Today, while pulling into Paddington Station, I finished up the second draft of chapter 2 of “Sect of the Rounded Stone”. So, that leaves me with a prologue plus two full chapters I’ve finished now, and I’m more mixed in my feelings about it all than I thought was even possible.
I don’t know what it is that’s changed in my view of the world since I put together KotF, but the chapters of the second book are a lot longer than I’d expected them to be when I was plotting them out. I’ve raised concerns about this before, I know, but it seems to have gotten worse today, which is kind of freaking me out, so I’m going to raise them again.
See, what happened was that I took the three sections I’ve written so far and glued them together into a single document. Fine. Good. That went as well as one might expect. But then I made the mistake of looking at the word count.
Two-and-a-half chapters, and I’m up to about 45 thousand words.
It’s actually kind of wonderful in a way. I’ve been feeling a whole lot like I’m not getting anything done on this book lately, despite managing to put a good couple of hours in every day. What the 45K number tells me, though, is that I’ve already both written and second-drafted about a sixth of the total word count of book one. Just do that five more times, and I’ve got myself a book.
Of course, that doesn’t help with the bigger problem, which is largely concerned with the fact that I don’t actually expect these chapters to get any shorter, and I still an awful lot of them to write.
This leaves me with two options. The first is the one where I go over the outline again and start looking for ways to end the story sooner. This wouldn’t be impossible, as I can see a way of taking a small climax that occurs around the middle of the outline in and turning that into the larger, book-ending variety. I’m not sure that makes sense, though, as it would mean leaving out a lot of really fun stuff. It would also mean that, when book 3 comes around, I’ve got to do all this “sequel re-introduction” stuff all over again.
The other option, of course, is the one where I give up on any sense of traditional publishing and just make the story as long as I damn well please. My sales of KotF have been almost exclusively in digital version, after all, and there’s no such thing as book thickness on a Kindle. So, why not just write it like I want to write it and put it out, word count be damned?
I’ll tell you why. The paper version of the book would be too long to print. Fact is, I have to have a printed version. One thing I’ve learned from my experiences in selling KotF is that a printed copy of your book is the best possible marketing tool you can have. Give away two physical copies of your book, and it will lead to 50 sales of the digital version. Tell someone you wrote a book, and they’ll be interested; hand them a copy of it, and they’ll actually be impressed. It’s simply a tool I don’t believe I can do without.
So, where does that leave me? Well, I’m considering making the physical version a two-parter, though I don’t know if I have such ambition within me (I have to make two covers now!?). It’s going to take some time to figure out, though I think it’s going to be a fun sort of process. The nice thing, though, is that I feel like I crossed a threshold today. Having three sections of a book stitched together into a single piece…it’s evidence that all this typing away at a keyboard has actually led to the creation of something substantial. For the first time, I’m looking forward to the high-intensity work-a-holism that is sure, now, to follow.