How to make a novel longer


I wish I had the problem that some writers have of writing way too much and having to cut a ton of words out of my manuscript. I’m good at not including dead weight in the first place and have the opposite problem: sometimes I write too little.  If you’re like me and need help expanding your novel here are some suggestions.

-Add more details. What does the house look like? How does it smell?  What does it sound like?  Adding details where appropriate will beef up your novel.

-Add or expand on minor characters. How can you make the main character’s world more real? In earlier drafts of my novel One Night, Thompson my MC had no memorable co-workers. They were names without much personality. To make his work world more believable and entertaining I added a cast of quirky co-workers with their own issues/sub plots.

-Flashbacks. Where appropriate that is.  Unless this is a time travel story you don’t want a million flashbacks.  Readers care about what’s happening right now.  But flashbacks can be used to a reveal a character’s motivation and give insight into their choices.

-Vary sentence length.  Longer sentences interspersed with shorter ones can draw a story out and give the reader variety.

-Blow it out. If something major just happened let your character react to it, fully.  How are they feeling?  What are they thinking?  What is their next move?

-Add scenes if need be.  Does your main character grow and change too fast?  Add scenes.  Is the plot moving too quickly?  Add scenes. Of course they can’t be random and must serve the greater point of the novel.

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