Sometimes I think this should be the theme song of writers:
I mean, even the most devoted planner would have to admit that no lengthy project finishes precisely the way it was planned. Things always change. As my ancestor (why not?) once said, “the best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men / Gang aft agley.”
I’ve written before about my current work in progress, The Orb of Triska. My intention was for it to be the first of a seven-book series called Empire Falls. Good news! Editing continues apace and I’m really liking where things are going. But, as I said . . . things change.
The plan was for each book in the series to be about the length of Moore Hollow. At about 85,000 words it’s long enough, but not nearly as long as most fantasy novels these days. All of The Water Road books are north of 130,000, for comparison (for another comparison, A Game of Thrones weighs in at 292,000 – and it’s the shortest of that series!). I thought more, shorter books would work better for this story and planned out each volume accordingly.
Then, between editing passes, I started thinking about it again. The series is going to follow three characters and the stories for two of them didn’t really break into that many parts. It was more like three parts. And the other character, who had a more discrete series of adventures, could be easily reworked into three parts, too. In other words, the bones for another trilogy are there. So, I decided to retool a bit.
Empire Falls the proposed seven-book series is dead. Long live The Unari Trilogy! Each of those will be about the length of The Water Road novels. I don’t think anything major will have to be left out, but everything should flow a lot better in three bigger chunks.
That’s where I am these days. You have to be flexible as a writer. Sometimes the best way to do something isn’t the way you thought it should be done in the first place.