1. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    To split or not to split?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Melzaar the Almighty, Oct 4, 2010.

    My dilemma is that I have an extremely plot-twisty story... it probably won't get to an unmanagable length, but after writing a lot of romance and teen fantasy that only hit this mark at the end, if that, I'm quite scared at being 74,000 words in and only 3/5ths through the plot. :p I haven't written an enormously long fantasy novel since my mid-teenage years, and those were all collosal disasters.

    I was talking to my friend who always magically comes up with ideas for fixing my novels, and she suggested splitting it in five, and introducing new characters. Obviously it would only be 20-30 thousand words a book if I didn't pad it out, and I guess it could do with some more action, so subplot characters who aren't messengers but actually know how to use a sword might help spice things up.

    When I'm already getting past the halfway point, should I take the risk and stop writing, re-plot, and try again with a new cast, or should I get to the end?

    The overall result (which I don't know yet anyway) will probably heavily depend on who's present and what skills they bring to the table. It's going to end differently the moment I add or take away a single character.

    Or should I do that at all? Should I completely change a story I've really been enjoying writing, just for making it easier for the reader? Should I just go for an incredibly complicated quest about a dude, basically, just trying to deliver a message? (it's thrilling reading, I know :p)
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would finish your story, then reread it. Then you can decide exactly what is staying, what is coming out - and if it looks like it can be split do it then.

    I have found I took elements out of my second story to add to my first story. Elements from my first story I am using in my second and vice versa. I also know I wrote an awful lot more than 55,000 words.

    -Charlotte
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    You're only just approaching the expected lower word count for a novel anyway, and you're a long, long way from the upper limit (especially for fantasy), so I would just continue writing the novel as you are. When you've finished the first draft, you can always rewrite and edit it down if necessary, whereas splitting it into 5 books (any reason for 5? seems kinda arbitrary) means you have to write at least as much as you have now another 4 times, while making sure that the story in each novel can stand alone. It would be very difficult to find a publisher of a fantasy novella as well, which is what those 5 books would be if they were only 20-30k words.
     
  4. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's going to be so much longer than 70,000 words when it's done... I'm scared it won't get finished in 200,000... And, like I said, it could easily be seen as a boring progression of events. I'm not sure... I'm just losing faith in it, I guess, but I'm starting to wonder if going from meeting to court scene to meeting to court scene is really the way to write epic quest fantasy. This guy is trekking across an epic fantasy landscape just to talk to people in dark rooms for one chapter of plot information. I know I'm writing it in a more engaging way than that on the surface... I don't think any one scene is boring. But taken as a whole, it doesn't feel very compelling, no matter how many jokes or character development I have on the side. There's no threat to the character, and adding any would instantly have to involve creating a complex subplot, because at the moment there's already so much going on, and none of it is very threatening. Aaaaaaaaaaargh.

    *smashes head down on the desk* What have I been dooooing?!

    (It'd be 5 books because there are 5 cities he has to go to)
     
  5. Chudz
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    Chudz Contributing Member

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    Based on this alone, I would say finish it. At that point, you can take stock of it and see what you want to do. And whatever you choose, you'll have a lot of material, which you enjoyed writing, to work with.
     
  6. AnathemicOne
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    AnathemicOne Member

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    Keep writing it and finish, then after you can look back and review over it.

    Even if worse comes to worse and you scrap the entire thing completely, keep it in an archive so you can look back and see what not to do in future works.

    As for dividing, I don't recommend it, if it is meant to be one entire story, keep it that way. If divided, one has to go back to the beginning and create new introductions that will pull the reader back in rather than immediately progress the current story, not to mention that this introduction has to fit and relate to the current story.
     
  7. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I really need someone to read all of it and tell me if it's good so far. :/ No one's seen past the opening, so I have no idea. I start losing confidence when I don't share my writing! *runs in demented circles*
     
  8. AnathemicOne
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    AnathemicOne Member

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    Yeah, that's the problem, if you post entire works on an online forum ,you drastically lower your chances of anything getting published unless you revise it in such a way that it is different from the original.

    The drawback to this is that you won't get to share your work and in addition not very much critiques or knowledge on what to improve on.
     
  9. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm going to cry. :p

    Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow feeling less annoyed with the whole idea of writing this novel/these novels. At the moment I'm stressing out... Argh. I'm too scared they're rubbish as they are, but I was just starting to enjoy the feeling of being on the home straight with them... My confidence has taken such a hit I'm not sure I'll be able to continue writing it anyway now. I'm probably going to have to do the re-write just 'cause. :/
     
  10. Daisy215
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    Daisy215 Member

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    *Gives big hug*
    We all go through multiple rewrites and bad periods in our adventures of writing. Do not give up hope. From everything I have heard about it I can hardly wait to read it. There needs to be more good fantasy out there.
    So I can't offer advice but we're all pullig for you and if you need a shoulder, I'm here :redface:
     
  11. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    Honestly, I say just write your story. When it is done and you like the end product, then you should size it up and decide if the story you have written is a short story, novella, novel, trilogy or dozen volume series.

