Writing your first novel is a challenge. You may have a head full of fantastical ideas, but getting them down on paper is an entirely different story. One of the biggest obstacles that holds writers back is making the novel long enough. Fortunately, if you are facing this problem, the experts at Author Solutions have advice on how to boost your word count effectively. Let’s take a look at the highlights.
Take a narrative detour
Once you have determined what the main plot is, do you find yourself rushing to get the reader from A to B? If the answer is yes, you might want to stop and allow your story to take a narrative detour and explore some different routes. For example, you could add in a chapter that establishes a new relationship between two characters, or even a flashback scene that explains why two people have a fractious connection.
The truth of the matter is that there are plenty of paths your plot can take. “Instead of referring to the dinner party in passing, make the dinner party a separate chapter with stimulating conversation and which also develops your characters. In short, make your scenes more vertical,” suggest the experts at Author Solutions. Keep in mind that the detour should serve the greater story, rather than just boosting your word count. As you’re coming up with ideas for this part of your story, ask yourself: What does this tell the reader about the plot?
Add a little more conversation
Is there too much action in your novel? It’s a classic problem. Many writers find writing convincing dialogue difficult, and so end up with stories consisting of almost none. “Never underestimate the value of dialogue in helping you increase your word count. Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo is a 1200-page book told largely through dialogue,” say the experts at Author Solutions.
Well-used dialogue serves a treasure trove of purposes in literature. It can help you move the story along through the unique perspective of your characters. It can speed up the pace and action of scenes, cutting out all of the background details and getting readers straight to the point. Plus, it goes a long way toward showcasing the depth of relationships different characters have, both with each other and themselves.
Of course, if you’re new to writing conversations between characters, you may find the notion intimidating. Mastering this art takes time and dedication. To get started, you may find it helpful to listen to how real people interact with one another in a social setting. Take a notebook to a local cafe and simply listen to the people around you. You can make notes on the type of phrases people use and how they express themselves.
Create a few side plots
Think about your favorite novel. Can you give a summary of everything that happened in just a few lines? When you’ve covered the main plot points, turn your attention to the side stories. Few great works of literature focus solely on the main narrative. Instead, they have side stories that often include lesser characters or even characters that are never seen in the main story. Developing effective sub-plots takes creativity but it could help you bolster your word count while adding more color to your existing storylines.
You may want to consider your characters’ origin stories or the lives of characters that would otherwise remain in the background of the action. “The detective in your story may be finding clue after clue; but what about explaining why he had to leave his last city under a black cloud? Or the love affair that went awry? Or perhaps an old friend who surfaces and asks him for money or protection?” advise the experts at Author Solutions.
When you have drafted the main plot points of your central storyline, turn your attention to these side stories. How do they affect the characters in the rest of the story? Might they explain a character’s seemingly irrational behavior from scene to scene? Take some time to consider the implications of every new plotline you devise.
About Author Solutions
With more than 22 years of collective experience and 300,000 published books, Author Solutions is a leading self-publishing company. Serving six continents around the globe, the parent company helps writers realize their dreams of becoming authors, while the team of experts offer world-class care from start to finish.
The brand’s numerous imprints provide opportunities for new authors to be discovered by both traditional publishing companies and representatives within the entertainment industry. With a wealth of industry relations and endless support, Author Solutions has helped writers jump from self-publishing to film optioning or traditional publishing.