For the last two years I’ve noticed I have a problem with staying interested in longer projects. I tried writing a shorter work, Dreamscape, intended to be about 40k words. I liked the idea, but wasn’t satisfied with how it turned out, so as I stopped enjoying it, I would skip chapters I didn’t want to write. I got through pretty much all of it, but missing about 8 chapters it ended up being about 25k words long.
So I rethought my approach. I noticed that I started getting bored 10k words in. So I tried writing an anthology that takes place in Nacre Then: Rise of the Riftguard. A series of seven 10k word novelettes, each tied loosely around the impact of one major event but ultimately unrelated to one another. I ran into a very specific problem on that one, because I didn’t like how the third novelette was going. So 25k words in, I pretty much stopped that one, too. (I do intend to come back to it, though… Eventually. Unlike Dreamscape for which I have almost zero interest in at this point.)
A few muddled attempts at other, lesser projects in between, and eventually we come to Spear Gate. For this, I set out to do something entirely different. Originally, it would simply be a web series. No obligation to turn it into a novel, and no forward planning, either. I didn’t — and still don’t — have an outline for the story. But then I ran into the same problem I had with my original attempt at Lisa Stenton: I didn’t have an answer for the conflict I was foreshadowing. It hasn’t stopped me from writing Spear Gate, but it has led me to be a little wary, and though I resolved to finish it until I finished this “story” (however long it happened to be), it got tough.
So, Spear Gate is in an unprecedented situation as far as my writing projects go. I’m still interested in this story. I have lots more things that I want to explore, and several more that I’ve only touched on. But this current story has gotten too slow for my liking. So I’ve devised a plan. I’m going to write three 25k word “books” (which will really just be parts 1-3), and then squish them together into one genuine novel. Basically, imagine the three act structure only it’s considered to be standalone novels rather than the parts of a single book. (That’s pretty much how the Stormlight Archive works, anyway.) So that’s the explanation for the ending of yesterday’s post. The end of Part/Book One.
But Part One needs a lot of work. Esmina isn’t where I want her to be, for one. I have a plan, she just hasn’t had enough screen time to get that far. I want to rework Rozire a little bit. He’s not changing, really, but I want to do a better job establishing his relationship to Maelys. The fact that he’s a major character until Chapter 3 and then is never seen again seems odd, and I know that. And Xan is also referenced a lot, but the only time you see them is in one chapter. So I need to make Xan more important.
So, as daunting as it is, I’m going to keep working on Book One before I jump into Book Two. Things just need to be set up more clearly. This means an outline. I don’t know if this means I’ll have to write it from scratch or if I can get away with heavily editing the first draft. I suppose it depends on how different the outline looks by the time I’m done with it.
I’ll be honest. I’m a little scared. I don’t want to start over, see how much work it is, then lose steam because I’ll decide to put my focus on schoolwork or other projects. I don’t know how well it will work. But this is the best solution I’ve come up with.