Setback or chance for improvement?

It’s a bit over two years since I started working on my story. I hoped to have the first book done in summer 2018 and in a way, I am on track with that. Yet, there’s one big trouble: the intro as I call it, or prologue if I used real book terms.

The amount of information I need to put in the early part to set up the world is just too large for something like a prologue, if it had the size of one chapter. In that way, it feels too dense on information yet does not say enough. It’s something I suspected since the start and was not sure how to deal with it. Now that a friend who is one of my alpha testers pointed out this problem even more, I realized it’ll need serious revision. Truth that I tried to ignore, curse me…

At this point, I consider my initial plan for Summer 2018 release pretty much scrapped, no matter what approach I take. Once again, my working title ‘Project Eternity’ is becoming the harsh truth. So, what are my possibilities at this point?

Option one: Major rework of the prologue

This might seem like the easiest ones, but now that I thought about it, I doubt it. I’d either need to split the prologue into several chapters – which feels weird and still struggle with getting it right. I haven’t forsaken this possibility completely YET, but abandoning this possibility is more likely every day.

Pros:

  • Editing limited to pretty much single (even if very long) chapter

Cons:

  • Would mean either cutting scenes, or overloading the prologue
  • Can backfire easily
  • Risks omitting important details

I tried twice already, and it did not go well.

Option two: Separating the prologue

By that, I mean vastly expanding the prologue and turning it into standalone “book #0,5”. It’s something I considered when I started, but without the complete picture, I admit I was not sure how much I needed for the prologue to tell when it comes to setting up things well enough. It gives me opportunities that I now don’t want to waste…

Pros:

  • More space to set up the story
  • Better continuity
  • I can fully set up the world at start, including geography and politics, instead of revealing things on the go with possibly weird timing

Cons:

  • Need to come up with 20+ more names for the characters if it is to be fully polished

Now, the naming is the biggest problem, as my fantasy for naming is quite inefficient. I still have many character with placeholder names. I reused names of my World of Warcraft characters. And that is for a story that have between 50 and 70 named characters, so not that much. Yet, I think it’s worth the cost and a year (or so) of delay. I am working on this without any external schedules and I can take all the time I want.

There are many things that I believe deserve more than a short mention, like better explanation of some ‘higher powers’ (I’d say deities maybe, but they are below a what god could do) or the background of some characters and this gives me the opportunity to do this.

The “book 0,5” would be definitely shorter than book one (I’d now guess 50.000 words maximum for “0,5” compared to 240.000 for book one).


Yeah, what was a small idea back in some 2002 is totally getting out of hand. I am still learning on the go, and this is particularly harsh lesson yet it is better than hurting the whole story at start by terrible set-up. Especially when I estimate it’ll take me years to tell the full story and while my ambitions are minimal, I still want to give it all. Ignoring my own mistakes in favour of getting it done sooner would come to bite me in my arse, and it would be fast and hard.

One thought on “Setback or chance for improvement?

  1. Pingback: First draft done, many to go | Tomas's blog and web

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