To Split or Not To Split?

17 Aug

Growing up I hated cliffhangers. It usually wasn’t a big deal if I could get the next book in the library, but it wasn’t always the case. The best example I can think of was how in this old Conan the Barbarian Comic, Conan, Belit and their sea-faring army are drugged by the leader of the people they just saved, and we’re told that they’re going to be sacrificed. I didn’t know how they got out of it for years, because it was my dad’s old comics and he’d have a good run of sequential issues with maybe just the one missing, and then ten or so would be missing, and then we’d be in a completely different adventure. Comics tended to follow that serial format, basically it was meant so you tuned in the next week or bought the next magazine.

The internet has made life rather comfortable, as we can marathon old tv series as opposed to making it an event for a two-part episode (Provided your VCR worked. I sound old), and I was able to look up how Conan and everyone escaped(it was a real cop out) but I get it. It’s the same when I’m watching bad reality tv shows: They cut to commercials just when we’re about to find out who won or if the offer went through. Make the audience emotionally invested, so we’ll stay tuned.

It’s so freakin’ cheap and books are supposed to be smarter than that.

If you’ve been following along over the course of the last few months, you know I’ve been ‘Got a titan to slay!’ and what not for Rogue Healer 3. I was initially making good progress and figured I’d be done the rough draft before summer. July was a decent month and I hammered out a lot of core parts, and I even gave myself a ‘You’re gonna nail this, go work on something else and let it percolate’ meanwhile we’re in the middle of August and I’m at just over 151k. Is it done? Well… almost all the scenes are written. Almost, because they’re a hodgepodge of me tweaking this and that; the reality of quilting is you think you want turquoise but you really wanted teal, so it doesn’t exactly vibe. I still have a titan rampaging, even if I have the aftermath of it being defeated written. Stuff will be cut, but I’m also thinking to myself that I could easily give myself another 10-30k.

The previous two books were about 135k, and both felt relatively complete and at the same time feeling like that they were segways into the next installment. I didn’t know if I’d ever sell Book One. This time it’s not a last hurrah, I want to write a five book series, and while I know it can be expanded with novellas and shorts, I don’t want to do that other than to supplement.

After I signed Witchslayer’s Scion, besides starting work on Magus’ Gambit, I wrote a novella that basically served as an inbetweequel for Witchslayer’s Scion. There was something I wanted to expand, but I couldn’t legit a flipping detour in an already 135k novel. Fantasy and science fiction already allow a wide swath, with most contemporary novels being around 70-110k, with fantasy allowing for around 120k for a first time author.

So I’m at the novel and a half stage and thinking I could expand things. So Book Three, Working Title Titan’s Ascent, I’m thinking I might cut this into two parts.

I don’t want to do it with a knife. If I was to change the story for say, a tv series, we’d still want there to be mini climaxes and something to look forward to. The framing and the timing of the episodes would change. It would again change if we were going for a three-act film. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

So, option One, is try to keep the final draft around the 150k mark, and see what the publisher says. She hasn’t signed Book 2 yet, and I figured I wouldn’t ask until I have the follow-up to chuck. Option Two is be a Precious Artist and go as long as I feel the book needs. Option Three, is go with option two, and intend to split it into two parts, and talk to the publisher. Honestly, I could probably give two 80k novels in ‘part one, part two’ but I’d have to reframe so that part one isn’t all the exposition and lame or vice versa.

80K is still a novel, and shoot add a short story or novella and the length is there. I guess I got to finish a draft before I get ahead of myself, but still: provided I’m being honest and telling people that they’re essentially buying half a book? Assume I’ll try not to sacrifice quality and insist that the release happens in short succession.

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