Increasing Word Count Without Fluff

>>My current word count is 25,000 and I need to get it up to at least 65,000. Right now, I'm focusing on adding more descriptions and going further into the characters' thoughts, but I worry these are slowing down the pace of the story. I personally get bored when an author does both of those things. Any suggestions? Tl;dr OP needs idea to increase word count.

What I do in this situation is start asking "What if...?" questions, then having my characters act out those what ifs and see where it goes.

I'll take a scene that feels like it could go somewhere and I start asking questions about it:

  • Why did he say this? What in his life inspired him to think that way?
  • What is he can control every device just by looking at it?
  • "Why me? Why do these things always happen to me?" Why does he say this.
  • What if, when on his way to here, he got hurt and had to spend a few days in a strange town/hospital?
  • How will this other character respond when he finds out?
  • What if he he is hiding a secret and this event/item/person is risking people finding out? Plus what is that secret and why doesn't he want them to know? What does he do to continue to hide it?
  • What would happen if he went forward with this but that thing there happened to interrupt him along the way?
  • What if he secretly had a wife and daughter, that no one in his current life knew about? (I did this one last year and blow the ideas so out of the water that it resulted in a completely new tory unfolding and 3 additional previously unplanned novels resulted from it, just to answer the question.)
  • What if he got stuck in an elevator?
  • What if he got amnesia?
  • When he said that, what would have happened if this other person had disagreed?
  • How would this scene have been different had someone drugged his food/drink?
  • What if he went to prison? Justly? If so, what did he do and why did he do it? Unjustly? If so, why did they think it was him an how does he convince then he is not guilty?
  • What if he were pregnant? (No, he is not a mistake here, and yes, I've had him, my male main character, end up pregnant twice in the past 3 years. The idea was so off the wall, it created in not only one new novel about it, but then a 2nd novel on the lines of: "Oh no, not again! Why does this keep happening to me?")
  • What if it suddenly started raining/snowing while he was doing it?
  • What if, he got trapped in a sudden storm/hurricane/blizzard and was forced to seek shelter in an abandoned church/ruins/castle/hut/cave? Does he snoop while he's there? If so what does he find? If not, why not and what does he do to pass the time while waiting out the storm?
  • What is she thought he was doing it because of this when he was really doing it because of that?
  • What happens when someone grabs his leg and drags him out of bed one night? Who are they? Friend? Foe? Why are they dragging him out of bed? Are they trying to save him from a burning building or are they pirates kidnapping him?
  • Wait... pirates? How did pirates get in this story? Should I add pirates/vampires/dragons/aliens/zombies/something else to this story? Why? Why not? What would change if I did?
  • What if he had no money… would they still love him?
  • What if he could teleport, Star Trek style, to anywhere in the world? Where would he go? Why? What would he do there? How would the story change if he stumbled upon a transport device that does this? How does this change the story? (I did this one too, in a story sent in the 1400s, but they didn't get to pick when or where they went and I tossed then into the 1970s)
  • How would the result be different if he did it here instead of there? This town/city/country, instead of that one? What if it takes place in a desert/jungle/tundra/arctic region?
  • It's a dark and stormy night... so what does he do on dark and stormy nights?
  • What if while he was doing this, that happened to mess up his plan?
  • BOOM! "What was that?" he whispered. He peered outside and was surprised to see ______.
  • What will she say when she finds out he did that?
  • "Oh no, not again! Why does this keep happening to me?" Why did he say this?
  • What if the world were about to end, or at least one character thinks so? How does this fear affect him? Does he believe his friend or laugh at him? What if he believed them but the world was not ending? What is the world really was ending and he didn't believe them?
  • etc...

I've done every one of these questions and they've always helped me make my main character's life hell. :P

I'll write and write and write and write, maybe 1,000 or 2,000 or more words, full free flow with no clue what direction it'll take. When I get to the end of the scene, I'll go back and read it, while tossing questions like the ones above at it. Next thing I know, I'll be writing the next scene. The question will have inspired me to toss another person or item or event into the end of that first scene, and I'll write it out to see where it goes. I'll write and write and write until I reach the result of that change. Then I'll start throwing around some more "What ifs?" Wat if it started snowing? So I'll write it snowing and see how the characters react. Wait, what if it had rained instead? I'll go back to where it started snowing, write a new version of that scene now with rain and see where it goes. Then I'll look at both scenes and determine which one better fit the way the story was going. I'll use one and save the other as an indea file to maybe be used in something else later.

I love this type of method for fleshing out stories because it adds interesting events and puts in new subplots, and takes the story down winding paths of adventure that I had not originally planned on it taking, and does so without out just adding fluffy descriptions to fill up space. It gives my character something new to do, something that sidetracks him and takes him off the path to his main primary plot goal. Now he not only has to reach his goal, but he has to first get back on track so he can reach that goal

The TL;DR of it is: Your character needs to get from point A to point B, so let's toss in X, Y, and Z, to trip him up and see how he climbs over these stumbling blocks I've thrown at him. If your character is getting to his end goal too quickly, he needs more roadblocks to work around and make it more difficult for him to reach his goal. These roadblocks are also called side quests and sub-plots.

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