Coming Up Short, Or: Size Doesn't Matter

We here at Olivia Waite talk a lot, and write accordingly. But sometimes, particularly during NaNoWriMo, it turns out that the plot we thought was perfectly novel-length is more in the range of a short story. What do you do when you're worried you don't have 50,000 words of material?

A list of possible suggestions:

  • Add a subplot involving time-travel, or doomsday devices, or anything where you will have to devote pages and pages of text to explaining how the device works and where it came from.
  • Add a subplot where a second voice breaks in and explains this novel is being dictated by a crazy kidnapper and they are being held hostage in a basement and for the love of god would somebody please send help? Don't send help.
  • Describe everything -- a solution which may in fact lead you to discover something that should have been in the novel all along.
  • Add gratuitous sex scenes. In addition to the non-gratuitous, perfectly justified-by-the-characters-and-plot sex scenes your novel already contains, of course.
  • Write straight through to the end, pick a secondary character, and start the story over from that character's perspective. Also known as the Orson Scott Card Solution (hi, Bean!).
  • Write straight through to the end, and then start on the sequel. Publish them in tête-bêche format like the old Ace Doubles.
  • Write straight through to the end, and then start another story. Nobody will hate you: some stories don't need to be lengthy. A Christmas Carol was never meant to be Moby-Dick.

Happy writing!