I dont want to be that person but any tips for writing? Like how do you extend your work into book-length stories and still maintain interest. So yeah ᇂﮌᇂ)™
If you mean the kind of person that wants to improve and get better at something they enjoy doing, I think that’s an okay thing to be! :)
The good news is: “book-length” can be defined in a lot of ways. If you were to look up how, say, the organization of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America classifies word count, you’d find that they define a novel as anything “over 40,000 words”. That’s actually sounds a lot shorter than I think what most people would consider a full-length novel, but the cool thing is that Sci-Fi/Fantasy works tend to actually run very long in terms of average novel length, so it’s not like these are a bunch of weaklings who can only regularly churn out 50k word books. Defining the length of The Prototypical Novel is rather arbitrary, but if you’re at around 40k words, a bunch of people who write really long shit for a living are gonna look at your manuscript and go “Yep, that’s a novel!” So that’s kind of cool.
Anyway - rambling aside. To be honest, story length and maintaining interest is something I struggle with a lot myself. Not necessarily because I lose interest, but because I can’t go more than four minutes without thinking up another new story idea I have to write, omg, this is the greatest idea ever. So I have this issue, which tends to make current projects stall out and sometimes stagnate to the point of…. no return. I have a lot of trouble focusing.
But I also think the most important advice to give in terms of sticking with a project is to first make sure it inspires you. This sounds really obvious, maybe, but if you’re a new writer starting out on something you’re not crazy in love with the idea of, I think it is very easy to very quickly run out of steam.
Once I get ahold of an idea I really love, I typically start to just go into a brainstorming coma. I come up with tons of scene ideas, some of which I write beforehand, I write character dialogue, I meander through possible backstory ideas. I write a lot of Fantasy/Sci-Fi myself so a good deal of my pre-writing process goes into fleshing out the world and setting. I can, often, do this for days or weeks, before I’m actually set to start writing! But for me, having a really strong base before I start writing the beginning has a sort of “floodgate” effect. I spend so much time with all these ideas trickling in that when I finally get that opening paragraph in mind, it’s like everything just sort of comes rushing out and it helps with my momentum a lot.
But, most of the time, you’ll need to work to keep up that momentum, and the longer a story is, generally, the harder you’ll have to work at it. This is when it becomes important to just write a little bit, every day. One thing I do (this may be excessive) is to figure out a rough benchmark for where I want to be in final word count. Then I figure out about when I want to be done, and set weekly, sometimes daily goals for myself. 70k words sounds like a lot, but… 700 words a day? Easy! Taking things in chunks helps me immensely. (And most of the time you’ll wind up writing way more than your quota for the day and feel really good about yourself… or at least I do.)
This is also why I love outlining! The outlining process varies for everyone probably as much as the writing process does, but I think it is good for longer, plot driven stories to have an idea of benchmarks. Of course, I know some people who can let 40k words fly with little to no outline whatsoever (@ellessey-writes…) but in general, that just ain’t happening for me. The longer the story, the more detailed my outline tends to get, because it helps me see a) what I’ve written and the avg length per section, b) what I’m writing now and where I am in the story, and c) what I need to write towards and how much ground I’ve got left to cover. Outlines always (like, 98% of the time) evolve and change while the writing is happening, but I love having a clear idea of where I’m headed.
And ultimately, my opinion is - if you find yourself completely losing interest in something, stop forcing yourself to write it. Fighting a story you’re bored of doesn’t feel good, it can make your writing stagnate, and make you feel like you’re not making progress, or your writing is “bad”, or you’re uncreative - I’ve been there. Generally, if you’ve got an idea you love, this won’t happen - you’ll have ebbs and flows of interest, but you won’t want to drop it. But it can happen and (unless you’re being paid to write something lol) you can decide to move on, even just temporarily.
Take a break. Write something else. Write other things you’re excited about. Let it sit, and come back to it when you’re ready, with new ideas and even sharper writing skills.
Or, move on, that’s okay, too. You don’t have to finish a book to be a better writer. You don’t even need to write full length novels to be an author (though if you keep practicing, keep finding ideas, this will come).