I’ve just been reading a blog post by someone who has just sent off his first novel to a publisher and is waiting with bated breath to hear back. His first novel is 330,000 words long. I’d suggest he unbates his breath because that one is going to take one helluva long time for anyone to even try picking it up off the slush pile. This massive tome is apparently the first of a trilogy, all volumes of a similar length.
If I was in the business of giving advice I’d say with a million words you have the makings of not so much a trilogy as a ten volume series. Chop that first volume into three, write it up properly and sub the first part—it will have a much better chance of being read. I won’t pass on that advice, but I am going to act on it myself.
This year during NaNoWriMo I wrote 58,500 words of my WIP. I already had 19,000. I’ve since written another 23,000. When I passed the 100,000 word mark I stopped, and made a detailed plan of what comes next—there’s an awful lot. This is just the skeleton and there will be a lot of fleshing out goes on before it’s finished. Problem is, it’s historical, so there is a certain amount of story that can’t be left out. What I choose to add to fill in the gaps in the histories is all extra.
So I’ve decided to chop it into volumes and go back to fill out what is now volume one. The great thing is, at the stroke of a copy and paste I can say I’ve finished the first first draft! There will be a second one before it becomes a true first draft, but it’s such a morale booster to be able to say I’ve written to the end of the first book. It will mean adding to the story, adding more historical detail and changing the balance of the characters. But that’s the fun part. My Christmas present to myself.