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Story size question

StarFleet Carl
Updated:

I just did something today that I probably should have done a long time ago. I took all of my chapters and put them all in one document, mostly to make it easier to do a word and character search. Since I'm the oddball guy who is still writing his story without having it finished before posting, I've just been puttering along for the last year (literally) and not really paying attention to total output.

With the whole thing in one file ... and I'm still not finished, at 62 chapters ... according to the software it says I've written about 365,000 words. Does that even sound right to you guys? With everything in one file, in plain text it's 1,844 KB or 752 KB in Libre Office format. I put everything into a single 12 point font, just see how long it was as well. 786 pages? Really?

Seriously?

Dominions Son
Updated:

@StarFleet Carl

I see nothing wrong with long stories.

While they are rare, much longer novels have been published in dead tree format. The record is 3,277,227 words, which ends up being 7312 pages.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/18661/quick-10-10-longest-novels-ever

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Dominions Son

I see nothing wrong with long stories.

I prefer longer stories to short ones- as long as it's actually going somewhere, not just repeating itself. And the situations the characters find themselves in are plausible and the way they respond are consistent with the way the characters have developed as the story has progressed.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

That's not that unrealistic. In publishing terms, it would be prohibitively expensive to print as is, but for a site like SOL, it's fine.

What's more, posting as you write isn't that unusual. Those of us who write, revise and fully edit a story before posting a word are the exception, rather than the rule. However, this might be the point to stand back and look at what you've produced and decide whether this is where you intended to be at this point, or whether the story has drifted as much as you have producing it.

When you write a story at a chapter at a time, it often drifts in many unexpected directions. The revision process is when you usually pull it back on track, discarding any subplots which don't really pan out or which don't advance the basic message of the story. However, if you're happy with the results, I wouldn't worry too much. Chances are, you'll continue with this one story for some time to come. I wouldn't expect you to change your process mid-story.

When I first started, I'd typically write from 4,000 to 10,000 words per chapters, averaging 6,000 per chapter spread out across 28 or so chapters. Now, I've refined my technique and now I'm averaging 2,000 to 8,000 words per chapter and average around 20+ chapters.

When you do finish, then ask again and we can discuss whether you'd rather write to a specific target, rather than a chapter at a time. 'D (In general, it's a HUGE undetaking, much more substantial than becoming the President of the mightiest country on Earth, apparently. 'D

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
Switch Blayde

@StarFleet Carl

With the whole thing in one file


I never got to test it in LibreOffice, but in Word if you define the chapter headings as "Heading 1" and under "view" check "navigation pane," it lists the chapter headings on the left side of the Word document (like a table of contents).

Click on Chapter 20 and it positions your document at Chapter 20. Look for that feature in LibreOffice. It makes it real handy to navigate through your document.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde


I never got to test it in LibreOffice, but in Word if you define the chapter headings as "Heading 1" and under "view" check "navigation pane," it lists the chapter headings on the left side of the Word document (like a table of contents).


In Libre Office there are a number of tools to assist you in preparing your document. One I use is the Style and Formating sub-window, another is the Navigator sub-window, both of which can be floating or 'docked' on the page you work on. If you have the Navigator open and expand the option 'Heading' it works exactly as you mentioned in your post. I work with the Styles and Formating opened so I can apply the paragraph styles by just clicking on them.

Both these are accessed via the Menu bar - View - then the name of the relevant sub-window. You click on it in the menu and it opens while placing a 'tick' or check-mark beside the choice.

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd

@Ernest Bywater

A feature of LibreOffice I very much enjoy are custom templates. I set up one for manuscript draft printout, double-spaced in Courier Prime with a title header, and a footer with running page count x of xxx. Another template is set up for 6 x 9 'book page' printout, on an 8.5 x 11 sheet. The same nnn.odt file poured into either template gives me what I want. Very time-saving and convenient. Of course, the style pane and navigation panes you mention are integral to getting the .odt print manuscript ready. Great program!

Anomandaris

365k words is a decent length to me. 1800kb is long, but sounds like it might be worth a read and kill a fair bit of time. I've skipped it before because I'm not generally a fanfic person, but I'll give it a look soon.

