Skip to main content

Too Long or Too Short

     I hear writers complaining about their stories being too long or too short.  Particularly when you are writing for a contest or a specific genre that has a required wordcount, this can be a big deal.
     But the funny thing is: some writers find it easier to lengthen from their first draft and others prefer to shorten.
     For me, I find it easier to make a short story longer.  I think I'm a little bare-bones of a writer in my first draft, plus there is a lot of filler that happens in my brain and doesn't make it onto the paper.  In other words, I know the motives and scenes and backgrounds so well that I forget that my reader doesn't.  So when I send my stories out to betas, they tend to be caught off guard by how quickly a relationship buds or completely confused over why my king decided to go to war.  So I come back through and fill in the missing development and, voila, I have a decent story.
     Taking my long story and making it shorter is agony.  If you think I skimmed over the plot threads too quickly in my draft, you're really going to be lost in my shortened, edited version.  The only solution is to cut characters and the extra pieces of the plot that tie in at the end.  And that is no fun at all.  I honestly don't think I'm very good at it.
     But I have heard other writers say that they would rather write a super long draft and then polish it down to a nice story.  It brings to mind some nice collection of beautiful data, all written out and waiting for you.  Then you can simply look it all over and fit together the best pieces and, voila, you have a polished, streamlined, dazzling tale.
     I just have never had that happen so neatly for me in real life.  It goes so much more smoothly in my imagination.
     So which are you?  Do you prefer to lengthen a short story or shorten a long one?  And, if you like to shorten a long one, how does it work and why does it seem easier to you?  Everybody's writing brain is a little different, and I'd like to hear about yours!


  1. I prefer to write one that is too long and cut a bit out. I don't write too much more though.

    1. Why??? What genius techniques make this work for you???

  2. Jill on Go Teen Writers just wrote a post that was super helpful for me. I am adding this as a comment here, in case someone looks through my blog on a future date and wishes they knew more on this subject.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Guest Post by Emily!

Character Creation by Emily Ann Putzke
My character in Ain’t We Got Fun is Georgiana (Gi) Rowland, the older sister of Bess. Their family is struggling during the Great Depression, so Gi takes off for NYC to make a fortune and help them out. The sisters recount their adventures, joys and heartaches to each other. My co-author, Emily Chapman, and I wrote this story in letter form in January. Our characters are very different people! Here are a 5 things that helped me bring Gi to life, and give her a personality that’s all her own.
1.  Give Your Characters Flaws None of us are perfect, so our characters shouldn't be either. Gi is a fun, loyal, light hearted girl with big dreams. But she has a flaw that she struggles with throughout the entire story. Pride. She’s very stubborn, independent, and doesn’t want anything from anybody.
2. Use That Flaw to Stretch and Change Your Character Pride gets Gi in quite a few scrapes. Throughout AWGF, she’s constantly battling with it. Everytime she thi…

Rooglewood Countdown: 9 1/2 weeks: Why Yours?

Yep, time is picking up speed.  Especially since I have other things to keep me busy.
     Here is my questions for you today: what makes your story special?  In the comments below, I want you to finish this sentence "It's a Snow White story, but..."  Did you change the setting?  Is Snow White the ugliest in all the land?  How did you swap out the elements of your story to make it unique?

Rooglewood Countdown: 25 days: 5 Tag Lines

If you read the back of the Five Glass Slippers collection, you will find this intriguing collection of tag lines:

"What happens when Cinderella is so painfully shy that she cannot bear the idea of attending the royal ball?  Or when the slipper fits...but on the wrong girl? What happens when Cinderella is determined to oust an imposter prince from her rightful throne? Or when she's a cendrillon miner working from a space station orbiting a cthonian planet? What happens when Cinderella, a humble housemaid, is sent with a message for a prisoner trapped in a frightening fairy circus?"      I don't know about you, but that paragraph of five tag lines were incredibly captivating.  I couldn't WAIT to read those stories.

     So here is a fun game for you.  Think about the Snow White collection of 5 winners.  Imagine yours is one of them.  What question could you pose to make people want to read your story?

     Then, think about 4 other ideas that sound cool.  Put…