Chapter 18: Earth Day
Length: 8,923 words
POV character: Father Estavan and Abi
Read: Click here to read (PDF)
It’s Earth Day and time is now up for Father Estavan and Abi. Tonight is the night that the Captain will finally gather with the most powerful people on the ship and Kara will be presented before him.
The Captain suspects that there’s more going on than it seems but he is powerless to do anything about it. Instead, he welcomes Kara into her new quarters and gifts her with servants to serve at her beck and call.
With all the changes happening in her life, Kara doesn’t even need Abi anymore. But that’s just as well because Abi has errands of her own to run, ones that will soon take her deep inside the mysteries of this wedding and allow her to finally find out what’s really going on underneath all the politics once and for all.
Oh man where to start with this chapter?
For one thing, it took me a lot longer to write than I originally planned. I’m sorry about that but this is, after all, a pivotal moment for Abi and Estavan’s characters and I needed to get it right. We’re right at the end of the second act now. This is the tipping point for many of these characters and I needed to get it right.
However… just between you and me, I’m actually getting a bit worried by all the ‘word creep’ going on lately.
My original plan for this book was that it would contain 20 chapters of 5,000 words each, bringing the total number of words to around 100,000. Why that many? Well as a first time writer, conventional wisdom says that it’s very difficult to get published if your book is longer than 100,000 words. Sure, big name authors like George R. R. Martin can get away with publishing door-stop tomes three or four times longer than this because the publishing company can be almost guaranteed to make their money back. For first time writers, however, the odds aren’t nearly as good.
Every bit of wisdom I’ve ever read on the subject has always counseled to keep your first novel short if you want to see it in print.
However, the opposite piece of wisdom is that a book needs to be as long as it needs to be in order to tell the story you’re trying to tell. And believe me this book is as long as it needs to be. I’ve already cut a lot of the fat out of this book. I’ve removed characters and whole sub-plots, often ones I’ve grown really attached to. I’ve been forced to simplify the core situation and streamline its issues in an attempt to slim the book down… I thought I’d done enough.
The sad truth is, though, that books tend to grow in the telling and I already know that this one – even with my attempts to the contrary – will run to at least 25 chapters. Additionally, as is the case of this chapter, many of these chapters are starting to run much longer than their 5,000 word limit. At this stage, I think I’ll be lucky to get the final book in under 150,000 words and that’s a very sad thing to report.
I fear another redraft may be needed after this one, one that features nothing more than me going through each line and hitting the delete key as I go. I’m really not looking forward to that.
But that’s one of the reasons why I’m ‘publishing’ the book here. These chapters are supposed to serve as a record, not only of the writing process but the actual work itself. This is a writer producing a book with the door thrown wide open. You can see the process, you can understand the reasoning, you can experience the ups and the downs, and, hopefully, you’ll get to witness the final triumph at the end.
By the way, I’ve totally fallen in love with Abi’s character after writing this chapter. Easily my favourite in the whole book. I hope you grow to love her too.