Well, since I was experimenting with a longer writing project at the time of writing, I thought that I’d quickly offer two ultra-basic tips for how to stand a good chance of actually finishing it.
After all, even though novels are the most popular type of fiction out there, not every writer naturally gravitates towards longer projects. Even so, there are ways to write longer stories if you’re one of these writers. Here are two of them:
1) The idea: This is the most difficult, and the most important, part of writing a longer project. You need to find a story idea that will still seem cool or interesting several weeks or months later when you’re still writing the same story. Once you’ve found one of these ideas, then spending lots of time focusing on just one project will seem worthwhile.
The easiest way to find these types of story ideas is through lots of trial and error. Basically, just start lots of stories and if one seems interesting enough to make you want to write lots more of it, then you’ve found your novel idea. But, of course, it can take quite a bit of time and failure to find one of these ideas. Even so, it can work.
A more sophisticated technique is to look at the things that you think are really cool and try to find a way to combine them. For example, if you really love TV shows about spaceships (eg: Star Trek, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica etc..) and you really love heavy metal bands that sing about pirates (eg: Alestorm, Lagerstein, Storm Seeker etc..), then try to write a story about space pirates.
By finding a way to combine as many cool things as possible, you’ll end up with a story idea that you’ll want to keep writing for weeks or months because it is made out of things that you already love. In other words, you can use your pre-existing interests as a way to stay motivated.
2) Small chunks: This is a pretty basic one, but if you divide the events of your story up into 500-1500 word chapters or segments, then it is a lot easier to keep up a writing schedule. After all, it feels like you’re writing a short story every day (and you’ll get the feeling of completing something after each writing session) and, over time, it starts to add up to something longer than you might expect.
Not only that, the relatively short chapter/segment length means that your story will be a lot more fast-paced and gripping – especially if you focus on a different story thread in each chapter. Not only does this mean more variety (and more reason to keep writing) for you, but it also means more variety for your reader too.
Plus, adding mini-cliffhangers to the end of some of these mini-chapters not only gives your reader a reason to keep reading, but it also helps you to work out what to do 2-3 chapters later when you return to that particular story thread. This also gives you a deadline to work out how to resolve the cliffhanger, which keeps you invested in the story and eager to write more of it.
Even if your story is meant to be more slow-paced, or you like the idea of longer chapters, then it is still worth doing this during your first rough draft. After all, you can always merge or re-arrange your shorter mini-chapters when you are editing the finished draft of your story.
Sorry about the short article, but I hope that it was useful 🙂