way around.

Sep 20, 2020 - 6:10:22 PM

1453 posts since 4/13/2017

quote:
Originally posted by Banjo Lefty

50,000 words is an unusual length. It would make an extremely long short story or an extremely short novel, and it would help to know which of the two, novel or short story, you are writing. They are differentiated by more than just length. A short story revolves around a single incident, usually affecting only one character, although sometimes there can be more than one (see O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi"). The story arc reveals how the incident affects that character.

A novel, by contrast, centres on the relationship between two (or more) characters and shows us how that relationship changes over time. For example, a murder mystery covers the relationship between the murderer and the Great Detective; when it begins, the murderer has the upper hand and the detective knows nothing, but, by the end, the detective knows all and the murderer is caught, killed, or has committed suicide.

We occasionally mischaracterize certain works. "The Red Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane is often thought of as a novella, but it's really a long short story. On the other hand, something about the same length, such as "The Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad, is sometime classified as a lengthy short story, but it is truly a novel because the arc involves the evolving relationship between Marlow and Kurtz.

Before I retired to pick banjo, I was a lawyer, but before that I taught English to grade 12 students for many years. My advice to you is to know what you are trying to say, and then pick the format that best suits your idea, rather than the other way around.


In this story, I am sort of developing relationships between people. I'm just about to reach the point where the reader would be like, "WHAT THE HECK?!?!?! WHO WOULD'VE KNOWN!!!" after this point, I won't have much left, and it's approximately 17,000. I'd guess I will finish the whole thing at 25,000, maybe 27,000. Then by the time I go back and maybe add some more detail or back story, it may top out at 30,000. 

I also plan to write a second one to introduce new characters and build those relationships, as well as provide a bit more information on questions I purposefully left unanswered in the first one.

Sep 20, 2020 - 6:31:09 PM
likes this

bubbalouie

Canada

14257 posts since 9/27/2007

quote:
Originally posted by figmo59

Man you came to the right place to ask....
I been Crawtweeked....

18 ways from Sunday on this fourm... :0/... ;0)


I've had highly edjumucated banjo players correct my spelling too !

Sep 20, 2020 - 6:43:17 PM

kww

USA

610 posts since 6/21/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Lemon Banjos
quote:
Originally posted by Banjo Lefty

50,000 words is an unusual length. It would make an extremely long short story or an extremely short novel, and it would help to know which of the two, novel or short story, you are writing. They are differentiated by more than just length. A short story revolves around a single incident, usually affecting only one character, although sometimes there can be more than one (see O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi"). The story arc reveals how the incident affects that character.

A novel, by contrast, centres on the relationship between two (or more) characters and shows us how that relationship changes over time. For example, a murder mystery covers the relationship between the murderer and the Great Detective; when it begins, the murderer has the upper hand and the detective knows nothing, but, by the end, the detective knows all and the murderer is caught, killed, or has committed suicide.

We occasionally mischaracterize certain works. "The Red Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane is often thought of as a novella, but it's really a long short story. On the other hand, something about the same length, such as "The Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad, is sometime classified as a lengthy short story, but it is truly a novel because the arc involves the evolving relationship between Marlow and Kurtz.

Before I retired to pick banjo, I was a lawyer, but before that I taught English to grade 12 students for many years. My advice to you is to know what you are trying to say, and then pick the format that best suits your idea, rather than the other way around.


In this story, I am sort of developing relationships between people. I'm just about to reach the point where the reader would be like, "WHAT THE HECK?!?!?! WHO WOULD'VE KNOWN!!!" after this point, I won't have much left, and it's approximately 17,000. I'd guess I will finish the whole thing at 25,000, maybe 27,000. Then by the time I go back and maybe add some more detail or back story, it may top out at 30,000. 

I also plan to write a second one to introduce new characters and build those relationships, as well as provide a bit more information on questions I purposefully left unanswered in the first one.


More than one novel is actually three stories with some framework around them. If you have a second story planned (and perhaps a third) and really want to have something you can market as a novel, that's an approach worth looking at. I'd take a look at the various sources about three-act structures and think about what order you would put your stories in.

