As I await beta reader comments and dream of getting “The King’s Sons” ready for publication later this year, one thing has been kind of bugging me. It’s not a major deal, but it has to do with the organization/presentation of the novel.
“The King’s Sons” is my third Herezoth novel, the last one in a trilogy. And what worries me is this: the structure of the text is a bit different than in the first installments.
- I have a prologue, which I haven’t done before. It’s risky, but beta readers (two so far) have mentioned they really like it, so it’s staying. Generally, I don’t like prologues, but this one works for me. My gut instinct was to add it when I was halfway through a first draft. Since the beta readers don’t have a problem with it, I feel I’m right to keep it as is. I could do it as a flashback or something, but I think that would take away all the power of the scene.
- The first two novels have a “Book I” and “Book II” in them, a textual division marked by the passage of a few months. I didn’t do that in the last novel. Everything takes place over the course of about a week, and the novel’s shorter than the other two (though it still clocks in at 125,000 words, almost 130,000). It didn’t feel right to force the division just because it made sense for the first two, so I didn’t.
The structure of the novel, on its own, is fine (I think). It just kind of frustrates me that I’m veering from the pattern I established with books one and two, since this one is connected to them in a very real way. But hey: every author has to do what’s right for each novel, series or not. There isn’t any law that states I have to make each novel in my series “parallel” in every way.
Makes me glad I’m my own boss
What this situation has done is make me glad I’m an independent author. I think there’s a chance that if I were at the mercy of a publisher, they might force a parallel structure on me, and I wouldn’t want to do that in this case. It would require me to drag out the timing of events to make the division logical, and I have no clue how I would do that. I think the novel is fine with the way it’s organized as I have it now. If a beta reader tells me otherwise, I’ll reconsider, but until that happens…. I don’t think it’s a crime not to divide this book when the other two have two major sections each.
It does beg the question though: have you read series where novels had different structures? What did you think? Does the idea of that bug you, or does it not matter in your opinion, as long as each novel is well-written and well-structured in and of itself?