|G. Russell Gaynor|
G. Russell Gaynor is president of Atlanta-based Quicksylver, Inc., a multi-faceted art production company. He has written 9 books, 20 screenplays, 2 stage plays and scores of poems. With astonishing graciousness, here's what G. Russell Gaynor told me:
"It has been my experience that when a manuscript comes in under length, it is usually for one of two reasons: Author’s Pacing or Perspective. And though they may sound like the same issue (and are often intertwined), they aren’t.
To put it simply, pacing deals with a writer’s anxiety to reach the climax of the story. You want things to move along and get to it already! Oft times this leads to a good description of the action, but not the things which perform the actions. I wrote an entire novel beginning to end with absolutely no descriptions of anyone or any place.
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Perspective can get a little trickier and it depends greatly on the sort of story you are trying to tell. Unless the story is a functional narrative where the reader is inside the character’s mind, don’t be afraid to develop and implement the view points of the not-so-main character(s) not to mention (if at all applicable) the audience’s view. Oft times the audience knows things the characters don’t, but that tracks more with the style of expression you opted to employ.
All in all, the answer (what to down when your novel's too short) is best found in any reflective surface. Which is good because that means you don’t have to go too far to find your way out of the woods. You can either do it in stages, whereby your first writing is all passion and then you go back and edit from your head… you can choose to generate outlines, of varying specificity, to guide you as you are writing. My personal best solution is getting out of the way.
Most of my pre-production is spent in the development of the main characters and then the environment I am about to insert them into. The characters have their agenda and I let them go about their business, allowing the environment to create avenues of assistance or hindrance. I find that often creates character(s) (sort of on the fly) that are more accessible.
For instance, I have a fantasy adventure story whereby the key to magic has inserted itself into a person. Needless to say anyone and anything that knows anything about magic is after this poor man. But as I create the world that story takes place in, I sit back and ask myself who is involved in the chase and why. Next thing you know, I have a plethora of characters all falling over themselves, clamoring for the prize. Little do they know that it might be best they never try to claim it!
So the best advice I can tell you is to serve the voice in the manuscript. The character(s) have voice, but so does their world and the more you make of it, without going 4-5 pages overboard, the more the reader feels like they're a part of what’s going on, instead of merely witnessing it. I hope this helps and the best of fate and skill with the manuscript!
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