Road to Indie: Making a Tough Choice

I have come to a crossroads. Not the kind where you make a deal with the Devil to become the greatest guitarist in jazz, though that seems a tad more appealing right now. I have come to the point where I have to make a major decision with Archangel. Based on some feedback I have received, some people think that the book - weighing in at approximately 105,000 words - should actually be split up into more than one. It would make the Shadow’s Advent series longer than the five intended novels and would mean a fundamental shift in my plans.

And the thing is, I have been seriously considering it.

Now, the idea of going back and making one book into two is daunting. It is kind of scary, actually. It would mean taking a piece of work I have fallen in love with, and putting it to the literary scalpel. It would mean a complete rethinking of Archangel and every single book that follows it. But it also seems kind of exciting.

To think that I could take the novel that I poured myself into and expand on it, make it even bigger than it originally was, has literally kept me up at night (both through planning and sheer wonder). It would mean that I can expand on certain scenes, go further in-depth, add new characters and bring existing ones to life more. There is a lot of work that would need to be done, but there is so much potential as well.

I frequently see things online, in author circles or on Twitter, that say things along the lines of “You never publish your first draft”. I nod and smile when I see these, thinking about how I have gone through multiple stages of editing, even overhauling entire chapters. I thought that would be the extent of it. It certainly is not my first, second, even third draft. I can start moving forward with this, right?

My mantra for the next few months.

My mantra for the next few months.

But now I am gaining more of an understanding of what they mean. I am beginning to see that sometimes what you think is the finished product is just the beginning.

It would be infinitely easier to say no to this idea. Archangel is not only functional, it is, by all accounts, an enjoyable read. But do I want to push out the work that I have worked so hard towards if it could be substantially better? Not a chance. Just like a parent always wants their child to be the absolute best that they can be, I want this story that I have breathed life into to reach its full potential.

Now going about this is a different story entirely. Literally, as well as figuratively. In truth, I don’t actually know where to start. Again, as exciting as this is, the idea of making Archangel into two novels is like standing at the base of a skyscraper and looking up. Actually following through with this borders on the impossible. But I have a few things going for me.

First, just writing this blog, discussing this idea, and making my actions public holds me accountable. That means that if I go down this path, there are people out there who will hold me to my word and make sure I follow through with it.

What this whole idea looks like in my head.

What this whole idea looks like in my head.

The next thing going for me is that I am already finished Archangel as it stands. I can gather two pieces of motivation from this. The first is that I know I can do this. I have written a novel once before, and another in the series is already in the works. That means that I am indeed capable of crafting this story. It also means that I already have the larger picture in place for both novels. I know what the outcome is going to be, and I know the large events that will get us there. I can even use many of the chapters of Archangel as they are! The way I see it, I am already almost halfway done actually penning these books. Maybe not halfway. Maybe a third. But it’s something!

Finally, I have the support. As I have said, this is not going to be an easy task, especially when a much easier route is available for me. Beyond keeping me accountable, I have people who are willing to lend me advice and I have some who will lend a sympathetic ear when I am struggling. Support has been and continues to be one of the most important things in this journey, and that includes the people who read these blogs.

So now I guess I have made the choice of which way I am going down the crossroads. When I started writing today’s blog, I truly did not know if I was going to do it. But as I kept writing, I think I convinced myself that it is a good idea. Not an easy idea, but a good idea. So I guess the next step is just figuring out what the next step is.