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> How long?, Ok I'm in a bit of a tis
Faerieryn
post Aug 1 2006, 07:16 PM
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Here is the problem.

I'm exceptionally bored. I have five weeks off in which to do nothing. Until I move house I have no money. Now I have been toying with the idea of writing a novel for a while now and have decided that this is the perfect time to get started. Only problem is that I've only ever written short stories before now.

I have no idea how long a chapter should be in terms of A4 pages. My prologue reached about 3 but my first chapter wants rapping up soon and I'm worried that it'll be too short. ANy ideas?


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If life hands you a lemon make lemonade, lace it with cyanide and then pass it around. What can I say I'm a revenge type of gal!!! Ryn
Wearing a large shiny tag around neck "Uncullable Faerie"
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Greeneyes
post Aug 1 2006, 10:16 PM
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I don't think there really should be any set amount for what a chapter 'should' be. Perhaps the best idea is to leave gaps where the natural separations are in the story, rather than force things by ending a chapter when there is more to write and rushing or stretching things out. If you just mark probable points to start off with, then you can decide which ones to keep later, when you're finished. I'm pretty sure I've read books with single page chapters in before.


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That_Guy
post Aug 1 2006, 10:21 PM
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Well, I'm not exactly learned in the field of writing novels, but I CAN give you some advice. Detail, detail, detail. Describing scenes and events in great detail can lengthen your story AND make it more immersive, plus it's fairly hard to go overboard unless you're Herman Melville.


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Usurper MrTeapot
post Aug 2 2006, 12:14 AM
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Far from me to give advice to a teacher but I'll try.

I agree with Greeneyes. A chapter in the story should last as long as you want it to. If you feel it is getting to be a bit long then perhaps try switching to a different line, perhaps to briefly introduce a new character, just to break it up a bit.

Short chapters are good too, they don't have to be very lengthy. I just did a word count job from a document on my computer. 5 pages of A4 converted to A5, which is closest I could get for a typical book size page, made up 9 pages and roughly 4500 words. Just right for a flowing story I would say. 12 pages is only short if you are adding a lot of depth.

Remember to post snippets for us to critique on the forums. tongue.gif


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Cath Sparrow
post Aug 2 2006, 10:27 AM
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NerNer! I got to read it last night. tongue.gif
I'm also with Greeny and Darling T ( tongue.gif ) here make to the length that feels right. I know for sure I have read 1 or 2 page chapters. If you start trying to force it you'll just end up buggering up the flow. You can always go back and add to it later.


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I_am_the_best
post Aug 2 2006, 11:26 AM
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I've read books with chapters that take up less than an A5 page and chapters which last 30 A5 pages. I guess it's just however the chapter needs to fulfill its purpose.


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Faerieryn
post Aug 2 2006, 11:54 AM
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Ok this is how much I have so far. Any thoughts and ideas would be appreciated and mentioned in the thankyou's apge when I'm rich and famous. Oh and PLEASE don't do anything nefarious like pinch bit of it.

Love you all


Working title “Rose”


Prologue

Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived in a tower whose name was Rose. Like all children she believed in two absolutes; That she was singularly the most important being in the whole wide world and that her parents loved her above everything else in their lives. Children grow up quickly in these modern times but none so quickly as Rose. By the time she was just six years old Rose had learned in the cruellest most difficult way that both of these absolutes were, in fact, complete and utter bullshit.

Rose’s mother was a delicate as the flower she named her daughter for. With hair as dark as the midnight sky and deep green pools for eyes she was an angel in human form to behold. Her childhood ended quickly too, for at just sixteen she became the mother of a beautiful baby girl. The child’s father was a strong and kindly man. He loved his daughter like the moon loves the earth she watches over at night. Not much older than his lover, the child’s father wished to provide for his small family so they moved far away from their families and into the tallest room of a tall tower.

Things were good for a time, whilst the little girl, Rose grew from a beautiful baby into a striking toddler, until her mother began to play with fire. Fire that came in little bags and went into her body with a needle. At first Rose’s father begged his lady to stop her games but soon he too was playing with the little bags. Gone was his strength, gone was her beauty and gone was their love for little Rose. Their only worry was where the next little bag was going to come from.