Sep 20, 2020 - 6:48:04 PM

1453 posts since 4/13/2017

quote:
Originally posted by kww
quote:
Originally posted by Lemon Banjos
quote:
Originally posted by Banjo Lefty

50,000 words is an unusual length. It would make an extremely long short story or an extremely short novel, and it would help to know which of the two, novel or short story, you are writing. They are differentiated by more than just length. A short story revolves around a single incident, usually affecting only one character, although sometimes there can be more than one (see O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi"). The story arc reveals how the incident affects that character.

A novel, by contrast, centres on the relationship between two (or more) characters and shows us how that relationship changes over time. For example, a murder mystery covers the relationship between the murderer and the Great Detective; when it begins, the murderer has the upper hand and the detective knows nothing, but, by the end, the detective knows all and the murderer is caught, killed, or has committed suicide.

We occasionally mischaracterize certain works. "The Red Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane is often thought of as a novella, but it's really a long short story. On the other hand, something about the same length, such as "The Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad, is sometime classified as a lengthy short story, but it is truly a novel because the arc involves the evolving relationship between Marlow and Kurtz.

Before I retired to pick banjo, I was a lawyer, but before that I taught English to grade 12 students for many years. My advice to you is to know what you are trying to say, and then pick the format that best suits your idea, rather than the other way around.


In this story, I am sort of developing relationships between people. I'm just about to reach the point where the reader would be like, "WHAT THE HECK?!?!?! WHO WOULD'VE KNOWN!!!" after this point, I won't have much left, and it's approximately 17,000. I'd guess I will finish the whole thing at 25,000, maybe 27,000. Then by the time I go back and maybe add some more detail or back story, it may top out at 30,000. 

I also plan to write a second one to introduce new characters and build those relationships, as well as provide a bit more information on questions I purposefully left unanswered in the first one.


More than one novel is actually three stories with some framework around them. If you have a second story planned (and perhaps a third) and really want to have something you can market as a novel, that's an approach worth looking at. I'd take a look at the various sources about three-act structures and think about what order you would put your stories in.


What word count (ballpark) would you suggest for each story if I wanted to go that route?

Sep 20, 2020 - 6:55:58 PM

kww

USA

610 posts since 6/21/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Lemon Banjos
quote:
Originally posted by kww

More than one novel is actually three stories with some framework around them. If you have a second story planned (and perhaps a third) and really want to have something you can market as a novel, that's an approach worth looking at. I'd take a look at the various sources about three-act structures and think about what order you would put your stories in.


What word count (ballpark) would you suggest for each story if I wanted to go that route?


Get the total into the 80K-90K range. That's the sweet spot for your genre. Doesn't matter much if it's three 27K stories or a 27K, a 50K, and a 10K story. The three-act structure will be easier if you have the middle story be the longest one.

Sep 20, 2020 - 7:08:31 PM

1453 posts since 4/13/2017

quote:
Originally posted by kww
quote:
Originally posted by Lemon Banjos
quote:
Originally posted by kww

More than one novel is actually three stories with some framework around them. If you have a second story planned (and perhaps a third) and really want to have something you can market as a novel, that's an approach worth looking at. I'd take a look at the various sources about three-act structures and think about what order you would put your stories in.


What word count (ballpark) would you suggest for each story if I wanted to go that route?


Get the total into the 80K-90K range. That's the sweet spot for your genre. Doesn't matter much if it's three 27K stories or a 27K, a 50K, and a 10K story. The three-act structure will be easier if you have the middle story be the longest one.


I like this idea very much! My first reason for writing this was to get some feelings out I had (this was like, over a year ago). I didn't work on it anymore for about 8 months, then I started again and wrote more in like 2 months than I did in 3 before. Now, my main motive is to finish it, polish it, and enter it into one of those contests to win like $1000 and get your book published. I'd get recognition for it, as well as money to buy some tools to make banjo building a lot easier. Pretty unlikely I would win, but it's worth a shot haha.

Sep 20, 2020 - 7:12:43 PM

14898 posts since 12/2/2005

Ambrose Bierce (a very dark but very funny man) described a novel as "a short story, padded."

I do a lot of writing, both for publications and for clients. My goal is NEVER to make things longer. In fact, my goal is always to make them SHORTER.

If your story works at 20,000, see if you can get it down to 18,000. I find I can usually trim about 10% by getting rid of adjectives and adverbs that don't help move the story ahead.

If you feel you MUST hit 50,000 words, find a story that will initially take you 55,000 words to tell.

