Just Another Delimma

It happens. Especially in the editing process, although it happens in the creation process as well. You’re happily (hopefully) working on your piece of art when suddenly, a new character or plot twist or something else hits you powerfully. You may love it or want to reject it, but usually you evaluate whether it can be included into your work or not and how that affects your story.

Well, a couple of those happened to me last month. I can’t remember in which order, so I’ll just pick one at random. First was a major plot twist. Now it doesn’t affect the main story so much, but it does add some reason and plot dimension and better allows for my follow-up book to happen. Better yet, it deepens a character that is close to the main character. It adds a lot of turmoil to the character and develops said character very well, which inevitably affects my own main character. Only, he doesn’t realize all this is happening for a long time. The thing I have to be careful in here is alluding to it without spoiling it and also not to include too little so that the reader has to stop and go, WHAT?! How is that even possible? Not good. I don’t want them to see it coming, but when it happens, I want them to be like, Ooooh, I should’ve seen that! I can see it now! I also don’t want to ruin the character as I really like this character, even after how I’ve definitely scarred said character in this.

The other thing was something that I thought might be coming for awhile. I’m in the editing process of my first book, Though Storms May Rage. In actuality, I’m rewriting it. As I rewrite it, I cut a good amount of things, including scenes, characters, combining characters, etc. I also add a great amount of things. In fact, I end up with more words in the rewritten book than the original.

The other day on a fellow writer’s Facebook status, I did the math. If I continue rewriting with the same ratio as I have been, my 120k word manuscript will grow into a monstrous 200k manuscript. When I saw that, I pretty much freaked out. Yeah, I can be dramatic. The next sentence will explain this panic. From what I’ve researched, a standard novel page is much smaller than a standard Word.doc page. It generally contains 250 words a page. So if I were to have a two hundred thousand word manuscript, in a book, it would be 800 pages! That is impossible. Period. Now I know there are some people who’ve gotten away with it. However, from this generation’s short attention span, and from a marketing viewpoint (imagine the expense required to print that!) that is a very bad idea. Besides, I’ve never made it through an 800 page book. How can I expect my readers to do something I can’t do with my stuff?

So the solution is to divide the book into 2 or 3 books. Just in case you didn’t know, I like to write seat of the pants, although rewriting seems like a major outline. Anyway, this means I have to sit down, gather my thoughts and my wits about me, and go over my whole plot with a scrutinizing eye. I naturally have 3 parts to my book. However, they all go together. When I split the book, I have to come up with new titles for the first (and second if I split it into three) books, which I hate doing by the way. I also have to make sure each separate book is marketable, and each part can stand on its own even while leading to the next and continuing the last.

It’s not all bad though. I can develop some of the plot and characters a bit more, which is fun. The problem is in the time and work involved. I was so naïve when I started writing…writing isn’t easy!

So that’s what I’ve been doing in my writing world…ok, not really. I’ve been having fun exploring my main character in some short stories and playing with a different character and a friend’s character. Which means I’ve been mostly avoiding all that work. >.> but that’s for another time. 0:)

About Nathanael Scott

Nathanael Scott has been an enthusiastic reader of a variety of genres for as far back as he can remember, his favorite being science fiction. He uses writing to let loose his imagination in a way that glorifies God and benefits others. If you can’t get hold of him, he’s probably in outer space piloting a starfighter on a mission to save your life. He is the author of Though Storms May Rage, a sci-fi novel that is currently in revision.

4 comments on “Just Another Delimma

  1. Fail. Epic fail. Kind of ironic actually, lol. (on a writing blog! -.-) I switched the E and the I in Dilemma in the title. Speed can be detrimental to accuracy, but I can’t help it. lol, it was bound to happen sometime.

  2. Ah yes. Would that I had your problem. Mine is FILLING up the pages. *le* sigh. That’s the common lament of a plot-first writer though. Here’s a typical one-sided convo between me and my world builder friend.

    “What do you mean the world looks like stage sets?! it IS stage sets. Oh. That’s not good? C’mon who cares if the culture doesn’t have a word for beloved. They don’t NEED one. Or a government. Look I’m going to blow-up the world. All the people there are DOA. Oh. I’m 20,000 pages short? ::moan:: fine. I’ll cram some stuff in there and pad out the plot–which is fantastic, by the way.”

  3. Lol, I actually am more of a plot-first writer. The problem here is I have too much plot and sub-plot and continue expanding it as I edit it especially the more I delve into my characters’ backstory. Hahahahahaha! xD That conversation is HILARIOUS! Actually…I do have a government. 0:) …several in fact. 0.o The kingship/dictatorship ones are the easiest. Sadly those aren’t my main ones. :/ My main government is a bit more complicated and I continue to find new things about it…mostly as the plot demands. 20k pages? as in paper pages? that’s like 5 million words! :O 10 million if you’re talking Microsoft Word pages single spaced font 12. 10 novels of padding sounds like a lot of work. hehe, I know you meant words, I just got a kick out of that. xD And of course the plot is fantastic! *kills the rest of the fun sarcastic reply he couldn’t get to make sense*

  4. Good times. 🙂
    Good luck!

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