Re: The feeling of writing too much for a chapter -

#1
This is for all you writers out there.

Do you feel like you've been writing way too much for each chapter? Like normally, you'd write around 4k-5k words (or 20 pages if you will) per chapter but as the story of the web novel progresses, it feels like more and more is being stuffed into a single chapter for the same amount of progress, but splitting off any surplus writing just doesn't sit right with you and you just feel that it has to be in this chapter, otherwise it doesn't work out (personally). But then, there's also this guilt that you can't betray the word count/page threshold and you have this inner contention that can't be resolved.

What would you do in such a situation? What would you be feeling?
By the way, I'm obviously asking for a friend.

It's not like this is tsundere service or anything, baka! This is a horrible idea... (笑)

Re: The feeling of writing too much for a chapter

#3
No, not really. In my first novel I have a chapter that's about a thousand words, and then one chapter is about six-thousand words with the average being about twenty-five hundred words. If anything, I feel I need to stuff more into my chapters because I tend to write them really short. That feeling of making the chapter longer, and yet it's accomplishing the same amount is a pacing question. Pacing can be controlled by a number of factors, chapter length, internal monologue vs action, how much dialogue you have.

Pacing is a complex thing in writing. I would not write to keep the same word count for ever chapter unless you're trying to keep your pacing very even. Let a chapter be as long or as short as needed.  There's no such thing as a chapter at the proper length. It's completely arbitrary.

Re: The feeling of writing too much for a chapter

#8
I write approximately three chapters at a time (because that's how many I include in a Patreon release, before posting them here one by one), and I don't finalize the placement of the scenes into the chapters until I have the final word counts and timeline, so I can adjust things as needed. And by then, I've already started laying out the scenes for the next three chapters as well, so I can shuffle things around.

That said, I aim for about 13k words per Patreon release (three chapters), but my last few releases have gone past that by a couple thousand words because there's just too much I have to fit in before the end of the current book. That's okay--these chapters are just longer than usual. Books 1 and 2 came to about 120k words, while Book 3 will be somewhere in between 165k and 170k.

Re: The feeling of writing too much for a chapter

#12
I mean my own chapters have a minimum of 3k words, and often I include multiple scenes into a single chapter. I just separate them by lines, and make sure to always end on an actual end note. Sometimes if I can't find a good place to end the chapter will go onto like 4k, but I've never really thought the chapters were too long. There are some chapters which have 3 or 4 extremely short scenes, and others where they're only half of a long scene. Either way, long as you end off on a good stopping point, that's good enough for me. 

Re: The feeling of writing too much for a chapter

#13
IvyVeritas Wrote: I don't finalize the placement of the scenes into the chapters until I have the final word counts and timeline, so I can adjust things as needed.
This is a good idea... wouldn't have thought of it like that... I just write off the deep end and things magically fit in place (don't ask how LOL)

bibi Wrote: I personally just write as much as I want. Otherwise I get hung up on how to end it.
o,o
Write as much as I want, got it!

midnightrainbow Wrote: Do you mean the case where a scene being very long
Not really, they're all scenes that are related to one another. I just can't seem to shorten them because then what I've NOT written for the chapter doesn't make it seem all too coherent, hence I'm at a lost for where to stop. Though, I should think an extra 3-5 pages wouldn't kill my readers.

parkertallan Wrote: anything that doesn't seem relevant to the story
H-haha... there are some parts which are irrelevant to the story - that I can't deny - but then again, if I cut such things out, it'd seem like the addition characters and other interactions are being neglected. Outside of these scenes, other crucial elements might end up losing some depth to their significance later on.

Hmm... tough one...

Dubs Wrote: long as you end off on a good stopping point, that's good enough for me.
(   OvO) I get the same feeling as well. I've pretty much been writing until I reach that point. LOL


Anyways, thank you all for your feedback! Much appreciated!

Re: The feeling of writing too much for a chapter

#14
NEVER !

Nah, I'm joking.

Partially.

