Well, this week has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster in respect of writing as I have pretty much completed the full drafts of Archy’s story. That is of course without edits and redrafts but in essence, the actual story is told, and it was quite touching to feel the connection to him dwindle.
I have been planning the next stage in the series which will bring The Magdon Series into the modern world but at the same time have roots back to where it al started for me.
Having started to spread copies around of book one Origins Of The Magdon: Vercovicium I have been receiving feedback that some people feel the stories are too short. I feel I need to defend this, as for me it was very hard truncating the stories as I have in order to achieve what I am trying with the Origins Of part of the series.
Origins is born from me and my sons creating the world of The Magdon from our adventures. Although I would love nothing more, and initially tried to, write Origins Of The Magdon as a full-length novel I felt I was cheating the younger generation out of a story. Having started it as an adventure for my boys, I felt I was not doing them justice by cutting them out of the story and making it inaccessible to them. Well, at least until they could manage a novel length book.
For that reason, I spoke with other children’s/mid-grade authors and realised to keep the story true and accessible to EVERYONE the optimum length was between 10,000-12,000 words. That way, in the future, I can even start planning a dyslexic friendly format and again increase the scope and reach of the story.
And so this in itself has become a double-edged sword. To keep the story true to all audiences I have had to take a simplistic approach, hence focussing primarily on Archy, with brief interludes for supporting characters. This has, obviously, alienate some readers who feel there could be more. I totally agree. But with more comes lengthier instalments which then become longer and longer until finally, they become what I didn’t want. I loose the foundation audience, those I want to inspire and kindle that sense of adventure.
On the flip side, though admittedly short, these stories seem to resonate with the readers of all ages, leaving them wanting more. That in itself tells me there is something in this idea, something that has indeed connected with the “bigger” readers (I didn’t want to offend anyone and call them older)…..the fact I have adults wanting more is only a positive thing for me.
And so, with the continuation story (currently under the Working Title Generations or Legacy), I promise to service the older audience. By then, the younger ones, will have their foundation into the world of The Magdon and can grow into the longer stories.
I am juggling a difficult task of creating an enticing, entertaining and adventurous story while at the same time trying desperately not alienate one demographic or the other by creating something too long or too short.
Who ever said this writing malarky was easy!?!
I felt I needed to justify my decision to limit length. In the same vein, it has prompted me to bring the next story up a level. Generations/Legends will be a novel-length affair offering its roots back to Archy but standing a new story with a bigger adventure in a modern setting. This will hopefully, come 2018, fill the gap some of the adults who have read the book are feeling.
I only hope that I haven’t pushed away a good portion of the audience and if I have, then Legacy will perhaps be the biggest waste of effort and energy so far.
Whilst I have put so much effort into advertising The Magdon stuff I realise I too have done a little disservice to my full-length novel Footprints On The Other Side. This most certainly caters for an older audience. Whilst I realise it is my fledgeling attempt to become a published author, and since its release, I have grown in technical knowledge and (hopefully) skill, it is still a story I am immensely proud of.
Working nights lets me see things differently, the world in a different light.
So really this is an explanation, in a more serious way than normal, of why I have created a five-part novelette series as opposed to one bigger novel with more to it. Hopefully, those that aren’t “digging” the length can now understand the reasons behind it and forgive me for teasing and not fulfilling entirely the more competent and older reader’s expectations.
I realise too that I am unconventional in the way I do things. I am not playing this game by any rules other than the ones I set myself or learn along the way. Some of what I do may work and some may not. Perhaps even trying to justify my choices is frowned upon by “real authors” but in the end I want people to come to my stories and enjoy them for what they are. If that needs a little explanation/justification then so be it. I am not here to sit aloof and pretend I am not affected by opinions or ignorant to people’s feedback or questions. Who am I to just sit back and say “like it or leave it”. I don’t have the money, support or fan base to be so cocky(?) and pretend I know best.
Hopefully, you see I’m human. I’m trying to create a story for all, to entice new readers into a world and feed enough for adults to enjoy it too. Perhaps I have over-adult marketed the books, perhaps I am just trying to find my feet in everything I do.
We live and learn.
Hopefully, those who want MORE from The Magdon will be happy with what I am sculpting at the moment in Generations/Legacy. This will be a mix of action, adventure and family. I have big hopes for something that will be more than the foundations of the Origins Of aspect and perhaps draw in a newer level of audience in the Young Adults along the way too.
Hell, I’m just trying to please everyone, and I suppose that is nigh on impossible.