The Tale Grows…

The Tale Grows… 1024 576 Reader Views

by Award-Winning Author Dan Rice

The Tale Grows…

The first epic fantasy I read where I had to wait on the author to finish subsequent books in the series was Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. These massive books are doorstops with hundreds of named characters and practically as many subplots. As a voracious reader and fanatical fan, I was frustrated by Mr. Jordan’s slow writing pace. By the time the series was finished by Brandon Sanderson, I felt like I needed to re-read the books to truly appreciate the ending.

Jordan is only one of many epic fantasy authors to take years between books. I’m still anxiously awaiting The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin, and Patrick Rothfuss is still working on completing his trilogy. Rationally, I could always understand why these authors take so long between books. Still, it doesn’t mean I was sympathetic to their plight. I just wanted to read the next book!

Now, as an author myself, I can empathize with their situation.

Complexity Grows…

Complexity grows and grows and grows with each book when you’re writing a series, especially one with an ongoing story. Duh, right? Pretty obvious! I only appreciated how much the tale could grow once I experienced it myself.

The Allison Lee Chronicles is a young adult urban fantasy series. It’s not nearly as complex as the stories by the authors I mentioned above, but still, I face the problem of the yarn growing until it becomes one gnarly ball of twine. The first book in the series was my debut, so I had all kinds of issues to hammer out before it was publishable. The second book came quite easily. I knocked out the draft in record time, and the editing process was smooth as silk. Both books came to around 87,000 words, which lands the length for both at the sweet spot for young adult fantasy.

Sounds good so far, right? Well, let me tell you about book three. The rough draft is enormous, nearly 120,000 words! Writing the draft took me longer than the first two books, and I have a monumental editing job on my hands.

What is going on?

I don’t think the main plot line of book three is any more complex than in the first two books. However, there are numerous subplots to keep in the air and tie together. The seeds of some of these were planted in the first book, while others didn’t appear until book two. Regardless, words have to be dedicated to keep these subplots going or they’ll peter out.

Also, the characters have grown and changed with each book. By book three Allison and her squad just don’t have their backstories from before the novels, they have what happened to them in book one and book two. These happenings come up in dialogue and narrative.

Finally, with speculative fiction, the world grows. For example, in The Blood of Fairies (book two), you guessed it, faeries are introduced into the world of Allison Lee. This brings in a whole new set of characters with unique powers, personalities, and social norms. They play a pivotal role in book three, which adds to the ever-increasing complexity.

What’s the solution?

I don’t know the complete answer to this issue. Maybe there isn’t one; indeed, there is no silver bullet. But, in my case, part of the solution is acceptance. The story is getting bigger and more complex. That’s a good thing! Sure, the draft of book three is more story than I need, but that’s okay too. I’m a firm believer that having too much story is better than having too little. At least with too much, you have something to work with during the editorial process, which is when the tale truly comes alive. And, always remember that many authors have battled unwieldy stories and trimmed them down to wonderful novels.

About the Author

DAN RICE pens the young adult urban fantasy series The Allison Lee Chronicles in the wee hours of the morning. The series kicks off with his award-winning debut, Dragons Walk Among Us. Kirkus Reviews calls his debut’s sequel, The Blood of Faeries, “A fun and ferocious adventure.”

To discover more about Dan’s writing and keep tabs on his upcoming releases, visit his website: and join his newsletter.

The Blood of Faeries (The Allison Lee Chronicles Book 2)

Allison Lee wilts under the bright light of celebrity after being exposed as a shape-shifting monster. She’d rather be behind the camera than in front of it. Being under the tooth and claw of her monstrous mother is even less enjoyable. All she desires is for everything to go back to the way things were before she discovered her true nature. But, after she accidentally kills a mysterious man sent to kidnap her, she realizes piecing her old life back together is one gnarly jigsaw puzzle. When Allison’s sometimes boyfriend Haji goes missing, Allison and her squad suspect his unhealthy interest in magic led to his disappearance. Their quest to find Haji brings them face-to-face with beings thought long ago extinct whose agenda remains an enigma.


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