I’ve finally figured out why my stories almost always take more words/time to write than I think they will.
The thing is, you can’t rush a relationship, even on paper. And while some develop pretty quickly all on their own, others are more complex, and need to be allowed to develop at their own pace. When you try to rush it, the inevitable comments will be along the lines of “the story was too short” or “the relationship was unbelievable” – and rightly so. I really think that when people say the story was too short, or felt rushed, what they’re really saying is that the characters were pushed into acting in ways that just weren’t plausible for them, due to length/time constraints.
As a writer, my first responsibility is to the characters I’m writing. Why? Because if I pay attention and write the characters in the way that their personality needs to be written, it’s going to be more satisfying to the reader. While I don’t hit it perfectly every time, I do really strive to make sure that relationships aren’t forced, and aren’t rushed just for the sake of a particular word count. The story is what matters, not how long or how short it is. And that’s why a lot of my short stories run long. It’s also why a lot of my novels run short – I won’t stretch things out just to pad the story. But that’s a topic for another post.
Do you give your characters more time when they need it? Or do you force them to meet the word count you need, regardless?
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