Thanks for putting that much effort into a story.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
red61544

Story size is very similar to penis size. Often, too big just causes harm instead of pleasure. An important part of editing consists of eliminating the redundant and the unnecessary. If everything in your manuscript is needed for plot development, the story is not too big. If anything doesn't add to plot development, it harms the story. So, whether it be stories or penises, size does matter.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@red61544

So, whether it be stories or penises, size does matter.

And your suggested remedy for penises that are too big is?

madnige

@StarFleet Carl

about 365,000 words. ... 1,844 KB ... 786 pages


One of my favourite dead-tree books is C.J.Cherryh's Cyteen, which is within a few % of these figures - and has a sequel which continues the story following on directly (so the two could be considered as one work) at a bit over half that size. One of my copies (I've lost a couple by people borrowing and not returning) had over 800 pages, quite an impressive tome.

StarFleet Carl

@Anomandaris

I've skipped it before because I'm not generally a fanfic person, but I'll give it a look soon.


One thing that putting all together and then doing some of my own critical re-reading is noticing how my writing has changed over time. Whether that's good or bad, I don't know. But I don't feel like I'm the same person I was at the start of the story - which is how it should be, I think, as Martina herself has changed from the person she was at the start of the story.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
graybyrd

@Ross at Play

And your suggested remedy for penises that are too big is?


Well... you've heard of breast reduction?

StarFleet Carl

@Grant

And the situations the characters find themselves in are plausible and the way they respond are consistent with the way the characters have developed as the story has progressed.


Sorry, I'm chuckling a little here. Plausible? For our world, no, not in the least. For what my story is - which is a fanfic based upon The Elder Scrolls V, Skyrim - then it's VERY plausible.

I think what really freaked me out about the length is that I have just been plugging along here, doing what I intended to do, which is play the game and plug in my own character and her reactions to it. I've made a few plot changes to the game as I played and wrote, and in the last dozen chapters or so I'm not playing the game much, just taking the quests and modifying them a bit as my story has totally diverged from the game plotline at this point.

Then I went, wow, I've been doing this for a full year. I have my spreadsheet figures, but ... that can't be right, can it? And it was just ... wow on my part, because I really didn't realize what I'd done.

Replies:   Grant
StarFleet Carl

@Crumbly Writer

In publishing terms, it would be prohibitively expensive to print as is, but for a site like SOL, it's fine.


I think for us, yes, you're right. But the reason I was startled is that I have a lot of books on my shelves this length, so at least it is done. And not anthologies - seems like David Weber regularly puts out books this long. (I know, I own all of them, even if I think a good chunk of some of those books could be cut.) I certainly hadn't intended to write something this long when I started. I'm not sure what I intended, honestly.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP
Updated:

@StarFleet Carl


I took all of my chapters and put them all in one document, mostly to make it easier to do a word and character search.


I don't know which word processing system you use, but I use Word. Word has a nice feature [no not a bug :)] called a Master Document. What this feature does is: 1) allow you to keep your chapters as individual files, which are easier to work with than a large file, 2) open all of your small files in a single document for searches and Global find and replace operations, which are saved to your small files, and 3) minimize the disk space necessary to have both the small chapter files and a full story file.

In creating the Master Document, you insert links to the individual files and save the file with just the links. When you open and expand the Master Document, it pulls the text of the individual files into the Master document. You can then do search and replace operations on the entire story, and your changes will be saved to the individual files. When you are through with the expanded story file, you can collapse the file back to just the links and save it in the collapsed state.

Word processing systems other than Word may have a similar feature, but I am not familiar with those programs.

Edit to add: If you are using Word and want to try this feature, the instructions are not totally clear. If you have a problem using the feature, feel free to contact me via email and I may be able to help.

Replies:   richardshagrin
Ernest Bywater

Story should be as long as it takes to tell the story you want to tell in the story, no more and no less. A story needs a start, a middle, and an end.

One of the issues with a post as you go story is sometimes the authors get lost in the middle and lose sight of the end. Another is when the author gets into the habit of having to post a set amount of words per week and they do so without any real regard for how well it fits the story. Both these issues, when they happen, result in excess wordage of a story and loss of plot line.

Having written stories from 1,000 words to 275,000 words in length, with most around the 45,000 words to 75,000 word mark, I'm the last person to set a word count as the right amount for any story.

Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

One thing that putting all together and then doing some of my own critical re-reading is noticing how my writing has changed over time. Whether that's good or bad, I don't know. But I don't feel like I'm the same person I was at the start of the story - which is how it should be, I think, as Martina herself has changed from the person she was at the start of the story.

