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carolinamtne

where to end the first part of a two-part book

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Posted (edited)

My nephew has written a verrrrry long book, like 140,000 plus words. They've decided to divide it into two, but then the question is where? One suggestion is after a point when the protagonist seems to be accepted by the others. (He's an outsider.) The other suggestion is just after the announcement that his main supporter has been kidnapped. Should the reader be left at a high point or with a cliff hanger?

Edited by carolinamtne
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2 minutes ago, zx1ninja said:

I'd pick the cliff hanger.

Yes!

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Difficult call.

 

You need to let your reader feel suitable satisfied yet wanting more. Simple answer is to go with the cliff hanger.

 

I would suggest taking a  look at some 20 or 3 books collections like Twilight, Hunger Games, etc. It seems to me that the writer often has a story for each book which concludes (giving the reader satisfaction) but leave enough loose ends that still need tying up for the next book. 

 

 

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As a reader. I'd prefer not to have to beg.buy.or borrow a second book to find out what happened in a cliff hanger. 

 

I'm currently trying to catch up on a series after skipping a couple of books by accident,

 

James Patterson. George W.W. Martin, and other authors of long series often  resolve the plot of one book and include a teaser for the second. I think this works better from a structural point of view. As a reader, I can choose to ignore the "bonus chapters."

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140k isn't unheard of for Fantasy books. I'd just write the book and put it out there.

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How many times has it been revised, and who has been his critique partner (besides his beloved and blessed aunt)?  Could he chop another 20 000 words?  At that point he won't have to split anything except his binding.

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Posted (edited)

If he’s going the traditional route, having a cliffhanger at the end of the first book might make the reader feel unsatisfied. I read a few agents’ interviews who shy away from books like this because each book takes time to publish and publishers don’t even consider the second book unless the first one can stand alone and does well in the market.

The first book must have a plot that ends and have hints for what else might come. The only caveat is if you’re planning a series. They’d want to know how you plan to continue and end.

Best to check what’s the word count acceptable for the genre his book is in. From the words of William Faulkner, kill your darlings 😊

Oh, and congratulations to him for finishing a manuscript which is a feat in itself.

Edited by L. Wong
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On 7/4/2019 at 8:07 PM, carolinamtne said:

a high point or with a cliff hanger?

Probably a cliff hanger.

 

17 hours ago, Nicola said:

Could he chop another 20 000 words? 

This would also be a good idea, perhaps better than splitting the book. Although it would also depend on who the audience is. A young Adult book needs to be shorter. 

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On 7/4/2019 at 11:07 PM, carolinamtne said:

My nephew has written a verrrrry long book, like 140,000 plus words. They've decided to divide it into two, but then the question is where? One suggestion is after a point when the protagonist seems to be accepted by the others. (He's an outsider.) The other suggestion is just after the announcement that his main supporter has been kidnapped. Should the reader be left at a high point or with a cliff hanger?

First-time writers must make their first novel stand-alone. Sure, it can be the beginning of a longer story, but we have to assume if the first one doesn't sell, there won't be a second one. So the first story has to end in such a way that it satisfies the reader. (Cliff-hangers for first novels are never a good idea. It's been done, but I won't read the rest of the series, because there was no hint it was a series at the time.)

 

The way I did this was by resolving the story-worthy problem in the first book. The series-related problem wasn't resolved though. For your nephew's story, if he can turn the story-worthy problem into the character finding home within that new group, that would work.

 

His other choice is to cut it down by about 50,000+ words. But one thing he might have to set his mind to is if that first story doesn't sell, they're won't be a second half.

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19 hours ago, Johne said:

140k isn't unheard of for Fantasy books. I'd just write the book and put it out there.

It is unheard of in recent times by unknown writers. It simply won't be published traditionally.

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On 7/6/2019 at 7:09 AM, Spaulding said:

The way I did this was by resolving the story-worthy problem in the first book. The series-related problem wasn't resolved though. 

I agree with Spaulding on this. Think the first Star Wars for instance. Luke destroys the Death Star but not the Empire. It could stand on its own since George Lucas had no clue if he'd ever make another movie, but it left lots of room for continuation. 

 

Now he could go even more cliffhanger-y (since the end of the original Star Wars is not really that much of a cliffie) but I wouldn't make it so crazy that the readership gets mad, as others have mentioned. So... yes over here to cliffhanger, but not to the big cliffhanger.

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