Today I had a wonderful time at Robyn Opie’s place talking about how you can turn a 1200 word story into a 10,000 word published book. Robyn has so many great ideas and words of wisdom. Her final tip is below, but for the complete interview, go to Robyn’s blog

Dee: Robyn, can you give us a final tip for fellow writers who are trying to increase their word count to meet a publisher or competition requirement?

Robyn: I believe that Black Baron worked well because I wrote in layers. I wasn’t satisfied with my first draft. I didn’t simply go back and edit it, so I could submit it to publishers. I spent time, worked harder, pushed myself, to create a better story. I did everything I could possibly think of before I was satisfied with the result.

I lived inside my story and became my character – hence, why I fell in love with Black Baron. Jake loves him! I think it’s too easy to finish a draft and be so happy to have completed a story that we don’t go the extra mile. Go the extra mile.

Never settle on the first idea. Expand it. Add more ideas. Think of what you can do to make your original idea better. Brainstorm. Look for extra opportunities with your characters and their circumstances using cause and effect.

Unless you’ve gone over a manuscript many, many times, it isn’t ready. You haven’t thought of everything. You haven’t given it enough thought at all. In a nutshell, don’t stop working on a manuscript too soon. Give it time. Add layers, flesh and blood, and make your story come alive.

Don’t get caught up in the emotion of finishing a story and leaving it at that. Every story can be developed to its fullest, so keep going until there is nothing more you can do. Oh, and you can keep going even then! When you think you’re finished, do a bit more. Always do a bit more. Only then can you stop. One of the reasons I think some people have trouble getting a manuscript accepted for publication is because they think they’re finished before they really are and they don’t go the extra mile.

That’s great advice, Robyn. Thanks so much for being part of the Tuesday Writing Tips’ blog tour


Jessica, Angela and Mabel had more questions about point of view so we’ll be covering this in next week’s Tuesday Writing Tips. You’ll catch me at Angela’s blog where I’ll be talking about ‘head hopping’.

Hope to see you there.

In the meantime, happy writing.




  1. So painfully true!! This is something I’m just beginning to get my head around. Finishing the first draft of a manuscript is still such a big deal to me, but I know that’s really just the beginning.

  2. Thank you Robyn and Dee!
    I wrote what I thought was a short story … but I was never happy with the ending. It’s taken me ages to figure what was wrong … it’s not a short story. I’m now up to 14,000 words and still going. There are days when I wonder, will it ever end?’

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