Advice for underwriters
hello everyone, I can't believe how long it's been since I've last posted but here we are again! I've missed making these posts, and I thought I'd start with underwriting. This is a problem I've faced in my writing, but I'd like to think it's something I've gotten a lot better at. So, here's some advice for you to get your word count up and add more depth to your story.
Before we get started, don't forget to subscribe and check out some of my previous posts. I have a post out on story structure which could really help you with your underwriting. If you aren't hitting all the story beats, it could help you get your story back on track. I used shadow and bone as an example here to make it easier for you to follow! Click here to check it out.
And, let's get started.
1. Write down the main plot points
To get started, write the main plot points in your story on a piece of paper or just type it into a word document. Don’t get into any of the details, just summarize the main points of your story in as few words as you can. Now you have a visual of every main event that takes place in your story.
Forget about your side characters or any plot points that aren’t directly a part of your main storyline. Usually, there are about five or six of these, you could have more or less depending on the genre, story, etc.
But if you seem to have enough plot points in your story, look at the build-up or time you have in between these incidents. You do not want your story to drag or stagnate, but make sure that the pacing of your story is not too fast.
You could just have someone read your story and let you know if the pacing is understandable. Just make sure they’ve read books from your genre to better understand what’s right and wrong.
2. Write down your subplots
Subplots or side storylines are an important place to add more depth to your story. Even if you have enough going on in your main storyline, your subplots could be a great way to make your story a lot more interesting.
Subplots usually relate to side characters in the story, but that may not always be the case. This could be something that develops into a major plot line in the next book if you’re writing a series, in which case it could just be a side story that happens to your main character.
Either way, make sure you have a couple of good subplots going to keep your reader engaged and add more conflict and depth to your storyline.
Some ideas for coming up with subplots are using a different point of view with a side character or opposing character, picking up a smaller event in your book, and turning this into a bigger story and if you get stuck, you could try using your usual story structure to come up with a side plot. Just make sure that your side plot doesn’t end up dominating your main storyline. It doesn’t have to follow a set structure. That part is absolutely up to you. If you still feel stuck, read through your favorite book and write its main plot and subplots. This could give you a better idea of how subplots are usually written.
If you are all set story-wise and you still seem to lack word count, your descriptions can be a huge reason. I tend to be an underwriter myself and while I write, I forget or underwrite my descriptions. You may have a perfect image of what’s going on in your mind, but your reader will not have this unless you give it to them.
While you write descriptions, make sure to not just describe sight but also taste, touch, hearing, and smell. All this can really transport your readers and make them play the story out in their heads and also get your word count up.
4. Side characters
This ties into the point about sub-plots but consider giving your side characters a little more screen time and a plot line of their own. This doesn’t have to be major, but we’ve all read that one book where we’ve been overly attached to the side characters and what better way to give your readers more content and get your word count up than include your side characters more!
5. Consider that your story may just be short
Here’s the thing, when you go online you can find hundreds of articles or posts telling you exactly how many words your story should be according to your genre, but sometimes your story just doesn’t require all those extra words. And there’s nothing worse than filler. So just embrace the smaller book, and really, who doesn’t love reading a short book from time to time? They’re very engaging and honest. It’s so motivating to finish a book so fast.
And that is all I have for today, it’s been a really long time since I last made a post for here so I hope this was helpful. I’m going to try getting a lot more regular on here so make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss out on any posts.