“Hmmm,” said my lovely beta, reading “Art of Forgetting” for what must be the fifty-sixth time, “the second half feels like a different book. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing….”
And at first, as is my wont, I thought “Oh god, I’ve screwed up, ruined my tendons, wasted a year of my life and it’s not working!” But then I thought about it, and it dawned on me that the reason the second half feels like a different book is that, well, it’s a different book. Obvious when you think about it.
I should start by saying that Art of Forgetting is an absolute MONSTER. 198,600 words at the end of the latest edit (down from 207,000, pop-pickers!) Colin used to call it my behemoth – “how’s your behemoth getting on?” he would ask me, and I’d groan. This was before I’d even finished writing it.
As a comparison, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is 198,227, Joe Abercrombie’s “The Blade Itself” is 190,000, which doesn’t look that hefty on my bookshelf – the version of “Deathly Hallows” I have is 607 pages, and it doesn’t look THAT thick compared to some of the other books I own. But I’m a fantasy fan. I like my books chunky!
An interesting post on word counts can be found here : http://theswivet.blogspot.com/2008/03/on-word-counts-and-novel-length.html
– so you can see the length quoted for the Abercrombie book is going to be pretty accurate!
But going back to what LB said about being two different books, yes. In a way it is. Because when Rhodri meets Nasira, that’s when everything in his life changes irrevocably. There’s no going back to his previous life, even if he wants to. Meeting her forces him to abandon everything he has known, everything he has been, for the past ten years. And because AoF is entirely Rhodri’s story, there has to be a divide there, between the angry, frightened boy, and the man he will become; leader, husband, father. So there is a natural split.
I think I might divide the book into two volumes that can be sold (at the discretion of the publisher I don’t yet have! ;)) as one volume or two depending on how they think it will go. It can be split, it does fall open like two halves of a neatly sliced apple. But the fantasy fan in me wants to see a hefty 600+ page volume, not two thinner books.
Which do you prefer, thin books or thick ones? And would splitting a large book into a duology put you off reading it?