Mrs. Dr. Phil had a meeting in Bay City MI last week, which I'll post about later, and I broke out some of my Christmas reading that I'd didn't read at Christmas because I was so busy writing. So I read through my boxed set of the four-book Maze Runner series YA trilogy, a review of which will be coming Real Soon Now, too. But the Maze Runner books are short and read fast -- and they have short chapters.
Shortly after starting Book 1 Edit Pass 2, I realized I really needed to address the burgeoning length problem. I mean, lots of story is a good thing, but no one is going to publish a 215,426 word YA novel. What had started as one novel, had not only gone YA, but I'd turned it into a YA trilogy -- with five or six books in it. What I've been calling Book 1 was split up quite a while ago into Part A/B, but clearing up big blocks of story which hadn't been written bloated those over the 100,000 word mark each. Way over the 60,000 to 80,000 YA word length I was shooting for. And no mere 10% editing cut is going to fix this. Besides, as I've discussed before, when I do a 10% editing cut, most of the time I end up with a longer story...
I finally built a spreadsheet and went through chapter by chapter, recording their word lengths. That was interesting, especially as the chapter length varied from under 2000 words up to over 10,000 words over 30 pages of text in my current writing format, Not A Standard Manuscript Format™. Too long and too irregular. You want to keep the story moving, so the reader will keep going, and if the chapters are short enough, you can read Just One More Chapter...
So I started breaking up chapters into short chunks, eventually settling on all chapters being under 6000 words. And having been away from the book for almost ten days, it was really easy to do some writing to smooth out the new transitions, with the result, of course, that Book 1 was now longer.
But now I can do my data analysis. This is what I have now:
Book 1 (2 books) Part A 106,199 Ch. 1-32 Part B 109,206 Ch. 33-63If I chopped these in half, the same words and chapters become:
Book 1 (4 books) Part 1.1 51,502 Ch. 1-15 Part 1.2 54,697 Ch. 16-32 Part 1.3 52,772 Ch. 33-46 Part 1.4 56,434 Ch. 47-63This arrangement makes some sense, as it preserves the current break between Part A/B, and introduces two new ones. But it's not a trilogy and I'm not even at 60,000 words a novel. I add words because of the story, not just to add words. I hate padding. Roll the dice, try again...
Book 1 (3 books) Part I 74,516 Ch. 1-21 Part II 69,439 Ch. 22-42 Part III 71,450 Ch. 43-63This one makes enough sense that I posted on Facebook this afternoon:
Book 1 of my YA trilogy is now a trilogy... each book 21 chapters and 69-75,000 words. For now. My writing never gets shorter. But the book chasms are cliffhangers... Dr. PhilNo doubt I'll still have trouble keeping these under 80,000 words apiece, but they're averaging 71,800 words all before brutal editing. AND, it craftily means that the book I am trying to get to my Beta readers this summer is suddenly 25% less.
Assuming something similar happens to the currently 127,629 word Book 2, I would end up with one trilogy of the princesses' teenage years and one trilogy of their college years. And at least a trilogy of "post-graduate" kingdom intrigues. With 394,000 words in total currently written and mapped out across the whole story, this could easily be a great career by itself. And then there's the military SF.
As long as it doesn't suck... (evil-grin)
New Researches: None.
Whoa. Maybe I am getting towards the "end" of this part of the story.
Okay, starting with the new Pass 2 shiny page counter:
Book 1 Page Edits (Pass 2)
Note that for searchability on my part, I now have Page Breaks at the end of each chapter, which drove the total page count from 755 pages to 784 without changing the number of words. It's looking more like a book all the time.
The Lost Kingdom Project YA Trilogy Version 1.11 (06-06-15 Sa, 1446 pages)
Book 1 Part A (106,199 words, starts page 43) / Part B (109,206 words, starts page 400)
As you can see -- already blown past even 100,000 words/novel. But here's the new/next configuration, allocating 80,000 words per novel or a 240,000 word total:
Book 1 Part I (74,516 words, starts page 43) / Part II (69,439 words, starts page 291) / Part III (71,450 words, starts page 537)
Room to grow. Room to revise. Room to trim.
I'm excited to create Version 1.12 now and get back to business. It has been a very instructive two days worth of data work AND writing.
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