    Remember, its the story that counts :)
     
  12. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay, honestly, you guys would read a story that pretty much goes:

    Guy at work
    Important meeting (take "meeting" to be "talking to a dude about the plot")
    Walking (encounter with a monster that turns out to be a sheep)
    Unscheduled roadside meeting
    Chased by police to a town where he's put on trial and the plot so far is examined just for the purpose of finding him a travel companion
    Taken for a walk by someone who tells him more of the plot
    Goes back to the village and is told a bit more plot
    Goes to bed and discusses the plot for 5 pages
    Walks for pages and pages and pages, while thinking or talking about the plot
    Slight interruption of action from the point of view of his friend back home
    Back to walking
    Important meeting (more plot is explained)
    Slight interest as his friend hooks up with one of the policewomen from earlier
    No, they're talking about the plot again
    Then he gets arrested again, but talks his way out of it, using things he knows about the plot as explained at great length, one scene later
    Walking again, reads some more plot from a book
    Gets picked up by travellers just so I don't have to write any more walking scenes
    Incredibly long trial scene involving his friend back home and the guy who sent him out on this mission
    A bit of romance for the poor main character
    before he goes off to do touristy things,
    then ends up kidnapped by cultists... who take him to a room, sit him down, offer him tea, and talk about the plot some more....

    He's just setting off for another long meeting now, though this is going to be the first one, at 74,000 words where he A: knows what is going on and B: isn't just going to have plot explained to him. :/



    And all this plot is just stuff I need to introduce so he isn't stumbling along bouncing from city to city in a kind of "whaaat" way... He's already been greviously mis-informed for 99% of the story so far just so I didn't have to info dump at the start. :/ There's only so far someone who knows nothing can go, though.
     
  13. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends how it has written - how long did Last of the Summer Wine last? It was basically three men wandering around the Yorkshire countryside.

    I love Gervase Phinn Yorkshire School Insprector most of his books are meetings and school visits. Alan Bennett is classic example of entertaining stories with not much action, again I love his plays. Little Women is amazing without much action. There are plenty of engaging books where really not much happens.
     
  14. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Yeah, outside of genre fiction, story is pretty much irrelevant as long as you write well. But since this is genre fiction, the expectations are different, and you do need to make a compelling story (style is less important than story, maybe).

    You keep referring to "the plot." Whether or not the story is engaging really hinges on what that plot is. What is at stake? Why should we invest ourselves in this world? What is the hook?
     
  15. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Eh, it's your usual "prevent war at all costs" sort of thing, but there's all these complications for why there would *be* war, because the setting's pretty influential on the story - I started writing to explore the world. Aside from that, pretty early on the main character finds out his father died somewhere out in the wide world (he didn't even know it existed to begin with :p) and so far his side-mission of finding out who was responsible has been dragging him along. Trouble is, it's all big faceless corporations, so I'm having to rely on "the third city" being the villain responsible for this that and the other, and there's no really good clues except for "they did it" each time something bad happens... Blargh, I know it's going to resolve itself and bring in all the things I've already written, but I'm not sure I'm even showing that well enough, because my main character has such limited resources for discovering things... He's going disguised as a diplomat now, but only 70,000 words in. Before then he was just a little lost office worker.
     
  16. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Maybe explore other narrative viewpoints then. If limiting yourself in third person isn't working for the story, try switching to an omniscient perspective. It will enable the reader to know more than the main character, let you show the reader things that will make what the character is experiencing make more sense. Maybe if you change things like that up a bit you'll stumble across a better way of doing things.
     
  17. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nooo, my first person narrator is the only reason I can like it at all at the moment. :p He's awesome. Just that he's stuck in a crappy story.
     
  18. k.little90
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    k.little90 Active Member

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    *Raises hand*
    Melzaar, if you want, I would be happy to read a sample (or whatever you are comfortable with) of your writing. I honestly think you have a lot of talent, and hate to see you beating yourself up over something that happens to all of us.

    Anyway, on to your original post...

    I think that you should finish your story. I mean, who gives a fluff if no one else will read it? The fact that you wrote it, made several worlds out of thin air, is an amazing accomplishment. You should be so proud of that!

    Don't get discouraged :)
     
  19. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see a problem in this. You've got atleast 25,000 words left for the last 2/5 and a well paced story accellerates in the last third, anyway. Having 2/5 of the plot happen in act 3 is far from unusual.
     
  20. Lee Shelly
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    Lee Shelly Member

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    My advice? Finish it. 3/5ths in is a pretty good place to be, just over halfway, and even if you write another 50k words you're still below the absolute upper echelon of word count that a publisher would consider for an epic fantasy novel. Finish it! And if you're still concerned about word count, remember what Stephen King said - second draft is the first draft minus 10%. You can ALWAYS go back and fix it. Always! That's one of the many wonders of writing.
     
  21. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not once it's published. Then you're screwed.
     
  22. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Eep. :p

    I've been editing it as I go, removing stuff anyways... Apart from the last few scenes, at any one time, most of it is the second draft slimmed down and edited version. Part of the problem of winging it is that when I come up with a new plot twist I have to go back and change stuff. :p

    I might sit on this a while. Argh. I don't know. :p feeling a bit better about it, but I haven't tried writing it or any fantasy for a few days...
     
  23. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Personally until I have finished the story I view it as first draft no matter how edited it is. Until then what to keep, what to go, what works where, where to start it, is not something I really know.
     
  24. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do like hanging onto things in case they come in handy, but once you're as far as I am on a twisty plot you do start thinking things like, "I really can't use this now without adding a whole extra detour and it's not really important..." so I've cut a fair bit just from doing that. As a first person narration which runs pretty much without a break from chapter to chapter, I haven't got an opportunity to move much around, but there are some bits I might elaborate on, and some I'll decided I only need to summarise enough that the information is there, because writing a whole scene around it was too much.
     

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