Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lengthening Stories & Newsletters

Jenn here. Now that I've met my deadline on Highland Sanctuary, I'm now working on lengthening a novel to meet an editor request. I need to add 5-10,000 words. I've been pondering how I'm going to do it in this particular novel. I prayed about it and yesterday as I was driving down the road, I had an epiphany. I'm going to add a third POV.

My heroine is waiting on her brother to travel half-way across the country to rescue her. If he arrives in time when she hopes he would, there would be no book. The problem is, in the book he doesn't arrive and she is left wondering why. Of course, he's detained and it isn't until near the end that it is revealed why. In 1845, they lacked instant communication and it makes sense that the heroine wouldn't discover the reasons until the end, but that doesn't mean I can't entertain my readers with what is happening to her brother in the meantime. Therefore, I'm adding his POV to up the stakes, give the story another dimension, and raise my word count.

What methods have you used to raise word count?

Now onto my next topic--newsletters. I spent my evening creating my first e-newsletter on Constant Contact. I'm trying out their 60-day free trial. The problem is, they require you to pay a monthly fee and I don't have time to send out a monthly newsletter. The idea of paying for the service on the months that I'm not sending a newsletter is grating on my nerves--a bit--okay, a lot.

Basically, I want to send out a newsletter or bulletin with updated news when I have it--maybe on a quarterly basis or when I have a big campaign going on. People are getting blasted with info all the time, I don't want to add to it unless my news is relevant. I checked a couple of services that allow you to pay as you go, but they were ridiculous and cost prohibited in that they severely limited you to how many people you can send your newsletter to.

I would rely on social networks, but they aren't as reliable. People don't always read their newsfeeds and some don't get on there everyday. There is something about getting a direct message that makes one feel like it is more relevant to them--like a special invitation. Otherwise, I wouldn't spend the extra time on this, because time is not a luxury I have most days.

Therefore, I'm wondering if there is a service out there that will meet my needs without requiring me to overpay for services I don't need. My other question is, would I be better off buying a software that would meet my needs and pay for itself over the long term. I'm open to suggestions, ideas, thoughts. Please share!


  1. Jenn,
    I recently needed to add some words so I added a subplot. I'm pretty sure it will carry me to my needed word count.
    I know nothing about e newsletters. I've been supposed to be doing one for my church for over a year and haven't even ventured. i'm interested in learning though.

  2. Hi Jennifer

    I am always nervous when an editor wants to lengthen a novel. Supposedly the novel was a complete story as it was. This can lead to padding and padding drives me crazy. By padding I mean a passage that does nothing to move the story along. Whole chapters can be padding.

    Here’s how I like a story to be lengthen: Make the story more rewarding for the reader who will now read the added copy. One way to do this is to complicate the story so that the 'new' complete story had to be longer. That is, write the story in such a way that removing the added material would make the story inoperable and render it a different story than what it originally was.

    This is the test: if you can cut out the new material and still have the same story as you had before, then the added material is essentially padding.

    Rule of Thumb: Added material, if substantial, should materially change the story.

    The danger of a third POV is that it takes the reader’s eye off the ball. Just as you set up a hook at the end of a chapter (to get the reader into the next chapter), you frustrate the reader by going somewhere else than where the hook leads. This is OK for “War and Peace” but I think it can complicate the writing process to a degree that I don’t see this being done very often in current works.

    I read a wonderful book (“They Almost Always Come Home”) that did this very well but the POV change also involved a change from third person to first person. The key here was that the story required the change in person and POV. It was not there just to be different.

    Please let us know the name of the book when it comes out. I am very interested to see how you managed the changes. Both from a reader's POV and a writer’s POV. : )


  3. Jenn, I love Vertical Response. I chose it because I try to do a quarterly newsletter. I do the pay as go. It's very inexpensive when I do a mailing.

    As for your 3rd pov and what Vince said... I think if you could tie the brother's pov somehow to the hero as well as the heroine, so that in the end, the brother's detainment/arrival play into the main plot, then you could make it work. Also, showing the brother's pov might also play into the ticking clock factor which could add excitement.

  4. I've written in additonal subplots like Lindi to lengthen a manuscript. I'm afraid I know nothing about e-news distriburtion. Your story sounds great! I can't wait to read it.