That can be both good and bad. It's good, as your writing grows stronger, but it can also be bad as your writing style changes, so you may no longer follow the same conventions you started the story using, resulting in reader confusion (see the discussion on another thread about establishing your conventions within the first several chapters so readers know what to expect when reading your story).

Again, that's another good reason for revising a story once it's completed, though for a story the size of yours, it become an intimidating task.

Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

I think for us, yes, you're right. But the reason I was startled is that I have a lot of books on my shelves this length, so at least it is done. And not anthologies - seems like David Weber regularly puts out books this long. (I know, I own all of them, even if I think a good chunk of some of those books could be cut.) I certainly hadn't intended to write something this long when I started. I'm not sure what I intended, honestly.

Yes, you can publish books that large, though it makes it more expensive. If you publish independently, you'll earn less with each book (and you'll lose the 'casual reader' crowd, if that was ever a concern). If you want to publish with a mainstream publisher, it increases the odds of rejection.

A more typical approach, is to figure out ways to trim the size of the total story, as the current thinking in the industry is 'Series guarantee future book sales', and 'each book sells more copies of the other books'.

So, if you ever decide you want to cross that divide (the publishing divide that is), talk to us and we can help you figure out how to cross it. Otherwise, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

People appreciate immersive stories, and if a story works, readers aren't afraid to invest the time required to enjoy it. In fact, they'll often complain about when you finally decide to end it, requesting sequels as they want to see where the character goes after that. Hell, I've had multiple people ask for sequels in stories where the character dies at the end of the story, making sequels a little difficult to construct. :( However, that's another vote for adding sequels rather than publishing huge tome doorjambs.

Anomandaris

I think for me, a high word count is a good thing. As long as it isn't stuff that should have been cut. A long ongoing story for me, due to the volume that I read, is a good thing. Most of my absolute favorite stories have a very high word count. Worm, Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen, David Weber's Honor Harrington and Safehold series, Tales of MU, etc.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Story should be as long as it takes to tell the story you want to tell in the story, no more and no less. A story needs a start, a middle, and an end.

Another guideline, which I hinted at before, is to keep a book's 'theme' in mind as you write. The theme is the message you want the book to convey. It's not the same as a moral, but is (in my case) a single sentence way the story should reflect on the reader's life, so they can apply it to their own world so the story becomes more thought provoking rather than something quickly forgotten.

They key to this type of system is that it makes chopping a large story into smaller bits easier. Any time the theme of any given story changes, or a major conflict wraps up and another begins, is a likely place to break the story. That way, each book has a separate 'feel', with the story continually emphasizing something key to the protagonist in a way the reader can easily relate to.

Series will have one overarching conflict/theme, but each book will contain their own essential conflicts/themes, which keeps the readers focused on the end goal, so they anticipate the ending, however long it takes to reach it. Once the protagonist reaches one goal, they simply readjust their aims, moving onto the next challenge with another connected goal. That way, readers are more likely to eagerly await the next book, however long it takes to produce.

An excellent example of this technique is the Harry Potter series. Each book is distinct on it's own, but each fits perfectly into the continuity of the whole series.

But once again, there's little reason for you to stress over those issues at this point in your writing career.

StarFleet Carl

@Anomandaris

David Weber's Honor Harrington and Safehold series

I may own all of those ... :)

The Eric Flint 1632 series went oddball on me, so I only have MOST of those. Raymond Feist and his Riftwar series, I have nearly all of those as well. David Drake, John Ringo, Travis Taylor, even WEB Griffin and Tom Clancy, too.

That's one thing I miss about my old house - the basement was my library. Forty foot wall with 6 foot tall, 5 shelf bookshelves - and they were FULL. And there wasn't a book down there that I hadn't read at least twice, some that I'd read twenty times. All the Heinleins ... ah, good friends.

red61544

@Ross at Play

And your suggested remedy for penises that are too big is?

Ross, I plan on keeping mine, but, if you want, you can eliminate yours!

Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

And your suggested remedy for penises that are too big is?


Surgery or find a bigger woman. :)

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


Story should be as long as it takes to tell the story you want to tell in the story, no more and no less. A story needs a start, a middle, and an end.


Exactly.

