Achieving the assigned page length

A couple of my friends are returning to or still in college, and I occasionally hear about their writing assignments.  I remember required essays, especially in high school.  The biggest challenge I had with them was page length.

I could never manage to reach the required length in my papers.  I always said all I needed to say, only to find myself 2 or 3 pages short.  Papers of 8 to 10 pages were incredibly daunting; somehow my friends managed to write filler and reach the length, but I never could. (They freely admitted to the filler, by the way.  One of my friends prided herself on being the queen of it, although she didn’t use the word “filler” in her title.)

It’s amazing how things change.  Now my articles for a newsletter at work require editing to make them shorter.  When I finished my master’s thesis, the thing was over 100 pages long.  (To be fair, at least 25 of those were appendices and the thing was just full of tables.  It’s still a long paper anyway.)

My novel isn’t epic, by any standard.  It’s a stand-alone book, although a sequel has been requested by several people, and it doesn’t reach the impressive lengths of many other fantasy novels.  Even still, the document on the computer is 202 pages long, single-spaced.  I didn’t even know how long it was getting until I went to print a copy of the second draft.

A 10 page paper doesn’t seem so daunting anymore.  🙂