I have been workshopping my book as some of you know at the Burlington Writers Workshop, a free writing workshop for all Vermonters. I originally had three writers lined up to critique it, but one bailed before the first session and I have been going on with just the two, both male and both good writers. One likes to tell me that I do lots of the same things he does, but when he is critical of one of those things in my work, he begins to examine that practice in his own. This is one of the best uses of the workshop process: by focusing on a new work by another writer, one can learn much about one’s own writing.
I write fantasy, because that way, nobody can tell me that I’m not true to real life. Ha! But what these fine gentlemen have told me is that fantasy readers love to be immersed in the new worlds they discover. I know a lot about my world, but I don’t want to put in things that don’t push the story forward. They accuse me of writing as if I am running a race. They want me to slow to a walk, or maybe even a crawl. I guess my problem is that I write for readers like me. I inhale books. Too much description bogs me down, unless written by someone like Patricia McKillip or Robin McKinley. Or Charles deLint. I could go on. The very best writers can slow down and I don’t care because their writing is a joy. But I read a lot of fantasy where the over description of a world by a plebeian writer is annoying or stultifying. Do I write a novel that will annoy me and readers like me, or do I write a novel like my heroes? I don’t think my writing can be compared to any of theirs.
If I slow down, and add the detail, I will have written two novels and not one, as I imagined. They want me to split the book in half, and put in lots of description. While I agree that the first two parts, Book1, could easily bear some beefing up, I have beefed it up to the tune of 11,000 words so far. But the story is only complete with all four parts in it. If I put it back together, I am at 110600 words. If I keep them apart, I have to find another 14k words for the first part, and I have to add another section for the second part (and I already know what it will be). Since sections run between 24k and 30k, that will complete the second book.
So if I publish them together, as Parts1 and 2, the reader can get the complete story or not as they choose, but at least they have the option. I may even have a deal where each Part is $4.99 but get both for $7.99, as an ebook. Unfortunately the paperback book buyers will not get such a deal because of the costs in printing. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? I would dearly love to hear if others have run up against this issue, whether trad-pub or self-pub. Otherwise, I will continue to add detail until I have reached the goal, or I will rebel and write a single book.