Rose saw all of this and hated what had happened to her family. She loved her parents and she knew that deep down they loved her too. So one night after her parents had fallen into a magical sleep she crept out of her bedroom and took the last little bag from her mother’s purse. She hid it deep in her teddy bear’s chest and returned to her bed, smiling now that she had made her family better again. Or so she thought.

It was her mother who awoke first. It was still early morning, the sun not quite peeking over the many towers of the kingdom, yet with her first steps she went to her purse to find the little bag. When she saw it was gone she fell into a vicious rage. Without thinking she ran to her lover and dragged him from the depths of sleep accusing him of taking the last and not sharing it with her. At first he was confused until he realised what she was saying was true- the bag was indeed gone. He then turned on her. Screaming that it was she- not he- that had taken the last bag he began throwing things at her and grabbing at her body. They fought for what seemed an age to Rose. She stayed safe in her bed, too scared to leave her covers. She heard the shouting and crying and then the opening and slamming of the front door. She heard her mother’s cries for mercy from her father. The she heard the door open and slam again and again until her mother’s cries stopped and door slammed once more, for the last time.

When it was quiet Rose decided to venture out from her bedroom to her mother. She carried the little bag with her. She planned to apologise to them and give the bag back to her mother. She hadn’t realised it was so important. She was sorry, so very sorry. She crossed the hallway to the main room of the house and found no one. Into the kitchen, no one. Finally she went to the front door of their little house in the tallest tower and stopped. She dropped the bag of fire onto the floor and ran screaming into her bedroom and into her closet where she stayed until the police came.

She told the officers that she heard nothing. That she had heard her parents arguing and had hidden herself in her closet until she fell asleep. That was a lie. She told the officers that she hadn’t heard her mother screaming as her father’s magical strength had returned to him, giving him enough power to crush her head in the front door. That too was a lie. She told them that she hadn’t seen her father leave the flat or throw himself over the edge to his death ten floors below. That was the truth. And she told them that she hadn’t been the one to find her mother’s body in the doorway, her once beautiful face mutilated and torn by the cracking of her skull. Also a lie.

Rose learned many things that day. She learned that people don’t want children to see bad things and that they prefer it if they pretend that the bad things didn’t happen. She learned that some things are more important to people than children and that you can only trust yourself. She learned that she was alone in the world and the meaning of the words “Foster Care” and she learned how to lie. REALLY well.


Chapter One

“Damn, shit, bugger and balls!” I swore as the taxi dropped me off. I was late. Really late. I should have been on campus nearly two hours ago to get the keys to my new place. I struggled out of the cab hauling everything I owned in one huge holdall. I was used to travelling light but this was different. Usually I travelled light because I had very few things that I considered to belong to me. Sure I had clothing and books and things that I used but they were bought for me by the random foster carers that I had had over the years. Today I was travelling light for very different reasons. One: Everything in my holdall had been bought by me with money I had earned from a weekend job at a local super market and two: I was going to be living at uni in a tiny little room. By myself. Without nosey foster mothers and social workers watching my every move. Bliss!
I lugged my over sized bag up the stairs to a huge building marked “REGISTRATION” and pushed the door open. The room was virtually deserted. Only one desk was still manned. I dragged my bag over to the young woman seated behind it. She looked up from her book and sighed. “Name?”
“Rose. Rose Morgan. Hi I’m sorry I’m so- “
“Late. I noticed that. Current address and I.D please.”
I handed over my passport and gave the details she required. Fifteen minutes later I was struggling with my bag AND a large wad of paper with my new address and a map on the top of it.
After asking about fifty billion strangers where I was going I found my building. It was huge and guess what? I was at the very top. Not surprising really. Although my fees were paid for by the government (being in care does have its bonus points) I still had to pay most of my own living costs. Consequentially I was living in the cheapest halls at the entire university. Self catering, shared bathroom and loads and loads of stairs. I shrugged and began the long climb to my new home.