Whether Word or Libre Office is reporting the word count correctly is irrelevant, since on SOL the only word count restriction I've seen is 750 words (or is it 500?) for your *first* story. As others noted, [story] size doesn't matter after that.

Leave it long, cut it short, do whatever looks good to you and (continue to) go for it.

If you're still concerned about the accuracy of the count, check the count on one of your posted chapters and compare it to your text.

bb

Ernest Bywater

As BB said, the rules state, at:

http://storiesonline.net/author/posting_guidelines.php

An author's first effort for posting on the site must be at least 750 words.

Most printers and publishers work under the same book size guidelines as Lulu, or very close - but not all. In general soft cover is a maximum of 740 pages and hard cover is 800 pages, while e-book is whatever you like since it has no formal pages or page length. With a print book, the wood count can dictate the page size if it gets high enough. Below is a link to common print book page sizes and counts.

http://connect.lulu.com/t5/Product-Pricing-Information/Binding-options-and-their-page-counts/ta-p/33673

A project I'm formatting for publishing for someone else has over 380,000 words and will have to be split in two to print or be an 8 x 11 inch hard cover if he wants to provide a print book version.

richardshagrin

@REP

Word has a nice feature [no not a bug :)] called a Master Document.

There might be a story idea in having a "Master Document". One of those mind control stories, or maybe changing reality by typing words on the master document. Or maybe something BDSM, "yes, Master."

Replies:   REP
REP

@richardshagrin

I'd rather not be accused of ripping off the Master PC concept. :)

The first dozen or two are good stories, but after that the universe's stories seemed to follow the same template, which became boring.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Ross at Play


And your suggested remedy for penises that are too big is?


Around or long? forget what the ratio is, but at least for getting a shorter penis, the answer is simple: Get fat, the bigger around you become at the waist, more of it will "recede" within the body.

Conversely, if you're "a fatty" the reverse would also apply, losing weight will result in your penis becoming "longer" as your waistline shrinks. ;)

Edit to add: This is some of the obscure medical trivia that does exist out there for those who go looking, or stumble upon it. But it still was rather funny for me when I stumbled upon that many years ago. It's basically a medical justification for the stigma of "A fat man will have a small penis." Because well, being fat evidently will make it smaller than it would be otherwise.

Well, unless you have a certain surgical procedure done and have some ligaments snipped. Then the "recession" thing won't happen, but you might have something else to complain about....

Grant
Updated:

@StarFleet Carl

Sorry, I'm chuckling a little here. Plausible? For our world, no, not in the least. For what my story is - which is a fanfic based upon The Elder Scrolls V, Skyrim - then it's VERY plausible.

As long as it's internally consistent, and the characters don't suddenly behave out of the character they have developed.
That's probably one of the things I have issues with in some of the longer stories (and not just SF ones). They set up a particular universe, then tend to ignore all the rules that they previously established (for the universe, and the characters traits/behaviour). Working around them, or basing plots on how they interact (look at the incredible number of different stories that came out of Isaac Asimov's 3 laws) is OK, but ignoring them tends to kill a story for me.

awnlee jawking
Updated:

@StarFleet Carl

If you're still enjoying writing the story and others are still enjoying reading it, more power to your elbow.

I have a question for those who publish as they're writing, rather than completing the story first. In my current WIP, I've just returned to the early stages of the story to insert guns above mantlepieces for subsequent use. How do you circumvent any problems from not being able to do that? If you don't, it can look like deus ex machina when you come to deploy them.

AJ

StarFleet Carl

@awnlee jawking

In my current WIP, I've just returned to the early stages of the story to insert guns above mantlepieces for subsequent use. How do you circumvent any problems from not being able to do that? If you don't, it can look like deus ex machina when you come to deploy them.


Have them be concealed IN the mantlepiece, so that way you don't have to change anything? They're called tactical wall or tactical furniture - concealed drawers built into mirrors, mantles, other pieces of furniture.

https://tacticalwalls.com/shop/842-rls-rifle-shelf/

Just a thought.

Ernest Bywater

@StarFleet Carl

Have them be concealed IN the mantlepiece, so that way you don't have to change anything? They're called tactical wall or tactical furniture - concealed drawers built into mirrors, mantles, other pieces of furniture.


Yes you can use them, but prior to having someone take a gun out of it you need to introduce the gun and its storage into the story before it happens - to have it suddenly appear when needed is a big writing no-no.

