Winter gives way to spring, spring to summer, summer to fall, and still Dragonsgate grinds on. Yesterday I completed chapter 20 of the second draft, which brings the novel as of now to 102,533 words. There's the very real possibility that when this draft as done, I'll be looking at the longest novel I've ever written, probably 150,000 words. But maybe longer! As the second draft has evolved, I have an ever growing list of scenes I need to go back and work in, I also have at least six more existing chapters to rewrite, plus a bare minimum of two chapters past those where I wrap up final plot threads. I really won't be surprised if the final second draft comes in closer to 160K words. But, I'm also certain there are redundancies and bloat I'll be trimming on future drafts. Assuming I do have 160k words when I'm done, then assuming I edit out 10% to tighten stuff up (or, more realistically, 15% cut, but 5% new enhancements and clarifications), I'll probably have a final book of about 144k words. My previous longest book was only about 130k.
Ultimately, the book will be as long as it needs to be. I've added a lot of fresh characters who need room to breathe and grow alongside existing characters. It will all be worth it.
What's intimidating is that this is just book one! The second book my be longer, and the third book longer still! But maybe not. I'll have a much smaller cast after this book.
Welcome to my worlds!
I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), numerous superhero novels including Nobody Gets the Girl and the Lawless series, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collections, There is No Wheel and Jagged Gate. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public. If you'd like to get monthly updates on new releases, as well as preview chapters and free short stories, join my newsletter!
Friday, October 18, 2019
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That last sentence sounds ominous. What kind of body count are we looking at?
It's not so much how many characters die as which characters die. By the end of the original Bitterwood trilogy, some of the characters had pretty sturdy suits of plot armor. Structurally, there were some characters who couldn't bite it if the plot was to resolve in a satisfying fashion. But, Dragonsgate has more in common with the first Bitterwood novel. There, I could kill major characters rather freely, and it would just serve to heighten the sense of peril for characters in the later novels. Instead of writing a book where dozens of characters need to be alive at the end for it to work, I have only two characters I really can't kill. Everyone else is expendable.
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