Home. That’s a strange word isn’t it? What exactly is home? Some people think it’s where the people you love live, others think it’s the place you phone when you’re in trouble. Me, I guess when I think of the word home I can’t help but put the word “children’s” in front of it. I’ve been in and out of them for the last twelve years of my life and after a while it sticks. My new home though. That would be different. It would be mine. Not Mr and Mrs Johnson’s home, where I slept in their grown up daughter Millie’s bedroom, covered in horse pictures and trophies won during her final year living with them. Not “Sandi” Tyler’s home, where I shared a room with her fifteen year old daughter and was told quite frankly by said daughter that “You’re a filthy little bitch who should lick my shoes for what I’m doing for you”. I lasted all of three weeks there. No, this would be mine. I dumped my holdall in front of the door. I checked the tag on my keys. “1313” I laughed. Absolutely bloody typical. My new home? Room number 1313- not only an unlucky number but an unlucky number twice! I put the key in the lock and opened the door.
The room was bare. Cold and bare. Dark, cold and bare. I flicked the light switch and the dark went away. That just left the cold and the bare. I slung my bag on the bed and went in search of the heating switch. I found it underneath the desk, next to the wardrobe and drawers combi. In all the room was no more than about twelve foot square, not including the doorway. I slumped into the chair. Twelve feet and all of it mine!!!!! Well at least for the year I was here. Next year I would have to find my own accommodation, but for now this was my place.
I unpacked my bag in about three minutes. My clothes filled two drawers and half the wardrobe, but that didn’t matter to me. I had booked a bedding bundle which I found on the top shelf of the wardrobe. That took up another three minutes. My toiletries were quickly stashed by the sink as were my pens and pencils along the top of the desk. My favourite books (all six of them) were stacked neatly in the book shelf. Finally I took out my oldest possessions. My teddy bear and a photograph of me and my parents taken on an outing to Brighton when I was five. The teddy bear I put on the bed and the photograph went into the back of the wardrobe facing the wall as it always did. I didn’t want to see those faces. Not here, not ever.
My room was finished. So I lifted out the last thing from my holdall and went to find the kitchen. It took me very little time to find it. I just followed the smoke signals. Seemed that one lad had wanted some toast. Problem was he had never made toast without a toaster. Guy thinks bread + fire = toast, right? So one melted fork, a set of burned eyebrows and a soggy piece of blackened bread later he finds himself in the kitchen with some random girl carrying a large shoe box. I walked straight past him and started looking for my cupboard.
“Er, Hi? Sorry about the smell?” He smiled awkwardly at me.
“Don’t worry about it. Is this my cupboard?” I stammered back.
He nodded “Yep, I think that’s it. Everyone else has filled theirs so you’re the only one left.” I thanked him and then opened up my box
I may slag off the foster care system but there are some absolute gems that work within it. Sally was one of those gems. She had been my social worker for the last four years of my life before uni and she had truly cared about me. Not in a “poor damaged Rose” kind of way but in a genuine, friendly, unpatronising way. She had helped me get through my GCSE’s despite moving house three times and school twice and had coached me through my A level interview at the local sixth form. When I started applying for Universities it was her who had written my personal reference and she had come to my interview with me. I considered her a true friend and when I got my acceptance letter she was the first person I phoned. She knew before I told my foster carers that I had been accepted and when she came over to help me fill out the forms to claim independent student status she had given me a gift.
“It’s not much Rose but I know you’ll need it.”
I opened up the over large shoe box carefully just as I had back then. Inside were two mismatched plates, two sets of cutlery, a cereal bowl and a mug. All of it was from Sally’s own kitchen. Except the mug. The mug was new and had my name written on it. I smiled as I remembered hugging her so hard she could barely breathe. Then I put them all carefully onto the shelves in my cupboard. I looked around the kitchen. The guy was still there now trying to undestroy his fork. He looked up at me and smiled.
“How stupid are they? They can give us all the wooden spoons and saucepans we could ever need but no toaster or microwave? How’re we supposed to cook?”
I smiled at him and then silently turned to leave the room.
“Hey wait!” I looked straight at him. “Why don’t you come down to the union bar tonight? It should be a good laugh.” He smiled at me and I shook my head.
“Sorry, I have to work tomorrow” I confessed and returned to my room.

