The fear of a large volume is one of the main “stopping” factors in the work of beginning novelists. It seems, what to write about on two hundred (at best) pages? How to decompose a small idea first on the volume of the whole novel? And how not to run out of steam in the process, not to go too far with “water” and not to get confused in what was written?
Let’s talk about this in more detail and start with where the ears grow from fear. And at the same time – about methods of overcoming it.
So, you have come up with everything, you are madly in love with history and its idea, but it’s scary to get to work. You look at a blank sheet and do not imagine how a couple of heroes and three plot moments can make three hundred sheets. Of course, in this case it is better to write a story or a short story, but you want a novel.
What to do? Let’s get it right.
Why is it so scary when you sit down to write a book? Causes
1. Poor and insufficient study of history.
There is a hero and (or) heroine, there are their opponents and competitors, there are some relations between the participants in the story and a vague vision of the world, intrigue and a couple of conflicts. There are probably even bits of episodes. But this is not enough. It is too little. And the fear of volume stems from banal ignorance. You have neither plot knowledge nor understanding where to lead the heroes, why to do it and how trials will affect them.
In this case, do not sit down to write until you compose at least the basis for the plot, until you think over the world, until you see and hear your heroes. Write plans and notes, draw maps and plot schemes – where will the heroes go, why, what awaits them there – dangers, obstacles or miracles?
Ask questions to the episodes that you have, because these are not just beautiful pictures or vibrant dialogs. These are the first sources of information.
For example, if there is only a dialogue: where is it happening, who are the participants, why are they, how are they here? And write down the supplemented passages. And ask new questions. And write down the answers.
The Question of History method helps a lot in the first stages of work: in fact, history is a new stranger from whom you need to draw out the whole truth. So stretch as you can. And sit down to write only when you have the backbone of the plot with its twists and surprises. Tidy up all plot drafts, arrange them into chapters, and keep them handy. Write cheat sheets for the development of the plot, ideas, intrigue, etc. And – for the work.
The fear of a large volume, by the way, and after a thorough study may not go anywhere. But with a knowledge of history, it will be easier for you to overcome it. Wandering around an unfamiliar city is easier with a map where the museums and cafes you need are marked.
2. Lack of writing experience.
So, you wrote a couple of short stories and miniatures, inspired by The Lord of the Rings, and swung your finger on a heroic epic. To begin with – in one volume, but in the future – with sequels. Bravely, yes. And short-sighted. You did not really learn how to own the word and weave images, but have already aimed at 300 pages? Of course it will be scary. Spinning the plot ten pages or three hundred – the difference is huge. Although it can be based on the same semantic kernel, the initial idea is that for a novel, that for a story. The difference is in the depth of the elaboration of the idea itself, the plot and plot, the images of the characters and, of course, in the quantity and quality of the accompanying descriptions.
What to do? To gain writing experience, gradually increasing the volume. Today – a five-page story, tomorrow – ten, the day after tomorrow – twenty. Ideally, it would be nice to write a story after the stories – for example, a prequel to the main story, so sheets are 100-150. And after 150 sheets, the volume of 250-300 sheets will no longer be so scary, believe me.
If the story does not let go, then write story-sketches about the heroes (about their past, family friends), about the legends of the world and its unusual places. When you start working on a novel, they will come in handy.