If you’re like most people, you probably want your book to be as long as possible. After all, longer books are usually considered more valuable and can advance your writer career or help you sell more copies. But how can you make a book longer without it losing quality or becoming too long-winded?
Why You Might Need to Make Your Book Longer
There are a few good reasons why you should make your book longer.
If you’re writing a novel, you need to make sure your book is long enough to satisfy readers and the demands of the genre. For example, if you’re writing a mystery novel, it should be at least 50,000 words long. Fantasy and science fiction novels usually have a word count of at least 80,000 words, while romance novels are a bit shorter – usually between 40,000 and 60,000 words.
Some agents and editors also recommend that you lengthen your book to make it more marketable. For example, if you’re writing a nonfiction book, it should be at least 50,000 words to satisfy readers. But if you’re targeting a specific niche, it may need to be much longer.
For example, if you’re writing a book about how to manage diabetes, you might need to go into great detail about how to manage the disease. That might lead to you writing a 100,000-word book.
If you’re writing a cookbook, people will expect it to be pretty comprehensive so they get their money’s worth. Whether or not you need to make your book longer depends on the genre, the audience, and the purpose of the book.
If you’re writing a short story, a poem, or a short non-fiction book, you need to make sure your text is as long as it needs to be to convey everything you want to convey and to make the work as effective as possible.
17 Ways to Lengthen Your Book
1. Add More Subplots
If you want to add depth and dimension to your book, you should include one or more subplots. Subplots can advance the main plot by providing conflict, suspense, and thrills. They can also provide a break from the main plot and give readers a chance to catch their breath before diving back in.
If done well, subplots can enrich your story and make it more complex, making it more fun for readers to follow.
Here are a few tips on how to incorporate subplots into your book:
- First, think about which subplots are appropriate for your story. There are many different types of subplots, so it’s important that you choose them so that they complement the main plot without overshadowing it.
- Once you’ve decided on the type of subplot, think about possible scenarios. What kind of conflict might arise? What secrets might be revealed? How might the subplot be interwoven with the main plot?
- Begin to weave the subplot into the story. Start with small hints and clues and then gradually increase the tension until the subplot comes to a head. Be sure to tie the subplot to the main plot and resolve it in a way that satisfies the reader.
- Avoid the pitfall of introducing too many subplots. Too many subplots can be confusing and cause readers to lose interest. Ideally, you should include only one subplot in your book, but in some cases, two can work as long as they’re interwoven.
2. Create Additional Characters
Add more characters into the story to give your main characters more challenges. This is a good way to increase tension, provided the additional characters are relevant to the overall story.
The new characters could be friends or family members of the protagonist who come to visit. The friends could be long-lost comrades from the war, while the family members could be relatives the protagonist has never met.
These new characters could bring new challenges and obstacles for the protagonist to overcome, adding tension and excitement to the story.
You could also introduce these new characters with an obstacle, such as an illness, because of which they need your protagonist’s help.
3. Explore In More Depth Your Characters’ Backstories
The backstory is the history and events that led to the current story. It can include things like childhood memories, formative experiences, relationships, and so on. Taking the time to explore your characters’ backstory adds depth and richness to your book. Your characters will seem fully formed and three-dimensional, and readers will be able to identify with them on a deeper level.
Backstories can provide your readers with important context that helps them understand why your characters behave the way they do and makes them more sympathetic.
They can also add suspense by foreshadowing future events or leading readers down false trails.
In addition, backstories can help explore your world and give readers a deeper understanding of the history and culture of the setting.
Of course, you don’t have to include every detail of your characters’ backstory in the main body of your story. But at least some information about their past can be a good way to make your book more enjoyable and meaningful for readers.
So the next time you’re having trouble lengthening your story, look into your characters’ backstories and see what you can discover.
4. Add More Dialogue
Adding more dialog to your book can help deepen the story and make it more interesting for readers. It can also help you avoid unnecessary repetition and direct the reader’s attention.
Here are a few tips on how to include more dialog in your book:
- Start brainstorming scenarios where dialog would be a good addition. Sometimes dialog can help move the story forward or reveal new information.
- Using a dialog tag is important to create clear and concise dialog. The dialog tag tells the reader who said what. It’s usually placed at the beginning of the dialog and consists of either a pronoun (he said, she said, it said, they said, you said) or a noun (said).
- If you’re writing a short story, poem, or short nonfiction piece, use dialog sparingly. Short snippets of dialog can move the story along, but too much dialog can make it difficult for readers to follow the text.
- If you’re writing a novel, you can use dialog to draw readers into the story and make them more emotionally attached to the characters. Have several characters talk to each other, give their opinions, share secrets, and talk in circles to increase suspense.
