Are you an underwriter? Are you close to finishing your book, but shocked to find that the word count isn't as much as you thought it would be? Some authors have the unfortunate problem of writing scenes only to find their too short or going off of an outline, only to find out that their novel is really a novella. This can be troublesome because a short novel can frustrate readers. How do you go about lengthening your novel during the editing phase? Read on for my top three tips.
Note: If you find that the opposite is true, and your novel is much too long instead, check out another blog post I did - Three Tips to Help You Shorten Your Novel.
-Examine Your Characters: As writers, it's easy for us to get into our character's heads and be in tune with their emotions. However, readers can't read our minds. If we don't explicitly show a character's true thoughts, feelings, or emotions, then the reader will be lost. Go back through your novel and add action, emotional responses, and dialogue to help your readers connect with your characters. Also, don't forget to use your character's body language. Don't just state their reaction to things, but show it.
-Make Your Scenes Count: A scene should always have a purpose. Ask yourself: What is my character's goal and what is standing in the way of my character achieving that goal? How can I create tension in this chapter? Is my character conflicted inwardly, outwardly, or both? Am I accurately and clearly relaying this information to my readers? Remember, if a scene doesn't hold true purpose then it's best to cut it.
-Pay Attention to the Little Things: Sometimes, as writers, we fail to pay attention to little details such as the setting or the timing for each chapter or scene. Ask yourself: What is the time of day? Where are my characters currently located? How much time has passed since the last scene? Do my scenes effortlessly flow? In addition, remember to show rather than tell. Use your character's five scenes. Is it morning time and have they woken up hungry due to an early dinner the night before? Are they outside watching the sunset after a defeating battle? Doing this will improve your novel and help immerse your reader into the story.
*Tip: Critique partners and beta readers can help with this process! Ask them to read over your novel and make suggestions on areas where you could expand your scenes or chapters to bring more detail into your story.
I hope this blog post was helpful in helping you lengthen your novel. If you have any other questions, or additional tips, please leave them in the comments down below!