Hint: think how efficient in use of words most bluegrass songs are. Heck, they're not counting words - they're counting SYLLABLES, and the best of them use as few of those as they can to tell the story.

Sep 20, 2020 - 7:40:31 PM
like this

kww

USA

610 posts since 6/21/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Lemon Banjos
quote:
Originally posted by kww
quote:
Originally posted by Lemon Banjos
quote:
Originally posted by kww

More than one novel is actually three stories with some framework around them. If you have a second story planned (and perhaps a third) and really want to have something you can market as a novel, that's an approach worth looking at. I'd take a look at the various sources about three-act structures and think about what order you would put your stories in.


What word count (ballpark) would you suggest for each story if I wanted to go that route?


Get the total into the 80K-90K range. That's the sweet spot for your genre. Doesn't matter much if it's three 27K stories or a 27K, a 50K, and a 10K story. The three-act structure will be easier if you have the middle story be the longest one.


I like this idea very much! My first reason for writing this was to get some feelings out I had (this was like, over a year ago). I didn't work on it anymore for about 8 months, then I started again and wrote more in like 2 months than I did in 3 before. Now, my main motive is to finish it, polish it, and enter it into one of those contests to win like $1000 and get your book published. I'd get recognition for it, as well as money to buy some tools to make banjo building a lot easier. Pretty unlikely I would win, but it's worth a shot haha.


Don't let yourself get conned. I'm a relatively successful independent author: won a minor award, and, six years after publication, my first book still has a steady trickle of sales and I have a moderate fan base waiting for the sequel. For self-published, that's way ahead of the game. Traditional publishing requires representation and takes years, with a small chance of success but certainly greater reward. Contest publishing? Nearly universally run by con artists that are trying to bilk you.

Just remember the rule of conventional publishing: money always flows from the publisher to the author, never the other way around. Unless you are your own publisher, you shouldn't be paying anybody anything out of pocket.

In my case, since I am my own publisher, I have publication expenses: I pay for marketing, advertising, book tours, printing, everything. But I know what I'm doing, and I'm not paying consultant fees, opportunity fees, or any such garbage: just buying services just like any other small publisher.

Sep 21, 2020 - 6:39:32 AM
Players Union Member

rinemb

USA

12562 posts since 5/24/2005

I don't publish other than to friends and family. I have never written a story over 10,000 words. I have written many many short stories, for therapy and hobby. I often think about some of them that had potential for expanding to the range of novella or more, but I am too lazy to do that. I would rather start a story, knowing I am going long. Yet, there are originally published shorts, later turned novel length, as I recall?
My therapy and frustration is in play while editing, proof reading, for grammar, spelling, sentence structure...and more recently eliminating "ly" adverbs in earlier writings.
Good luck on your adventure. I like Kevin's approach. Other good advice offered as well.
Brad

Sep 21, 2020 - 7:06:07 AM

Banjo Lefty

Canada

1997 posts since 6/19/2014

I'll try again: you need to stop obsessing over your word count. Length is unimportant. What's important is the structure. What story are you trying to tell? You talk about describing the relationships between your characters. This is good, but ask yourself, are these relationships static, or do they change?

For example, in a typical novel about a love story, when the two principal characters meet, they usually hate each other. Gradually over time, through a number of different incidents, they come to understand their feelings for one another. By the end they are in love, but only at the end.

On the other hand, if what you are describing is a steady state -- the characters start out in love and stay that way through whatever adventure befalls them, then what you have is a short story. Nothing wrong with that -- there are lots of short story contests, some with substantial prizes and the possibility of publication, but your writing needs to be tight and efficient. Padding something out to 30,000 words that could be more effectively told at 18,000 will leave the reader cold. It's called bloat, and editors hate it.

Charles Dickens did it; he was paid by the word and wanted to squeeze as much income as he could out of his books, but he was published in series in a magazine, one (fat) chapter at a time, in an age that had no other diversions but reading -- no TV, no movies, no internet. Even so, try reading the opening to "A Tale of Two Cities," the one that starts "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," and so on through seven more comparisons before we even get out of the first paragraph. In fact, that entire first chapter in unnecessary, except that the writing is exceptional, almost poetic, and is considered a classic. If you can write like that, fine, otherwise, cut.

Page: 1  2   Last Page (2) 

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.3115234