I started working with Richard on his MG high-fantasy project about a year and a half ago. The funny thing is, when we first started working together, it was labeled a YA and had a fantastic world and a set of characters that was going to knock everyone’s socks off—but wasn’t really finished.
In fact, the reason we started working together was because Richard told me that the story felt incomplete. He wanted to flesh it out. Make it big. Build it to its full potential.
Well. It wasn’t long before we started making some big changes. As editor, I was asking ‘why is this happening? Who is this person? What if they did this instead?’ The names of the characters changed. The pacing got more intense. The world began to get even bigger, and the characters started to flesh themselves out…
And before we knew it, we started having conversations that went a lot like this: “The manuscript is at 500 pages. Is that too long?” “The word count is over 100,000—do you think anyone will want to read something that big?” “Do we need to tighten this up? How can we make it more manageable.”
Now, as anyone who knows GH books realizes, I’m not an editor that believes in the idea of page or word counts. I like to tell people that a story should be as long as it should be—and if that’s longer than the average book, we’ll figure out how to deal with it. No short cuts here. No cutting out characters or plot lines if we need them. But when the manuscript starts reaching toward 1000 pages—in one book—it becomes obvious that something needs to be done.
In this case, we’ve come up with something that I think is really quite brilliant. We have a story that is one continuous plot line, and can’t REALLY be broken into different books. Believe me, we thought about it. We really did. But it just wasn’t going to work. And we certainly can’t publish it in one piece, b/c though it might be a really great door stop, a 1,000-page MG high fantasy really isn’t going to see that much action. So what are we doing instead? Simple: we’re publishing it in episodes. We’re breaking the manuscript up into bite-sized pieces, each with a big part of the full adventure, and publishing the pieces on their own. That means this one book is going to become three … or four … or possibly NINE separate pieces, each published within three months of the last, until we get the whole story out there into the world and into the hands of our readers.
At which point we might—MIGHT—publish the entire thing in one piece. But that’s something we’ll have to talk about later.
In the meantime, I hope everyone out there is ready to experience a fast-paced, intense, and incredibly fantastical story about a boy, his sister, and how they’re out to save their nation from the curse of an evil sorcerer—before it’s too late, and their world is torn to pieces. I’m SUPER excited about it, and can’t wait to start publishing our episodes! Until next time--#BreakTheCurse #CurseofIswardel
And now, without further ado.....