I once read a story where the main character did monthly checks of his guns in the first chapter, and several were stored in concealed places around his property. Not one of the guns were used until the final chapter when one was needed in self defence. But the gun was introduced before ti was used, and that's how it's supposed to be. Not everyone does that.

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Michael Loucks

@Ernest Bywater

Yes you can use them, but prior to having someone take a gun out of it you need to introduce the gun and its storage into the story before it happens - to have it suddenly appear when needed is a big writing no-no.


Indeed. Of course, you can show them the gun and then never mention it for chapters or books...

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej

I've been off line so missed a few answers. As a reader NEVER think of putting up a 786 page story in one hit. It must be broken down into chapters preferably 1 to 3 page chapters of five screens each.

As for the overall length, bring it on. Windows and IE are OK but iPad is unmentionable where there are long chapters; I have just had to do 28 separate swipes to get to the bottom of one chapter from where I was in a Florida Friends chapter. Lazeez (thank you again) has just ensured there are both top and bottom links on all chapters, indices etc. but other sites could differ - be aware of Apple users

Some authors have broken very long stories into several different stories - the Defenceman stories for example. Yes, that's OK as well

awnlee jawking

@StarFleet Carl

Being a pretentious prat, I was referring rather obliquely to the principle of Chekhov's Gun:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ChekhovsGun

I'm not sure how the mantlepiece comes into it: most Brits seem to mention it.

But that's just a distraction from the question. You're writing your story and you suddenly realise you're about to rely on something that should have been mentioned earlier but wasn't. What do you do?

AJ

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

I have a question for those who publish as they're writing, rather than completing the story first.


I complete a story before posting it, but am introducing this as another example of why I do it.

In "Matilda and the Assassin," I was planning on an ending that would allow for sequels as her as an assassin. I introduced a character named Crash simply because I knew she was too young to drive and would need a driver.

But I got emotionally involved with Matilda and wanted a better life for her than an assassin. The plot's climax didn't change, but the ending did. I had to go back and build the character of Crash and their relationship more.

REP

@awnlee jawking

Back up a few paragraphs to where the character recognizes that they may need a weapon. Write an internal comment about whether they should retrieve the weapon from its hiding place or wait until the actual need is present. There are other scenarios that could be used depending on the situation.

I concur that it is a good idea to introduce elements that will be needed in a story. However in real life we make preparations for situations that might occur, don't think about the arrangements, and then the situation never happens. So it would not be a stretch to have the character retrieve a weapon that wasn't mentioned earlier. If it bothers you, a short comment at the time the character is retrieving the weapon might resolve your issue of grabbing a weapon that was not introduced earlier. Something like: I remembered leaving my pistol and a loaded clip on bedroom closet shelf five years in case I may need it, so I grabbed it and its clip ...

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

Have them be concealed IN the mantlepiece, so that way you don't have to change anything? They're called tactical wall or tactical furniture - concealed drawers built into mirrors, mantles, other pieces of furniture.

Except that doesn't address the deus ex machina issue, instead, it makes it stand out all the more (i.e. "where the fuck did that come from?"). Instead, it reads more like "Holy Carpenter nailed to a cross, Batman, it's a good thing you had that just lying around for situations like this!"

Crumbly Writer

@Michael Loucks

Indeed. Of course, you can show them the gun and then never mention it for chapters or books...

The key isn't in not mentioning something, it's in not pulling something out of your hat at the very last minute, just cause it 'saves your ass' because you've got no other way out of the whole you've dug yourself into.

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Being a pretentious prat, I was referring rather obliquely to the principle of Chekhov's Gun:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ChekhovsGun

I'm not sure how the mantlepiece comes into it: most Brits seem to mention it.

Checkhov's Gun refers to playwriting, not fiction writing, as refers to the practice of placing stage elements as backdrops, so that when they're needed, they can be used without viewers saying 'Where the frig did that come from'. But it applies to fiction in that it's considered 'bad form' to always get out of trouble by pulling something out of your hat just in the nick of time.

That's what ultimately damned stories like Superman, Batman, etc. As unbelievable as the basic premise was, the fact that every time someone pulls a gun on the caped crusader, he always has an 'out' with NO basis in either reality or in the story.

By introducing the story elements ahead of time, so readers are aware of it, readers won't read much into it, but when it's used they (the readers will say 'Of course, the gun was there all along!).

