I'm writing a sinister story for school and it has to be 500-1000 words. But I only have 414 words and I don't know what else to add.

This is how it looks so far. How can I expand this to meet the 500-word minimum?

What happened to her?

My darling Darlene,

I write to you in an assured knowledge that tomorrow I will be dead. Last couple of months I’ve been suffering in silence. I don’t know if you remember, when I was taking you to your first day of first grade. After I left you, I came back in really quickly. Well, I was about to leave when I heard laughing; but here’s the thing it wasn’t normal laughing, it was viscous, evil, and it sounded like someone was being tortured. In a hurry, I opened the door to check but nothing was happening- Ms Carey was just reading to all of you. I couldn’t ever tell you what was happening. How could I possibly?

Over days I decided to think about it, often I wondered if I was dreaming or envisioning things. I thought hard. I thought about what I may have done that I deserved something like that. That’s when I heard it again, but this time there was a deep voice sounded like a man; a bit like your father’s it said ‘and I remembered what I did before your father died, I wasn’t very nice to him.

I considered thinking about if it was his spirit. I did studies and research on dead bodies and haunting spirits. I found out a lot. I remember hearing some things in the house that I found out according to research that that was the spirit’s doing, creaking doors, unexplained temperature changes It was also stated that in most cases spirits only haunt for 1 year.

Well, here’s the thing. Your father died tomorrow last year, 31st April. It’s his last time to haunt me and…

I know one thing he will not leave without me. I am reminded of a quote from when I was a child ‘When I was a child, I was afraid of ghosts. When I grew up, I realized people are more scary.’ I’m scared. I’m worried about you. So, from today you will be living with aunt Marian and uncle Manny.

I know you may not be able to read this and I also know that aunt Marian and uncle Manny told you that I’ll be back, but unfortunately, I will not be back, they will take good care of you. You will always be the reason why I live and breathed.

I love you Darlene. And I will forever love you. Don’t sigh just forgive me.

Yours forever,


  • 1
    Welcome to Writing.SE! Please be aware that requests for writing critiques, and requests for what to write, are off-topic here. We can give you general advice on how to make a story longer, but we can't give you any specific feedback on what you've written or write the missing 86 words for you. – F1Krazy Nov 23 '20 at 10:03

I note a number of terse forms and contractions. For example:

Last couple of months I’ve been suffering in silence.

This could be rewritten as:

During the course of the last couple of months I have been suffering in silence.


Over days I decided to think about it ...

could be written as:

Over a period of many days, I decided to think about it ...

Similar expansions may gain you quite a few words without any essential change in the meaning or style.

Also, the line:

know one thing he will not leave without me.

is not as clear as it might be. What does it mean that "he will not leave"? This like could be expanded nd clarified a bit.

The connection of this like with the quote about being scared could be clarified. What exactly is the narrator scared of? She doers not say.


It is usually better to cut out excess verbiage than to try to pad a piece to be longer.

But if you really need to do it then the best way is to take your work and do a reverse outline of what you have. Identify each of the scenes, BRIEFLY with a phrase. Then look at the flow of all the scenes from start to finish including any subplots along different lines.

Now figure out how you could add events that make sense to the plot and subplots. Worst case come up with yet another subplot.

Check the suggested revisions to make sure all the scenes flow from start to finish like dominoes falling down. Fix any errors. Remove any needless detours. Fill in any gaps.

If that fails then you need a better premise and storyline to start with.


Clarification and details. That's all you need to make anything longer. There were several points in your story where clarification could be utilized to make the story longer, but I think someone else covered that so I won't get into it.

As for details; Maybe you could describe exactly how the laugh sounded, or maybe in that space you could describe how it made her feel. Maybe it "sent chills down her spine," and "made her heart beat up to her throat." See what I mean? That right there is 16 extra words. Now do that a few times throughout the entire story, and you'll have more than 500 words in no time

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