If you’ve read The Story of Us, you’ll remember that the last book in that series features a novella-length epilogue, which is also written in this style. I really enjoyed writing that epilogue, so I decided to translate the style into a full-length novel. Unfortunately, I forgot one thing. I have a tendency to write long.
Some people prefer standalone novels. I love them, too. In fact, one of my favorite books I’ve written, Black Box, is a standalone. But other than Black Box, my best love stories tend to span 200,000-400,000 words in length. And the reason for that is because I have a borderline unhealthy dedication to characterization. People who know me, know this to be a fact.
I know my characters very well, and I can’t bear the idea of telling their stories without presenting all the necessary details and events. From their corny jokes to their darkest memories, I think it’s important for readers to get the full story.
As I said before, I write using the three-act structure. I begin each book by creating a plot diagram in Microsoft Excel. When I created the plot diagram for Anti-Romance, I estimated it would take six chapters to get through Act 1 of the story. It took twelve. Before I began writing, I predicted Act 2 would be about seven chapters long. Act 2 is now going to be eleven chapters long. I think you see where this is going.
This story has become so much more than I ever imagined it would be. While it is still very much a romantic comedy, it has a lot of heart. These characters are pretty fucked up. They’re all dealing with heavy issues: abandonment, death, grief, etc. I wouldn’t be true to myself, as an author, or my readers if I shortchanged the characterization for the sake of wrapping up the plot. And attempting to squeeze two books into one would mess up the three-act structure and the pacing, which in turn would confuse the hell out of the readers.
I know a lot of this stuff probably sounds kind of weird and maybe even a little complicated, but trust me when I say that I would write this as a standalone if I could. The bottom line is this: These characters have issues that cannot be resolved in a single book.
I know I’m going to catch flack from some people for this, but I know most of you will understand. To those of you who are disappointed, I am truly sorry. This was not a decision I undertook lightly. Please feel free to email me at [email protected] or comment below if you want to discuss.
Please accept the following teaser as a token of my gratitude for sticking by me. 🙂
I was glad to be the first person awake when my phone’s alarm went off at eight a.m. London time. Seemed George had forgotten to change the timezone on his phone. After rummaging around as quietly as I could, I realized I had forgotten to pack clean underwear. I sneaked into the bathroom to take a shower and brush my teeth. When I stepped out of the bathroom, George was standing in front of me in nothing but an eyebrow-raising pair of boxer briefs covered in Texas flags.
“Ahem.” I cleared my throat as I nodded toward his underwear. “Feeling patriotic, are we?” I teased him.
He grinned as he brushed passed me on his way into the bathroom. “Just be glad I didn’t wake up with my flag flying at full staff.”
***end of excerpt***