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Idea Bubble


The Secret of Expanding
Your Novel Instantly

by Steve Manning

Got a handful of pages but just can't go any farther? Think you've written the whole story after just 70 pages of writing your book?

Frustrated because all you need is another 30 chapters added to your current 10 and you'll have all the manuscript you need?

Not to worry. Here's how you can easily expand on what you've written and bring your book's page count right up to where you want it to be.

There are a couple of techniques you can use and they work equally well for any book. Whether they work well for your book is really up to you. I'll deal with just one today and give you the second one later. As I've said over and over again, once you can get rid of that nagging sense of self doubt, then truly anything is both possible and remarkably easy when it comes time to write your book.

The first technique has you look at your current work as a short story. It might even be as short as a page. Again, that's entirely up to you. Now, read it through and as you do ask yourself what items would help the reader enjoy the story more. Keep thinking about the journalist's six w's (who, what when where why and how). If your main character hates kids, why. If she owns several businesses, how did this happen. If she lives alone, what caused her to be that way.

It has gotten to the point where I can take just about any sentence and expand it considerably just with the use of these six words or words like them.

The quick red fox jumps over the lazy brown dog.

What is the fox doing there? Why does she want to jump over the dog? Has she had any exposure to other animals? When did she first realize she was quick? What's an example in her life that would show the reader that she's quick? Did she have any siblings who weren't nearly as quick as her? What happened to them? Has her quickness had any psychological impact on her life? Is there something she simply isn't very quick at?

I could go on. And remember, I've yet to explore the intricacies of her immediate obstacle... the dog. But I think I've made the point. And that was with a single sentence. You probably have a couple of chapters.

When you do this with your work, it's crucial that you not be critical at all. You're doing this with your work simply to get all the possibilities down as quickly as possible. Don't edit yourself. You don't know what seemingly idiotic question (how did she get to be red) will spark one that will take you speeding off in a new direction, (Why was she obsessive about her grooming habits).

And then you'll start to see how one question (why was her coat no longer as shiny as she remembered it) will build atop another and your manuscript starts to expand like a crazed blowfish.

Okay, granted, there will be some questions that don't really lead anywhere, can't really be used for effective expansion and should be scrapped before you spend too much time on them. But that's why you're just jotting these questions down. After you've created a few dozen, I hereby give you permission to get rid of two, okay, three. Just don't create 40 and cut it down to four!

Each of these expansion ideas is interesting because each one springs from an initial idea that was interesting. By the end of the exercise your problem won't be that you have a manuscript that's too small. Your problem will be that you've got a manuscript that's, well, huge.

Could I write an entire book from this simple fox and dog story? Oh, yes, no problem. So tell me, if you've got a couple of chapters to work with right now (or even a single page) What's stopping you from doing the same?
Steve Manning is a master writer showing thousands of people how they can write their book faster than they ever thought possible. Here's your free book-writing library and mini-course,

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