- Consider limiting yourself to only one dialog tag per paragraph so that your dialog doesn’t become too cluttered.
5. Deepen the Relationships Between Characters
A common misconception about writing a longer book is that it means including more subplots or more characters. While these are effective ways to make a book longer, they aren’t the only ones available to you.
Another way to add length and depth to your story is to deepen the relationships between your existing characters. This can mean exploring their backstories in more detail, elaborating on their motivations and points of conflict, or simply giving them more scenes together where they interact and develop their relationship.
By taking the time to deepen your characters’ relationships, you can’t only lengthen your story, but also create more complex characters that will resonate well with readers.
You could also give your characters more scenes together where they can develop a deeper bond. For example, you could give your main character the opportunity to interact with each of their romantic interests, such as by having a “date night” scene for each of them.
You could also give your characters the opportunity to talk together about events in the story, which can further deepen their bond. The connections can also take place outside of the story, meaning they can be friends, co-workers, family members, or strangers who meet by chance. You could give your character a love interest, a friend, a mentor, a boss, a rival, etc.
6. Add More Details To The Settings
If your book is set in a specific location, such as the desert, a small town, or outer space, you can add more details to the setting to make it more vivid and realistic. The more details you add, the more intense your story will be and the more fun it’ll be for readers to follow.
You could change the setting and introduce a new environment or change the perspective. Or you could describe the setting in more detail or add a scene or chapter that takes place in the past or future.
Here are a few tips on how to describe your setting in more detail:
- Decide on a location that’s appropriate for your story. Is it set in a big city like New York or Tokyo? Or is it set in a small town or rural area? For example, if your main character is an astronaut, you could’ve your story take place on a space station, in outer space, or on Earth.
- When you’ve decided on a location, think about other details. Is there anything special about the place that makes it unique? Are there certain characteristics or features that set the place apart? How do the people live there?
- Once you’ve decided on the most important details, start incorporating them into your story. Add as many details as possible without overwhelming your readers or making it difficult for them to follow the story.
7. Adapt the Pacing – Slow the Story Down
Pacing is one of the most important aspects of writing. It keeps readers turning the pages, and it determines the overall flow of the story.
By slowing down the pace, you give readers a chance to really immerse themselves in the world you’ve created. They’ve more time to notice the little details and enjoy the journey your characters are taking. In short, by slowing down the story, you give readers a chance to really enjoy your work. And isn’t that what we all want?
But the pacing isn’t just about length, it’s about rhythm and tempo. So how can you slow things down?
- One way is to use more descriptions. Instead of just saying a character is sad, describe their body language, facial expressions, and the way they move.
- Another option is to use longer sentences; this provides a slower pace and helps draw readers into your world.
Whatever method you choose, remember that slowness and steadiness always win the race. So take your time and enjoy the journey!
8. Extend the Buildup Before Your Climax
As every reader knows, one of the most important aspects of a book is the climax. It’s the point where the tension and conflict come to a head and the reader finally learns how the story will end.
However, many authors make the mistake of rushing to the climax and leaving the reader unsatisfied.
A longer build-up before the climax can be an effective way to make your book longer and enhance the reader’s experience. By taking the time to slowly build the tension and conflict, you can create a much stronger and more satisfying climax.
It also gives you the opportunity to develop your characters and your world, making your book even more exciting and enjoyable.
You can also lengthen the buildup by giving readers a taste of the climax, such as a preview of the final battle. That way, you build suspense and increase reader enjoyment.
9. Make the Climax More Intense
One way to make the climax more intense is to make it more visual. Instead of just describing the characters’ feelings and reactions, describe the setting and key details. Describe what the characters see, what they hear, and how the world around them changes.
This helps make the story more vivid and the climax more vivid.
You can also enhance the climax by using more sensory input such as colors, sounds, tastes, textures, smells, etc. For example, instead of simply describing a dark cave, you could describe the colors, textures, and smells of the cave.
10. Try Using Internal Monologue
Not all books contain a wealth of explanations. In fact, in most books, there’s quite a bit of inner monolog or inner dialog. However, some authors choose to include only dialog or only narration.
An inner monolog in your book is a great way to add length and depth to your story. It gives readers a chance to explore and better understand your main character’s thoughts, it helps move the story along, and it allows you to create a more immersive and entertaining world.
This approach works especially well for books written in first-person perspective because you can tell the story from the main character’s point of view.
The important thing here’s that you don’t overdo it with the monolog. Too much inner dialog can bore readers and cause them to lose interest in your story.
If you use an inner monolog, your book will be longer because you’ll have more pages to include details and descriptions. This is especially effective if you’re writing an action or thriller novel because it allows you to describe the plot in more detail and explore your characters’ thought processes and motivations.
