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I finally sat down and wrote the first chapter of my planned novel. Reading back through it, I realized that there is so much that happens in only 2000 words. People die, the protagonist is captured, dialogue happens, but it all happens so fast, one event after another. How do I write in a more expansive way?

  • How many chapters like that do you have planned? If you've got 32 of those breakneck-speed chapters planned out, then your plans are probably too complicated. You wouldn't write a historical novel that covers 2000 BC to 2000 AD. (Unless you're James Michener!) Besides, you need to leave room for sequels. – dmm Mar 23 '15 at 22:50
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1) Don't worry about it for this draft.

Write your entire book. Get it down on paper. Then put in a drawer for a month.

Then, when it's finished and you have a little distance, you can go back and see where there's room to insert other scenes and slow events down. You don't want to kill the momentum of your writing by spending so much time fussing over editing.

The first draft will by definition be rough. That's fine. As you are writing the book, plots and bits of character information will come to you which you didn't have planned. These can be part of what you can use to slow things down in the editing process. But you can't discover those things until your book is written.

2) When you are editing and you need to insert things:

Take the time for descriptions. Describe the setting. Make sure there are little character moments to show the reader what your world and your characters are like. Give us a sense of how people speak, of the smell of the air, the composition of the buildings. Show us the technology. Show us affiliations of politics, geography, religion, race, marriage, and family.

When an event happens (someone is captured), show us the reactions of the other characters. Let us see how the ripples of this event are starting to spread outward (particularly since that's what's going to move your plot forward).

  • I would also add two things. Firstly, while you definitely need Lauren's second point, don't overdo it. Pages of description and setting (unless done right) will bore. Make sure whatever the reader wants to read is there in plenty (this may not be action - it's just what the reader wants to read). Secondly, drafts do not work for everyone. I am finding that I cannot - and indeed apparently do not need to - write drafts. I believe I am in the extreme minority in this matter, however. – Thomas Myron Mar 23 '15 at 23:28
  • @TommyMyron Gosh, hi, Ms. Cartland! Nice to see you with us again! ;) – Lauren Ipsum Mar 23 '15 at 23:56

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