Finished: Book One of Livinity

For a long, long, long time, I've been working on an an epic fantasy novel called Livinity. There are older posts on this blog about my past progress. The unpublished manuscript even won an award in 2011.

And yet, it still needed work. The latest round of edits involved splitting my 142K word novel into two books. One of the main reasons for that was the fact that I struggled to draw attention from agents/publishers with that huge word count, especially for a first book. With great, often eye-opening, feedback from my critique group, I worked on deepening characterization, adding tension, and enriching the other world setting--just a few of the things that needed work. I spent a lot of time editing, adding content, editing, adding content all while trying to anticipate where to split the novel in half.

Something happened in the midst of all that writing and editing. My word count was climbing faster than I expected. I quickly realized that I might end up with a trilogy. Yes!

Marketing-wise, trilogies are hot right now. Not sure if they still will be by the time my book comes out, whenever that may be. I currently have three beta readers so I'm giving them some time to finish the book before I dive in to the trad route of agent/publisher submissions again.

Side note: anyone interested in being a beta reader? I'm still seeking a couple more. Comment here or email me at to let me know.

Image By Owen Lloyd [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

With a trilogy now in mind, I discovered the place that I felt would be a good stopping point for the first book. Then it was a matter of adding some scenes to give at least the feel of an ending where I hadn't originally intended it before. That was tricky. Having the novel written in a way where all the major resolutions come at the end (now known as the end of Book Three), I had to make sure at least some of the conflicts resolved at the end of the first book. Much is left unresolved, so that's one of the questions I have for the beta readers. Does it feel too unresolved? Or is it enough to keep them wanting to read on into Book Two?

Not to compare my books to the Lord of the Rings...but I'm going to anyway...Tolkien wrote that story as a single book. The publisher split it into three volumes: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King. In some ways, I'm following that pattern because of the way I wrote my book. Much is left unresolved at the end of the first book, and that will be true for the second book as well. My thought is that it can work if done well. There's the challenge.

As for Books Two and Three, I still have a lot of work cut out for me. The rough drafts are there still needing the same work the first book needed. I'll begin plugging away at those soon, but I also think I need to create a more solid outline for those books. If any agent/publisher is interested in the first book, I have a feeling they're going to want to know the whole story from Book One to Three. I want to be able to competently answer that question while still allowing room for all the additions I will likely be making.

For Book One, I have my query letter and synopsis pretty much ready to go. After I receive feedback from the beta readers, I'll probably read the whole thing again myself one last time before submitting. I know the Lord has been with me through this whole, long process. Whatever is good about the book has come from him. Whatever isn't, I'm praying he'll help me sift it out or make it better, as he has all along. When I have updates, I'll be sure to post my progress here.

Here's to perseverance!