The Insertables

My untitled story is something that is driving me nuts in terms of length. As much as I hate to call it this, the story is a ‘human drama’ based on a teenager who gets picked on and how he gets through his day. The story has fallen short of the length I want, coming in at only 39,000 words (using the standard calculation, not an actual word count). When I started this book, I was shooting for novel-length.

I was speaking to a fellow writer last week who said that if I can add about 20 pages, it should fall right into novella length and it could be publish-able. In order to do this, I need to beef up some sub-plots. I came up with the idea of ‘Insertables’.

I figure that I can write an entire sub-plot separate from the book. This can just have characters from the story in it. If I write 3 or 4 chapters, I can insert them anywhere on an ‘as needed’ basis. I also figure I can write some additional stand-alone chapters that could help build backstory and insert them where needed or even break them up and use certain paragraphs.

By doing this and using this method, I think I can build up the length of this still-unnamed book. I need 80,000 – 100,000 words!


  1. “(using the standard calculation, not an actual word count).”

    what does that mean?

    If the story is told in 39,000 words and adding material will take away from the story, reconsider doing that. But if the the subplots and stand alone chapters make sense and add to the book (in value. not in terms of word count), go for it.

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