An hour later and I was regretting telling him no. I was bored out of my brain. I knew that I should be getting to know people and becoming involved in student life. That was all Sally had kept on about when I had told her about my decision to go to university. “Rose, I know you can hack the academics. You’re smart and you work hard. But university isn’t just about that. It’s about becoming part of a community and living together with a group of people. It’s about making friends and becoming the person you will be for the rest of your life.” I had smiled and nodded back then just as I had done over the next few months every time she bought it up. I missed Sally so much. Technically she wasn’t my social worker any more. I had aged out of the care system and now had a new “youth worker” I was supposed to go to with any concerns. But Sally would always be my friend. I was sure of it. My one last possession that had yet to find a place in my new house was my mobile. It was a second hand phone with a cheap pay as you go chip in it but it worked. I resisted the urge to call Sally and sent a text instead. “AM HERE SAFE. ROOM IS NICE. ROSE.” I was still getting used to the random way text messaging spelt everything. I hated not writing in sentences. To me it showed a lack of intelligent thought and few manners to write without capital letters and full stops. One day, when I had mastered the art of speed typing I would send Sally a full letter including my address, but until then that would do.
I put my mobile down on the desk and bent down to turn the heating off. What was once a cold space was rapidly turning into a furnace. I needed to open the window. Opening the curtains was a feat in itself. They were huge and fell to the floor in a pool of russet fabric. They smelled of mildew and damp. I flung them open and gasped in surprise. Instead of the prison sized window I was expecting to go with the cell I was living in I found I had a huge glass door that led out onto a balcony. I fumbled with the latch and then pushed the door open and walked through out into the early evening.
The balcony was tiny. My room was next to the bathroom and the only living space this far up the corridor. I breathed in the smell of car fumes and smiled. I went back through the door and grabbed my note book, a pen and the duvet from the bed. Snuggled into the furthest corner of the balcony I curled up in a ball and began to write.
Writing is one of the biggest pleasures of my life. I have always loved to write stories. Whether they were stories of talking animals and toys (big in my primary school years) or romances with heroes that would whisk me away into the night to make love to me in the way only heroes can ( during my last year of secondary school) I loved writing them. I wrote stories about fantasy worlds and mysterious histories. I wrote about famous people and people who were destitute and living in huts made of paper. Writing was the reason I had come to university. I wanted to make my living as a writer and studying seemed the best way to start that life. I wrote until the light had gone and all I could here was the distant sounds of the union party still going strong. Some how during the evening I had got really cold and as I stood I realised I could barely feel my feet. I stumbled back into my room and crashed in the bed with a smile on my face. I had done it. I was at university and I was going to succeed.


Chapter Two

The first few weeks of university went past in a blur. From registering for classes and picking up the texts I would be studying through to banking my first loan cheque I was non- stop. I don’t think I stopped moving for more than fifteen minutes unless I was sleeping, and even then I was dreaming my way through my first assignment.
My degree course was a dream. The lecturers were all reasonably personable and they all had that air of knowing about them. I could listen to them talk about their respective subjects all day. My assignment topics were already forming in my head and I couldn’t wait to get started. In between lectures if I was on campus I was in the library. Not that anyone would want to find me. I knew that I should try and make friends like Sally had said but meeting people would have led to questions about my past and I just didn’t want to go there. So I kept my head down and only spoke to people outside of lectures if it was completely unavoidable. I spent most of my time in my room with my new computer. Another of the perks of the foster care system. Although the money I had been given had been spent on my behalf by the LEA it had actually been spent on useful things to help with my course. I had a new laptop and all of my books were paid for. My photocopier card was always full and I had wireless internet access in my room. Of course all of this was very well but a bit useless if you can’t afford to eat. Which was why I had got a job.
Working as a shelf stacker was both mind and finger numbing. As a fairly short and slim young woman I wasn’t able to much without assistance so I spent every Friday and Saturday evening filling up the dried food aisle. This job required very little of me but it paid enough to supplement my student loan. Plus it meant I had a valid reason not to go out in the evening. My shifts weren’t too long about five hours a night give or take the twenty minutes extra the always wound out of me. Super markets always have a way of doing that to you. They “forget” about you and you end up sticking around waiting for someone to open the stock cupboard door so you can put your cage away properly. By the time your handover is done you’re well over time but not enough over time, of course to warrant them paying you any extra.
So that was my life. I worked at uni, at home and at work. Slacking off wasn’t an option to me, it never had been. I had always worked as hard as I could at everything I did and I wasn’t about to stop now. Sunday was the only day I allowed myself to relax. I lived for Sundays. I woke up late and spent most of the day sitting out on my balcony, still in my pyjamas with my note book. Sometimes if the weather was good I would get out my bike and go for a ride around the campus. I loved my bike. It was one of the first things I had bought with my loan money. It was second hand and a bit old. When I had bought it from the charity shop it had had a small basket on the front of it and I had a sneaking suspicion that the reason it had been there was because the old lady who owned it had died. The story I wrote about “The Phantom Bicycle” will be dedicated to her if it ever gets published! It was a bit rusty but it got me to work and back fairly quickly. It was easy to chain up and no one in their right mind would steal it, ancient as it was. Other than cycling, writing and sleeping the only other thing I did on a Sunday was call Sally. Every time I called she asked me about the same things- what I did last night. Had I met anyone nice? Etc, etc. It hurt me to lie to her but I knew it would hurt her more if I told the truth, so I fabricated myself a nice little social life that revolved around a regular pub quiz night. Not too much, that was the trick with telling lies. If you go over the top and make up too much stuff it’s easy to see the holes in your story. Sally knew me well enough to realise that if I told her I had been out clubbing with a large group of friends that I was lying, but a small night out once a week with a group of about five people from my course, well that was believable. Every time I phoned she told me that I should be out with my friends, not phoning her. That hurt. She knew I considered her to be my best friend and that she was the closest thing I had ever had to family and I knew that she was only telling me off because she wanted me to go out and meet people but it still hurt.
And then Sunday became Monday and the cycle started again. Lectures, study time, food, lectures and finally sleep. Not that I was unhappy or anything, quite the opposite. I loved having a simple routine that I stuck to. My time in the library was thrilling. I loved being surrounded by so many great authors’ work and my lecturers were always so full of helpful advice. One even offered to read my work. Not that that would ever happen. My stories were for me and no one else, but still it was nice of Dr Latimer to offer.


