Rusty Strait | Senior Reporter
I received a note from a writer who wishes to remain anonymous. She has submitted her book to several agents who like it but can’t find a publisher. “Too short” is their response. She insists that the book is a short novel and doesn’t understand the rejections.
Nobody, except the writer, is going to fix this problem. Whether she likes it or not, she will have to go over her manuscript chapter by chapter and do one or all of the following:
Expand your story, starting with Chapter one, elaborating on your characters or scenes.
Write fill-in chapters. This is easier than rewriting established chapters. It is easier to create new chapters by writing new scenes that fit into the overall picture. Establish a book with a minimum of 250 pages and resubmit. If agents and publishers liked your original story and you continue to make it a page-turner, I’m sure you will find a publisher. Good luck.
Now, for some general writing advice: Don’t write a short story and consider it a novel. It is not. Each chapter in a novel is a story unto itself. When all those stories are connected, it becomes a book. My last book had over thirty chapters and ran 415 pages. Novels require more effort than a short story, which might fit into a magazine.
In a novel, your characters are more important than anything else, in my opinion. A well-defined character will carry a story, whereas it is rare that the story carries the book. Plotting is important, but the characters in the plot always lead the way. If you are into mysteries, characters dominate each and every chapter. For instance, the detectives who solve the mystery or the criminal who is the target in the chase. That is why Stephen King and Dean Koontz are so popular. There is always a crime, a criminal, and a pursuer. It is one of the oldest plots in writing, going back to biblical times.
Next week, I’ll have another piece of the jigsaw puzzle called “writing.” Until then, just sayin’.
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