Author Topic: Story, novel or novella?  (Read 6315 times)

Anthony Creamer

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on: October 16, 2016, 01:52:45 PM
Just out of curiosity at what point do you guys consider the tipping point for changing the scope of your work of fiction?

I've been fiddling with a story and as I've fleshed it out I realised I had about 13,000 words and I'm only through 1/3 of the story. If any of you have had stories that turned into novels at which point did you say, "oh, no no no, this needs some chapters"? Or maybe you went the opposite way and slashed portions to bring it down to a more manageable length.

I'm curious about process, what others tend to do, I usually end up slashing things myself because I don't have the time to commit to a novel.


Chicken Ghost

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Reply #1 on: February 12, 2017, 03:58:53 AM
I've had three story ideas (and early drafts) which I eventually realized would only work as novels (not necessarily long ones, though).  I think the tipping point was when I started having  multiple scenes of multiple pages each in a bunch of settings which I knew I'd have to return to again.  Not any arbitrary number, just the realization that the complexity was getting out of control. 


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Reply #2 on: June 05, 2017, 09:41:15 PM
I've had stories that I knew were really novels, and I've abandoned them. I'm just not ready to write that length of a story yet. However, the word count for novellas can be anywhere from 17.5 - 40k words, so there's no reason to abandon *your* story if you're not committed. I guess it depends on what kind of a writer you are, how much you love the story if you want to pursue it.


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Reply #3 on: September 07, 2017, 01:54:20 PM
Everyone's process is different, but I'd say tell the story you want to tell, regardless of length. Once it's done, then you can look for extraneous (or necessary) narratives, characters, plots, etc. I've always found it FAR easier to cut than to add, so I tend to let my stories stretch a little (before crushing the life from them in the editorial process).

Having said that, that approach certainly won't work for everyone. I know a lot of authors who start off with a solid outline or an end in mind. On the flip side, I know a lot who just start writing and see what pops out. The trick is, as in everything about writing, finding the strategy that works for you. Not great advice, I know, but speaking from experience, no amount of advice, seminars, panels, workshops, and discussion can wholly make up for the amount of trial-and-error it's going to take to find the best way for YOU to write.


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Reply #4 on: September 26, 2017, 09:11:14 AM
A story has a natural length. Write what it needs to be, then worry about the size of the thing? Writing to a particular word count is likely to hamper the flow.

That said, cutting is probably easier than bulking up, and in this age, length isn't quite so important as it used to be - at least, if you're self publishing, as how thick is an e-book is not a commonly asked question!

Good luck.


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Reply #5 on: December 18, 2017, 08:10:28 AM
Have you considered turning it into a graphic novel? It can work if you can find an artist to collaborate with.