By the way, the main issue of Checkov's Gun wasn't suggesting that playwrites use it, but critizing the for using it (i.e. if you ever SEE a gun on the mantleplace, you can bet it'll be used in the final scene, thus giving away the entire play ahead of time).

REP
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

While I agree about not pulling things out of your hat, I would qualify that to consider what the author is pulling out of their hat and would pulling that something out of a hat be realistic in a real world situation.

For example: I like to be prepared for the potential situations I might encounter. In the 70's I was single, and living by myself in an apartment that was located in a not so nice part of town. I was concerned with the possibility of a home invasion, so I kept a loaded revolver and shotgun in my bedroom closet. If necessary, all I had to do was grab my weapon, flip the safety off, take aim, and squeeze the trigger.

I didn't mention my preparations to my friends, and I can see an author doing something similar in a story. So when that something is needed, it appears as if the author is just pulling it out of a hat.

However, if the character is attacked while walking in a residential area and the character suddenly has an M2 Browning machine gun then that is a different matter.

sejintenej

@REP

I was concerned with the possibility of a home invasion, so I kept a loaded revolver and shotgun in my bedroom closet. If necessary, all I had to do was grab my weapon


Don't we all consider what might happen and take precautions. We might be in perfect health, in an area of great safety but we still get immunised against diseases, we make our wills, cross our fingers ......
Often I have noticed something in a story which seemed out of place only for its relevance to appear chapters later. I think Lazlo's Jade Force stories contain examples. A good reason not to publish chapters until the story is finished unless you are an exceptional author.

Dominions Son

@REP

However, if the character is attacked while walking in a residential area and the character suddenly has an M2 Browning machine gun then that is a different matter.


Well, if you are going to be silly, you should go big with it and have the character pull out an M134 Minigun.

Nothing says "leave me the fuck alone" like 6,000 rounds per minute of 7.62mm FMJ slugs.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Dominions Son

The initial "extreme" weapon that popped into my head was a Main Battle Tank.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@REP

A Maine Battle Tank is stationed in Bang Gore.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

I concur that it is a good idea to introduce elements that will be needed in a story. However in real life we make preparations for situations that might occur, don't think about the arrangements, and then the situation never happens.

Another element you should be familiar with (so you don't fall into the traditional Chekhov's Gun trap), is the "Red Herring". As you write, you throw in a few 'false leads', designed to make the reader think the story is going in a particular direction, say by having the character shop for knifes before the final confrontation. That way, everyone thinks the conclusion will be a bloody knife fight.

That's known as a Red Herring and counters the problem of people assuming that, if they see a gun over the mantelpiece, then it means it'll be used in the final scene of the play/book. Toss in a few and it'll drive up the tension as readers try to guess which of the various possibilities will occur.

Replies:   REP
Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

You're writing your story and you suddenly realise you're about to rely on something that should have been mentioned earlier but wasn't. What do you do?


Those who finish before posting simply go back and fix it then continue on.

Those who post as they write have to defer using the item until after they include its entry into the story or they have it handed down by god when it's used.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Those who post as they write have to defer using the item until after they include its entry into the story or they have it handed down by god when it's used.

The other option is to go back, modify the earlier chapters to include the new reference, and then post a blog, warning reader's who've already read the entire story about the new reference.

It's kludgy—and several readers won't notice the warning—but it results in a better story overall, especially since the majority of your readers will read the story (or reread it) once it's completed than will likely read it as it's posting.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

you throw in a few 'false leads'


I do that a lot, although I do it in a variety of ways. Such as, my MC making plans to do one thing, proceeding in that direction, and later doing something totally different when "unexpected" events change the situation.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@REP

Such as, my MC making plans to do one thing, proceeding in that direction, and later doing something totally different when "unexpected" events change the situation.


The first casualty in any battle is the plan.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

The first casualty in any battle is the plan.

And the last are all their false assumptions, which accounts for why the best of plans fail over and over again!

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Dominions Son


The first casualty in any battle is the plan.


Part of that is the unknowns, but a major part is related to the saying about the World's Best Swordsman. It's not the next best swordsman he fears, but the world's worst swordsman because he's too likely to behave in an unpredictable manner.

typo edit

REP

@Dominions Son

The first casualty in any battle is the plan.


Especially when the plan is to abort the plan. :)

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