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Lestrade 09-29-2012 10:31 PM

Harry Potter was initially aimed at kids, so the shorter length made sense. The books sort of got longer and darker as the target audience did, and honestly by the time the fourth one came out Rowling could've written basically anything she wanted because she was raking in the dough ^_^*

I will say, as a fantasy writer, that worldbuilding in a short span of pages can be REALLY REALLY HARD. When I turned my NaNo into a short story the single hardest aspect of doing that was figuring out how much of the backstory of the world and the races to leave in and how to go about getting that information across without just infodumping.

Quiet Man Cometh 09-29-2012 10:48 PM

Yeah. In short stories the space you can devote to setting the stage is minimal so one needs to find little tricks to develop the environment while simultaneously moving the stories along. If course, I write thing that are very short. I'm lucky if I manage over 1000 words so I need to keep stuff as concise as possible, or maybe it's just my habit to do that.

As a result, I find that I often leave out things that don't influence the story directly, such as the appearance of the characters, unless the opportunity to sneak it in comes up. For instance, a character removing his hat and scratching his head is an excuse to say that he has black curls, and a hat.

Suzerain of Sheol 09-29-2012 11:23 PM

I've never attempted a fantasy short story for that very reason. All my shorts seem to end up being these postmodern, stream of consciousness, self-reflective explorations of the Hard Problem of Consciousness. >_>

But even in the larger fantasy stories I've worked on, I am extremely sparse with details. I think it's something I picked up from Erikson, come to think of it. I'm an addict of show-don't-tell and will only include a setting reference if it follows logically in the narrative. I'd rather throw the reader in over their head and let them sink or swim on the natural references that arise in the flow of the story than deal with info-dumps of any kind. Which is why I struggle with length, my stuff ends up coming out so to-the-point that it simply doesn't take up the kind of space that's commonly seen in fantasies where you're dealing with heavy explanations of the setting.

I've been getting better about it, though. I'm not exactly sure what changed, by chapters have gone from barely 2k words to 4-5k lately, which is a much more reasonable length for a novel.

I really struggle with my main novel, as it literally features 7 characters, major and minor, which doesn't leave a whole lot of room for "Let's go see what he's up to, now" digressions. It follows one story straight through from beginning to end, and ends up feeling very fast, I fear, because of it. Does something need to be long to feel "epic"? I'm honestly not sure.

Quiet Man Cometh 09-29-2012 11:36 PM

This is where I come in and say that chapters in War and Peace averaged abotu two pages. :p. and that one in particular was half a page. But then, reading it I got the impression that Tolstoy used chapters where most people would use paragraphs. As soon as the focus changed to a new character or a new event, new chapter!

Coda 09-30-2012 12:11 PM

Suze, NaNo isn't INTENDED for you. Your reactions to the concept are exactly the indication that you are outside the target audience. NaNo is intended to get non-writers and amateur writers to get past the blank page and produce something when they've never produced anything of that scale before. You, on the other hand, aren't an amateur writer; you're experienced (regardless of whether or not you've been published, which I don't know one way or the other) and you've developed the ability to write a sufficient amount of words given a subject to write about.

As for me, I've attempted NaNo twice.

The first time I did it, I succeeded -- barely. My final submission was 50,001 words, checked in just hours before the deadline. I was actually looking for ways to pad my word count by just a word here and there in order to get it past the breakpoint.

The second time, I came in with a better idea on a grander scale. The first attempt, I just wrote a narrative that connected a bunch of not-really-related short stories about several of my RP characters. The second attempt, I decided I was going to try for an essay -- 50,000 words of a wizard's thesis on his concept for a grand unifying theory on the workings of magic. Unfortunately, that year I ended up being very busy in November, and wasn't able to finish it. I still have the draft, a little shy of 16,000 words, and I'm proud of what I have (I'm particularly proud of how well I was able to characterize the writer), but it's not likely I'll ever finish it.

That was my senior year of college. After that I've been employed full-time with a family to care for. I don't entertain any notions of having enough free time to dedicate the hours of ANY one month into writing a novella. If I had that kind of time I would be pursuing more relaxing hobbies and/or spending time with my family.

Quiet Man Cometh 10-02-2012 05:48 AM

The challenge for me will be seeing if I can swing a feasible topic between now and then. I have so many writing false starts it's not funny. I might be able to manage the word count in rejected writing. ;)

Lestrade 10-02-2012 05:48 PM

The website relaunched last night! I'm starting to get excited.

Quiet Man Cometh 10-02-2012 07:56 PM

I'll have a look! I've always treated NaNoWriMo as something to tag along with on my own, never really looked at it formally.

Mika 10-10-2012 03:32 AM

Oh right! NaNoWriMo is next month!

Amethyst 10-10-2012 09:22 PM

I tried the last three years... But I always get distracted or overwhelmed with the storyline ans give up.><

Quiet Man Cometh 10-21-2012 07:04 AM

Sigh. No thoughts yet and November is too close for comfort! Is it writer's block if you have no ideas in your head to begin with?

Lestrade 10-21-2012 10:07 PM

Hmm, have you tried a prompt generator or anything?

Quiet Man Cometh 10-21-2012 10:23 PM

Don't really know of any. Never thought about it. The snag with shorts is that the plotline generally needs to be quite precise to make it workable, or at least for me. I'm not even settled on genre really, but I think I would like to do something fantasy leaning, even if it's only slightly speculative. Blah. Maybe should work on poetry for a bit but that isn't helping much either. -.-

EDIT: problem solved. :). Well, problem solved some time ago but only just got around to logging back in. I have an old story sort of thing with a couple characters I was playing around with while at a writer's retreat that I've never really worked into anything formal. I should get back into that. Magic Realism rather than fantasy but I find I tend to like that better sometimes.

Arikana 10-24-2012 11:16 PM

Never tried it cause I was too lazy to attempt it. >w>

But I'm thinking of using this to keep at writing my fanfiction. So I'd just make note of the word count I'm currently add, and make sure I make whatever + 50k would make it. I just gotta remember to write. But if it really came down to the deadline and I still needed many thousands of words, I'd just buckle down and find a way to squeeze in 50k before the deadline. >w> I'm all about pulling all nighters to make deadlines, and surprisingly I can edit pretty well during them. owo

Tears 11-14-2012 03:12 AM

I'm participating in it in a unconventional way. Instead of actually writing a whole story, I'm writing 100 drabbles, each at least 500 words. My purpose for this is to explore my characters before I actually write the novel for next year's Nanowrimo.

Quiet Man Cometh 11-15-2012 01:26 PM

I completely forgot about this and my plans for it, but I make a point of trying to send some stuff out to magazines in November for other reasons besides NaNoWriMo. I have a couple that I want to send some poems and what-not to and if I can get at least two out I will consider it a productive month.

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