One book into two

If yesterday’s post is true—I know it is because I wrote it myself and even went so far as to reread all the original emails from the days surrounding the spark of the idea so I got them all as accurate as possible—Dreaming of More started out as a dream. A very detailed dream.

Not the typical type of dream where Random Person 1 comes up to a writer and says, “Oh, hey, I had a great dream. You should totally turn it into a story.” Writer 1 gets all excited, grabs a new notebook and pen, and settles down to scribble ferociously as Random 1 tells the story only for Random 1 to say, “This crazy guy stole a Jeep and ran it off a cliff.”

Blink. Blink. Blink. That’s it?

No, this dream wasn’t like that at all. Nor was it like the dreams I had as a teen where I was trying to run away from something on legs that were made of lead. I never could get going fast enough to escape and always woke up just before whatever was chasing me got close enough to do any damage. I suppose I should be thankful…

No, this dream wasn’t like that. This dream had multiple people, scenes that played out like a book, occupations, punchlines, conflict, heartache, personalities, relationships, hopes, dreams…and no ending. That was the kicker. Probably the number one reason Mum shared the story with me (besides the fact I asked if she had any really good story ideas). She wanted an ending.

If I’d had that dream I’d have wanted an ending too.

So she gave me her story and told me to go ahead (which you should already know, because…well…yesterday’s post), but she gave it to me with a huge warning label: it’s gonna be long.

And it was. Long that is. Very long for a romance novel. 136,069 words to be exact. A typical novel is around 70k words, give or take, so basically it would have been the size of two books sandwiched together.

Please note the use of the term “would”. We’ll get back to that in a moment…

So, anyway, it was this really, super long book by the time I finished the story. I thought it was done, I went through and self-edited the entire thing a couple of times, then sent it off to my editor and she edited it. I made all the changes she pointed out, fixed issues, and we finally settled on the book being done.

That was all well and good. But I wanted to try to publish it this month and people wanted to share it, and the general idea was to get the preorder up so anyone who saw the book could preorder and not forget about it. So we did that. I already had the cover, and the manuscript was on the final proofread, so that didn’t seem so hard, just a little nerve wracking.

And then it came time to list a price. I had no idea what to put, so I asked a friend. She asked for the length so I told her. I forgot to ask if she was sitting down when she read the number, but she probably was afterwards. Because…long book. Really long book.

She asked if I’d ever thought about splitting it up.

Nope. The thought never crossed my mind.

She said to maybe talk to my editor and see what she thought. So I did and long story short…no, scrap that, this is me, no story is ever short when I’m telling it…so…long story shorter. Two days after the preorder went up we cut the book in half and started rewriting the end. Talk about busy.

At least for a few days, or weeks…but it’s all over now and I can sit back and relax and frantically try to get the second half finished before its publication date (preorder coming soon).

Anyway, where was I?

Oh, yeah, cutting the book in two. This is where we can remember the “would” part from above. It would have been long. Now it’s not going to be so long. Which you probably already figured out for yourself.

To be quite honest, there were times when I thought about scrapping the idea entirely and leaving it as one long book. I had a deadline looming, life with seven kids can be kind of busy, and adding all the extra stress of having to rewrite an ending…

There was one day during all that where I could hardly eat. The next day it was the opposite. A couple of close friends/family got a freak-out email (or two or a dozen), I alternated between freaking out and thinking it was great, and once the emotions settled down one thing really stood out to me.

This was the best idea ever.

You see, when you have this insanely long book that’s already, well, way too long, it’s hard to change things when you get to the end and realize, “I should have added more about this”. It can’t be done. People would already be nodding off by then as it was. If I added all I wanted to, all I could have, it would have been way too long.

So when we cut the book in half, we (I say we because my editor spent ages brainstorming, helping, directing, and going over what I was doing) were able to add in things I could only dream of before. More conflict, for one, which is good. More interactions with minor characters, who might just end up with books of their own some day. Minor details that will only make sense when you read the second book. That sort of thing.

Most of the effects of this change will show up in the second book. I only really changed the end of the first book to allow for a resolution and a bit of other stuff that I can’t tell you about. If I’d had the time, I might have gone back and changed more of the first book to include something I feel it’s lacking, but remember, we were coming down to the wire here and I didn’t have time to change a ton. Last minute decisions and all.

Decisions that were good. I’m really glad we did it and I think Dreaming of More (which released TODAY!!!) is better for the change. There’s more to the story now, and a lot more to look forward to when Yours, Mine, & Forever comes out, Lord willing, next month sometime.