Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#171) -- Coming Up Short

What do you do when you get stuck considerably short of a word count for story? Are there spots you find easier to expand upon then others? (from a conversation with a friend) 

Numbers are out to get you. It's true.
I usually write full plots to meet the space requirements, so I haven't had to face this in a while, but when I was getting used to that, I usually reserved those extra words for either adding extra beats in the action sequence, a sort of "mini story triangle in the fight scene to beef it up" and give it its own "story."

Or, I would add the characterization bits that I initially didn't think I'd have room for, such as more Whedonesque "peripheral" dialog that helped bring the characters to life. For example, in Dominatrix, I was able to add a scene at a cafe where the leads are discussing whether Duran Duran is the best pop band ever or just a bunch of posers because there's no middle ground. It's completely peripheral to the plot, but incredibly telling about the characters, and I was thrilled to have room to include it.