11. Mix In More Complications and Challenges
One of the best ways to make your book longer is to include challenges, complications, and hurdles.
By including challenges, you force your characters to overcome obstacles, which can make the story more engaging and exciting. It gives readers a sense of satisfaction when they see your characters overcome these obstacles. It can also help increase suspense and keep readers hooked on every page.
A complicated plot can also make your book more interesting and help flesh out the world in which your story is set.
Finally, extra hurdles can provide additional obstacles for your characters to overcome in order to move forward.
So if you include challenges, complications, and hurdles, your book will be longer, more interesting, and more entertaining for your readers.
12. Create a Stronger Villain
If your main character is facing a villain who poses a bigger threat, you need to introduce more details and give readers a deeper insight into the bad guy.
You can do this by coming up with a detailed backstory. Where did the villain grow up? What kind of life did he lead? Where did he develop the abilities he uses in the book?
Another option is to give the villain more personality. What kind of person is this villain and what motivates his behavior? Is there something about his personality that makes him unique? How do they see themselves? How do they see the world and their place in it?
This will make the villain more alive, your book longer, and the overall experience for your readers better.
13. Alter the Timeline of Your Novel
By including additional scenes, subplots, and flashbacks, you can give your readers a richer experience without letting the story get out of hand. In addition, lengthening the timeline can help build suspense and keep readers engaged.
One way to extend the timeline is to include flashbacks and subplots. These elements can take up a lot of space without necessarily moving the plot forward in a linear fashion. Be careful not to overdo it with the subplots, though; too many subplots can confuse and overwhelm readers.
You can also include scenes that take place outside the main action of the story. For example, you could include a scene in which two secondary characters discuss the events of the book and plan their next move.
Don’t forget the most obvious way to extend the timeline of your story: literally, let it play out over a longer period of time. Instead of letting your story play out over a few weeks or months, you can let it play out over years or even decades.
14. Details, Baby!
One of the most important aspects of writing is the use of details. They give your story life, make it believable, and help you develop your characters and your world.
Especially at the beginning of your story, you should pay attention to the use of details so that readers can develop a solid foundation for the rest of the book.
As your story progresses, you can use details to enhance the mood and tone of your scenes. For example, you can describe how the light shines through the trees or how it smells in a room.
Details can make your story longer by encouraging immersion and making your work more vivid. They can also help make your characters more vivid and realistic, and they can help you develop your world and make it more complete.
Details are among the most powerful tools in an author’s arsenal. So don’t be afraid to use them!
15. Use Alternating POV
One of the best ways to expand your book is to use alternating POV. This allows you to tell the story from two different points of view.
Not only does this improve character development and allow your readers to see multiple sides of the story, but it can also extend the length of your book by adding more details and more scenes to the story.
This is especially effective if you’re writing a novel with many characters or if you want to make the story more comprehensive. However, make sure your alternating POV isn’t too stilted or distracting.
16. Write a Series
While it may seem counterintuitive, considering whether your story can form a series might be the best way to extend a book. Writing a series is a great way to keep your readers interested. Readers have a connection to the characters and stories that you can’t always achieve with a single book.
Each book can build on the last and give your readers new, exciting information. And if each book ends with a cliffhanger, your readers will be eager to buy the next book in the series!
When writing a series, the first thing you need to do is develop the overall story arc. This means making sure that each book has an ending that makes sense in terms of the big picture. Also, make sure your books are roughly the same length -say between 40,000 and 90,000 words long (depending on the genre).
The last thing you need to decide at the beginning of a series is the length of the series overall. Most series are either 3 or 5 books long.
What Are the Advantages of Writing a Series?
There are a couple of advantages to writing a series. First, a series gives the author the opportunity to develop his/her characters and world in each book. Readers can revisit their favorite places and characters from book to book. This is especially true if the books are connected by setting or theme.
The next advantage is that a series makes it easier for readers to connect with the characters. When readers know they’ll see the same characters again and again, they get to know them better and feel more comfortable with them.
What Are the Disadvantages of Writing a Series?
The obvious downside to writing a series is that you’ll have to come up with more ideas. You might also get tired of writing about the same characters and settings, and you might stop caring enough about your original story to put the energy into another one.
Another downside is that people who haven’t read the previous books mightn’t want to start the second or third book in the series, so they don’t read it at all. But all in all, it’s fun to write a series, and people really like it.
17. Add An Epilog
If your story has a strong moral theme or is the first in a series, you should include an epilog to summarize the story’s themes, preview the next book, or prepare the story for a sequel. Some epilogs serve to recap and conclude the story, while others serve to pave the way for the next book in the series.
This is a great way to stretch out your book and give your readers a satisfying conclusion.
As with the prolog, if you have one, you should include a hook for the epilog to make it interesting and memorable.