(Note that everything that follows is referrencing my only story on Royal Road, The Fallen World : A Dungeon's Story)

To be clear, I did cut off some stuff from my chapters, to put into the next one, but usually it was more for narrative reasons (to better theme certain chapters) than length, although that played a role a few times (you could argue that it was more a case of justifying it after the decision was made). I personally write long chapters. Very long ones by the standards of this site actually. My chapters are between 5 to 10k words long, all but one are over 7k, and most are around 8k - 9k. Note that I'm neither counting the Christmas special nor the prologue, because the Christmas special is intentionally short as to not be considered a chapter (2 375 words) and the prologue is 21k words long, for...reasons.

I stop and finalize most of my chapters either due to time constraints or when I feel I've arrived at a good ending point, especially for accomplishing a series of 'goals' I make for each chapter. You could call them plot points more or less. Which...well, that explains the 21k prologue if you were wondering. It's a dungeon core novel, so I decided that the plot point at which chapter 1 would begin would be when the protagonist actually becomes a dungeon core. So I wrote until the protagonist became said dungeon core.

Needless to say, it went out of hand.

It's worth noting that I hate pre-writing parts of a chapter (just to be clear, I mean writing something that only appears much later, and thus having it in storage while you bridge the gap), because the story always evolves organically as I write it, so while a useful indication for where I want to head, and a database of information about characters I wanted to introduce, every chapter parts that has been pre-written so far has never been integrated into the story as is, and rewritten entirely.

Anyway, that's about it for me. Sorry for the somewhat rambling post, I'm still figuring out my own modus operandi where this stuff is concerned, although some outlines are starting to appear. In any case, have a nice day !

Re: The feeling of writing too much for a chapter

#15


playwars Wrote: especially for accomplishing a series of 'goals' I make for each chapter.

Mhm... even for me, that's the way I go about writing chapters. Though sometimes, you gotta add a few cliffhangers :> 


playwars Wrote: because the story always evolves organically as I write it

Yeah, it'd make sense to just keep writing as much as the story allows.

playwars Wrote: Anyway, that's about it for me. Sorry for the somewhat rambling post, I'm still figuring out my own modus operandi where this stuff is concerned, although some outlines are starting to appear. In any case, have a nice day !
No problem! This is a place to discuss after all. I wish you, fellow writer, a very wonderful and pleasant day.

Re: The feeling of writing too much for a chapter

#16
Chapters mean different things to different people. I've edited chapters that are over twenty pages long (in Word, mind you, which means they were in excess of 10,000 words), and I've read a book that had a chapter so short it was less than one page long, counting the chapter header and accompanying empty space that took up two-fifths of the page. So I think you're really asking "Where do I split this up"? 

The answer is . . . where it feels right to you. Seriously. I've been doing this over over a decade, and one of the most consistent things I've drummed into authors and students alike is writing is an art, not a science. What works for you won't work for most, because not only are you a different author, you're writing a different story with different characters in a different setting with different events. 

Pay attention to your story first, not to word counts. If you get to a point in your chapter and say "Man, if only I had another X words in here, this would be the perfect spot to end!" then that's a clue that you should probably stop right there. Not a guarantee (art not science!), but a clue. 

Re: The feeling of writing too much for a chapter

#17
NovelNinja Wrote: (in Word, mind you...)

LOL I use Word too, and that's what I based my figures off of in my first post.


NovelNinja Wrote: Pay attention to your story first, not to word counts.
I pay lots of attention! Though, I'm not sure if it is enough... I censure myself at many times for all sorts of ideas and details. Though, it's more an irrational sentiment! At the end of the week, the chapter is still finished with the appropriate number of pages needed - it's just that I can't help but think "maybe I've written a little too much?"

There've been many times when I have had that epiphany portending the end of a chapter. I'll trust that sense of initiative of mine then! I've set myself a general standard; I'll just have to go through with it, whether or not I hit the extremes!

There really is a lot of weight behind the words of an professional editor, huh? Writing may be an art, but I wonder what happens when science is implemented? That's just a rhetoric! It'd be a fun element to think about...

I appreciate your response!

