On holes and word counts

Pettry - irithyll
Image from http://pettry.tumblr.com/

It’s No Man’s Sky (not the game, my work-in-progress) causing problems. Again.

I’m 33k in, and I’ve hit a problem. The plot as it stands will take me to about 50k, which – while excellent – is not 70k. Soooo, I need to add words, while still keeping the plot that I think works quite well.

I temporarily laid the work aside, because the worst thing you can do when you know you have a problem is keep writing. It means you end up with a whole load of words going in the wrong direction and then you have to scrap them, which is even more frustrating. So I’ve temporarily halted while I have a think.

My problem is essentially that I like the beginning and the end of the story, but the middle needs more problems: Arran gets from A to C with only a few minor issues in B. I laid out the plot to work out where I could add things, and picked out three points that could be extended; a stay in a Fairy Castle, a stay with the Green Knight, and an incident with a tricky Maiden.

The Fairy Castle stay could be extended, but that will simply add one chapter; that’s fine, it’ll add to the story, so I’ll do that anyway. The Green Knight…ok, let’s just put that aside right now. But the incident with the Maiden…yes, that’d work. Currently, Arran encounters a problem, returns to somewhere he’s been before and purchases what he needs, and then continues. My solution to more words is to make it harder for him to purchase that item. That also means he’s travelling with an additional companion (a very annoying six-year-old) for longer, which will be thoroughly amusing.

Pettry image
Image from http://pettry.tumblr.com/

So, yay, solution! Except I’m now stuck with the problem that I don’t know where he would get that item in the story-world. I’m diving back into research and fairy tales to try to find someone who would buy and sell years, or has that sort of magic, or would present a solution. This may tie into the Green Knight – that area wasn’t entirely fleshed anyway so that’s why it went on hold. But it means I’m nose-deep in fairy tales instead of adding to my wordcount, not that it’s a bad thing as I like fairy tales.

So that’s my thought process when it comes to this particular problem. My course of action in addition to researching is going to be to pick up the story where I can in the last third, and write that while I think about the middle; I know that any action before that probably isn’t going to affect the plot for the final third, so hopefully my word count will start creeping up again!

Also…just sayin’.

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.