Creative Writing: How Long Should Your Novel Be?

The length of a novel should depend on two things, and two things only:

1) It should be long enough to qualify as a novel; and


2) It should be just long enough to tell your story.

Creative Writing: How Long Should Your Novel Be?

Too many authors try to stretch their novels into 200,000-word epics, only to bore their readers to tears. Others try to get the entire story over with in 50,000 words, leaving out valuable information. A novel should be just long enough to tell your story, but long enough so that all of the details are included.

Even the shortest novels, however, should be at least 50,000 words. Any shorter than that, and the novel becomes a novella. Anything less than 10,000 words is a short story. Although there really are no set "rules" for length of a manuscript, 50,0000-150,000 words is a safe bet. If your novel is more than 150,000 words, you might consider splitting it into two parts, creating a sequel.

That said, there are other factors which can influence the length of your novel. Pacing, characters and action are just a few, combined with the complexity of the subject matter. For example, in Tom Clancy's novels, he has to explain the complicated military jargon as well as the construction of planes and tanks. Therefore, his novels are much longer than 150,000 words. The same could be said for Jurassic Park, which uses in-depth scientific explanations.

Some authors choose to outline their plots before they begin writing, and using this technique, they can usually tell how long their novel will be before they even sit down to write. I never use an outline - I prefer to wing it - so the length usually comes as a surprise to me once I've finished. I judge the pace of the novel as I write, and I go over it chapter-by-chapter to make sure that I've written each scene as concisely and briefly as possible while still delivering the full effect.

For beginning writers, your best bet is to just continue writing until you get a feel for length. Write short stories to practice telling a story in fewer words and work on condensing sentences into their purest form. It's an art - that, I'll admit - but once you have a sense of your own abilities as a writer, it will be second nature.

Creative Writing: How Long Should Your Novel Be?

Laura J. College is a professional ghostwriter with more than ten years' experience writing fiction and non-fiction manuscripts. Her work can be found all over the Internet, and she is currently accepting ghostwriting clients. Check out her website at []

Creative Writing: How to Write Fight Scenes

Many of the novels produced today have fight scenes which must be described in detail. If you are writing a suspense or horror story, chances are someone will throw a few punches. Depending on the type of fight you are writing about, you will need to think through each fight scene and decide exactly how you want to tell it.

Fight scenes are much easier to perform on television than to write in a manuscript. On the screen, you can see the fight happening and you aren't worried about what anyone is thinking. You don't have to tell the audience how each move is executed because it is right there in front of your face. In a novel, however, the way you write a fight scene will determine whether or not your reader can follow.


One of the most difficult aspect of writing fight scenes is the tendency to slip into monotony: He kicked her. She kicked him. He punched her. She bit him. In order to keep your reader interested, you have to find creative ways to tell the reader what is happening.

Creative Writing: How to Write Fight Scenes

When writing fight scenes, focus not only on the characters who are engaged in the fight, but also various aspects of the scenery. In most cases, you will be "in the mind" of one specific character, which means that the fight is explained from his or her point of view. Even as your character is kicking ass and taking names, he or she should be cognizant of the world around them.

There is a fine line, however, between creating enough description and creating so much that it takes away from the pace. Fights are fast, furious and often over within minutes; if you drag it out too long, your reader will get bored. Keep the pace flowing by intermixing your description with the mechanics of the fight.

For example:

"Caleb was momentarily distracted by the shouts that emanated from the rapidly growing crowd in the parking lot. Catcalls were followed by cheers of encouragement so loud that his attention was momentarily called away from the fight. Joshua's leg swept out in a wide, graceful art, connecting with Caleb's ankles, throwing him off balance. Without even realizing what exactly was happening, Caleb found himself flat on his back, sucking in deep breaths of air that seemed devoid of oxygen, wincing as tiny pebbles from the asphalt dug painfully into his back. The subsequent tunnel vision that threatened to take away his sight cleared with just enough time to roll away from a kick to the ribs."

The above is an excerpt from a suspense novel I wrote several years ago, and displays an example of complementing action with description. We know what is going on with the fight, but we also understand what has happened to Caleb.

Once you have finished writing a fight scene, read it over aloud. Listen to the words from an objective point of view and determine if you can see the fight happening in your mind. If you don't feel that you can maintain objectivity, read it to a friend or family member.

Creative Writing: How to Write Fight Scenes

Laura J. College is a professional ghostwriter with more than ten years' experience writing fiction and non-fiction manuscripts. Her work can be found all over the Internet, and she is currently accepting ghostwriting clients. Check out her website at []

Creative Writing - 3 Key Steps To Get Started In Creative Writing Today

Many people have the desire to write and feel they have it in them to write poems, stories, even novels. But they barely write a word.

Maybe you've tried a little creative writing yourself, and would like to do more, but something holds you back.