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If life hands you a lemon make lemonade, lace it with cyanide and then pass it around. What can I say I'm a revenge type of gal!!! Ryn
Wearing a large shiny tag around neck "Uncullable Faerie"
Official S P A N G L E R and self proclaimed protector of Tribe Wyvern- OOh Sparkly!!
Proud leader of the Super Spangler Squad. Me and Stardust wil spangle your a$$!!
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vicrawr
post Aug 2 2006, 01:21 PM
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80K is the general length for an acceptable novel. I hope you don't get sick of writing before November, you can join us for NaNoWriMo!
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{Gothic Angel}
post Aug 4 2006, 09:05 AM
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I like that, but then, my taste in books and stories tends to revolve around Fantasy in the "Teenage" section of bookstores, so I wouldn't set any store by my opinion if you're planning on being taken seriously in the literary world tongue.gif


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Cath Sparrow
post Aug 4 2006, 02:50 PM
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Hey there's nothing wrong with the Fantasy in the Teenage section. *noodles* biggrin.gif


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{Gothic Angel}
post Aug 4 2006, 07:49 PM
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You'd be surprised how many people disagree with us on that tongue.gif

/spam


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That_Guy
post Aug 5 2006, 12:24 AM
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Well, for some reason I like really, really long books, so far I've gotten myself attatched to the works of Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy. So maybe you should disregard my advice unless you've got a year or two on your hands.


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Cath Sparrow
post Aug 5 2006, 12:44 PM
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QUOTE ({Gothic Angel} @ Aug 4 2006, 08:49 PM) *
You'd be surprised how many people disagree with us on that tongue.gif

/spam


They're loss. biggrin.gif

Sorry Ryn I'll go away now.......


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Kitty
post Aug 9 2006, 03:51 AM
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QUOTE (Cath @ Aug 5 2006, 08:44 AM) *
QUOTE ({Gothic Angel} @ Aug 4 2006, 08:49 PM) *

You'd be surprised how many people disagree with us on that tongue.gif

/spam


They're loss. biggrin.gif

Sorry Ryn I'll go away now.......


I think teen fantasy is the only tolerable teen books. Everything else is disgusting stuff that shouldn't ever be printed. (Except for anything by Ellen Hopkins)

/spam

I'll try and read what you have posted so far by this week, Ryn!


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{Gothic Angel}
post Aug 21 2006, 01:43 PM
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Lookit! Relevent post!

I was thinking about this the other day (as you do), and one bit particularly stuck in my mind:

QUOTE
...until her mother began to play with fire. Fire that came in little bags and went into her body with a needle.


I think that's a really neat bit of metaphor? Analogy? Whatever. It's really good. I like it a lot tongue.gif


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Cath Sparrow
post Aug 24 2006, 12:08 PM
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Yeh! I like that bit to it really gets it across well.


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