Re: The feeling of writing too much for a chapter

#18
If you are stuffing your work with unwanted prose that doesn't do anything but make it longer and slow  down plot development, that's called padding and yeah, don't do that. If the work gets longer because there is a side arc you wish to expose, that adds to the tension and depth of the plot, that's another matter.  Generally, if the term "get to the point already"  applies, its the former, not the latter.

Re: The feeling of writing too much for a chapter

#19

utsuro Wrote: LOL I use Word too, and that's what I based my figures off of in my first post.

I actually write in OpenOffice. I only edit in Word, and I'd use OpenOffice exclusively if it had Word's Track Changes feature. My wife can't stand OpenOffice and thinks I'm crazy, but she knew I was crazy when she married me so it's all good.

Quote:There've been many times when I have had that epiphany portending the end of a chapter. I'll trust that sense of initiative of mine then! I've set myself a general standard; I'll just have to go through with it, whether or not I hit the extremes!

Indeed. You've set a standard that your readers will come to expect (if they haven't already). But that doesn't mean you can't plan for that length. From the sound of it, you're more of a discovery writer, rather than an outliner; but discovery writing simply means you do the adjustments on the back end. Once you've found the way your story goes, you can look back on it and see how well it paces. Don't worry about exact chapters on your first draft; write it, then go back and edit things so it fits the right beats. At the most basic, you can see how your chapter fits with three-act structure; much of the really interesting aspects of three-act isn't going to be relevant because of length, but the basics of “beginning/middle/end” pacing is relevant in even a chapter half the length of yours.

You can also keep that in mind as you type, as well. When you get to a quarter of your typical chapter length, you can start to think “Okay, I need a dramatic transition soon.” When you get halfway, you can think “Something's going to change soon.” Discovery writing is called that because you're finding out the story as you write; but knowing the techniques means you can start “predicting” your own writing.

Quote:There really is a lot of weight behind the words of an professional editor, huh?


Yes, but do keep in mind that a professional means someone who gets paid for it, not someone who is an expert in it. I get paid for my expertise, so obviously I claim to be an expert; but I'm nowhere near infallible. By all means, treat my words with a lot of weight, but don't trust me blindly. Don't trust any writing expert blindly. Art, not science.

Quote:Writing may be an art, but I wonder what happens when science is implemented? That's just a rhetoric! It'd be a fun element to think about...

You get stories written by AI. They're . . . amusing. :p Actually, the stories that get too predictable are the ones that run on science. They have no soul and aren't interesting.

Mind you, there was once a writer who set out to get back at his writing mentor, who was making him write something other than what he wanted, by writing the most formulaic piece of crap urban fantasy he could come up with. He broke all her rules, like the one about how you can't have “As you know, Bob” conversations, and can't have talking head characters who are only there to dispense information. In fact, he made that character a literal talking head (well, skull) named Bob. Bob the Skull. He called the book Semi-Automagic.

Instead of telling him okay, he can go back to writing what he really wanted, she said it was publishable. And it was. The author's name is Jim Butcher, and that book became Storm Front, first novel in The Dresden Files.

So sometimes excessive science works, for values of “science.” In Butcher's case, he managed to make the rules fun, which is exactly what he should do. Which also means he brought art to the science, so, well -- perhaps it's still more art than science. :)

Re: The feeling of writing too much for a chapter

#20
I dislike the idea of forcing each update to be a chapter.  Each CHAPTER is a chapter.  if it takes 3-4 updates to make a chapter, so be it.  Because from what I've seen, giving in to that, and writing longer and longer chapters each time... thats how you get burn out. 

A lot of the longest living serials would have a rough word count length that the author decides on, and every update is roughly that length.  Multiple updates to a chapter.  Drew Hayes did that with superpowereds.  Jim Zoeteway does that with legion of nothing.  Alexandra Erin did that with Tales of MU.  I'm doing that write now (pun intended) with The Blue Line, 1-2k per update.  I'm trying to end each on a high note, but not a climax, if that makes sense?  just natural pause points in the chapter.