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November 11, 2007

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Nato

So far, both times I've reached the "halfway" point, the book in question bifurcated so that I was ~a quarter of the way done on *two* books. Now I'm almost "halway" on one of the current three books, and trying to figure out how to fit all the story in without yet another book undergoing mitosis.

Good luck.

Nato

I should say that I spent a good part of today deciding that for some stories, it was okay to hint that there *was* a story to some particular detail while leaving the actual story untold.

Nathan Smith

I don't think I'll have the mitosis problem. I have a pretty definite idea of how the whole plot plays out. In drafts I can write it not-in-sequence, but I don't want to post it that way. By the way, was the latter reflection evoked by the chapter or by your own authorial exercises?

Nato

Though I also have a pretty definite idea of how the plot plays out - in fact, there's a tremendous amount of story from both before and after the five or so years on which the current books focus that I feel fairly certain I will never write - the devil remains in the details. Do I need to tell the story of why Maleris bothers to persecute the protagonist? Do I make explicit Eveli Gileshall's suspicions regarding her son's waning interest in his fiancee? Can I tell what necessary parts of the story that are yet untold within another 75k words? Since I use as little exposition as possible*, I rely heavily on dialog and action, the length of which are uncertain before I write them. The Orchid House subplot was, I thought, going to be a trivial addition, but has consumed well over a chapter and I'm *still* only hinting at most of what's going on.

I dunno, maybe these aren't such common problems. Further, I have only a glimpse of your larger project, so at this point I can't really say if there are any real parallels. The topic has been very much on my mind since I spent much of the weekend editing, excising and elaborating so it was already at the top of my mind as I was reading both the chapter and your post. Since you mention how there's so much story everywhere, I figured I'd share a little bit of my own experience dealing with story proliferation; the initial bit being how it seemed to make the books multiply and now an bit of how I've experienced it.

*A measure I take because once I start explaining I have trouble stopping. "Here, let me chronicle the last 40 years of politics, economics and regional socio-dynamics to illustrate how things got to where they are!"

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