Here are the 3 key steps you can take, to get you started (again) with your Creative Writing:

Creative Writing - 3 Key Steps To Get Started In Creative Writing Today

Step 1. Be kind to yourself, start small. Many people, having never written more than a few short pieces of creative writing before, try to go headfirst in at the deep end and write their first novel in a couple of weekends.

Yes, there are a few people this can work for, and if you're one of them and that works for you, that's fantastic.

But the rest of us need to build up our creative writing muscles before we go for a big writing project like a novel.

Pick a small project first, like a poem or article or short descriptive piece. Get used to writing, and familiar with the whole process from having an idea, to writing the first few words, to that proud feeling of reading back your finished piece of writing.

Step 2. Create regularly. Creative writing, like any other form of creativity, needs to become a habit for you to reach your true potential. In your list of what you do each day, creating needs to be just below Breathe, Eat and Sleep.

Pick a regular time each day to create for a minimum of 15 minutes, stick to it for 2 weeks and notice what a huge difference this makes to your creative output.

Imagine what you'll have written in 6 to 12 months from now when you extend this daily creative session to 20 or 30 minutes a day.

Step 3. Experiment. Play. Enjoy. Creative writing is about exploring new ideas, new characters, new worlds, new ways of expressing yourself and your creativity.

It's also about learning which ways you write most effectively, which types of writing you most enjoy and which you'd like to try next.

If you have the attitude that creative writing is an enjoyable experience, not a chore or a slog, then obviously it makes a huge difference to what you write.

If you feel at times your writing is getting tired or stuck or predictable, just switch to a different type of writing, try a new creative writing project in a format you've never tried before.

The more you write, and the more different ways you write, the richer your creative writing will be.

These are the 3 key steps to getting started with your creative writing today. What are you waiting for?

Creative Writing - 3 Key Steps To Get Started In Creative Writing Today

To give your creative writing that extra boost out of the blocks, get your FREE 5 part creative writing ecourse at www.YouAreACreativeWriter.Com.

Creativity Coach and keen creative writer Dan Goodwin helps people who are struggling to be as creative as they know they can be. See more at his website:

Creative Writing: How to Start Your Novel

When I was in the eleventh grade, I took a creative writing elective with one of the most brilliant teachers I've ever met. She was brutal, honest and highly creative; I don't know why she hadn't graduated to teaching college courses. In any event, she gave me the best writing advice I have ever gotten:

"The worst way to start your story is with a 'dark and stormy night'. It's been done. Other than that, the sky's the limit."


I took her advice to heart, and the stories I wrote for her class had the most creative beginnings I've ever written.

Creative Writing: How to Start Your Novel

Most beginning (and even veteran) writers struggle with how to open their novels. Dialogue? Action? Witty prose? How you start your novel with decide how many people buy it off bookstore shelves. Captivating your reader should be the first priority, but how do you know if it's exciting enough?

How to Start Your Novel with Dialogue

I rarely start novels with dialogue, mostly because I can never think of anything important enough to say. However, sometimes dialogue is the best way to get your novel off to a running start. If your characters are in the middle of a fight or if there's something you want to get right out in the open, dialogue can thrust your reader right into the opening scene of the novel.

That said, you have to be careful. Resist the urge to start your novel with dialogue like, "How are you feeling today?" If you plan to open with dialogue, it must be intelligent and important and captivating.

My only real advice for starting your novel with dialogue is to have only one line of speech before you insert some explanations. Even if the characters are in the middle of a conversation, don't confuse your reader by failing to give details.

How to Start Your Novel with Action

Obviously, action is the most popular way to start a novel. It's exciting, intriguing, and it lures your readers into the story before they even know what hit them.

This is especially true with mystery and suspense stories. In those genres, readers expect to be hooked from the get-go, and they want to be shocked from paragraph one.

How to Start Your Novel with Prose

In this case, "prose" really refers to description. Some of the most powerful novels of all time have begun with languid and lyrical description:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

"A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories..."

- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Description is my favorite way to start a novel because it eases the reader into the storyline. There are no expectations, no assumptions; your reader becomes immersed in the fictional world that you have created, and at your own pace; no one else's.

The only problem with this method is that you must find a unique way to describe the opening scene. My advice is to think about the characters and the setting and to pick out a remote object on which to comment. This takes your reader from a very specified place - the object - and into a more complex scene - your opening. For example, one of the books that I ghosted several years ago began like this:

"In a room filled with beautiful antique furniture and ancient artifacts from Egypt and Rome, the digital clock radio stuck out like a sore thumb. It's flashing green digits called attention to the clock as if to say, I may be new, but I'm still important. It struck me as odd that someone as refined and as old-world as Cunningham Thompson III would rely on such a technological timepiece." By drawing your readers' attention to something mundane, they will be twice as captivated when you get on with the plot.

Creative Writing: How to Start Your Novel

Laura J. College is a professional ghostwriter with more than ten years' experience writing fiction and non-fiction manuscripts. Her work can be found all over the Internet, and she is currently accepting ghostwriting clients. Check out her website at []