Submitted by DaveK on Mon, 06/23/2014 - 3:27pm

Too terse? Did your WWII history end after one chapter? Some writers, myself included, tend to be terse and struggle to get their word count up. There was a discussion of this on Absolute Write a few weeks ago. I think I sent a link around. Most writers don't have this problem and saw the suggestions as to how to increase your word count as definatly a way to hurt your story.

For those of us who write, "Joe walked out the door slamming it behind him." instead of, "Joe stood and closed his desk drawer. He slipped the key in the lock and turned it until he heard the click. In a few strides he crossed the room and grabbed the door handle. It was warm. The sun must be out so he pulled his sun glasses from his jacket pocket and slipped them on. The door opened as he pulled and the smell of coffee from the Starbucks across the street filled his nose. He slammed the door behind him."

Which of these is better depends of course but when you need the latter here are a few ideas.

Descriptions: If they are important to the story or if they help build your world go for it. Don't describe only the important things, you may give away too much of the story too early.

Back story: history can be important and in some cases vital.

Memories/flash backs/internal dialogue: sort of like back story but more character oriented.

Action detail: they fought. Joe won. You may have to explain why Joe is limping and bleeding.

Sensory detail of characters:  what they sense can add to their development.

Subplots: if all you have is the main plot it is too simple a novel. This may work for some shorts and most flash stories but novels need more happening.

Add characters: even as a lone crash survivor Tom Hanks had a head to talk to.


Four step program:

Showing vs. telling:

Conflict doesn't only mean fight:

Interesting story prompt at the end:…