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Splitting a novel


I've written a novel which is about 220,000 words in length. After asking advice from members of this forum and Writing Forums, I've been advised this would generally be too long for publishers to consider.
However, I'm concerned this would be detrimental to the plot as there would be little conclusion in the first half of the story as everything gets wrapped up at the end. Should I consider writing in a few more answers to mysteries etc earlier on in the story so the reader gets at least some sort of conclusion to the plot in the first half/book if I end up dividing the story, or just leave it as it is?


You don't necessarily have to split it in half, but a revelation or change in the journey can do wonders to finish a book though.


You may have to conclude something. Not entirely sure a book chopped clean in two would be advisable, as the readers would have to wait for the second book to come out and that might leave them confused with too many lose ends. I could be wrong, but that would probably be my condition at least. Is there a secondary plot? Is there any way you could focus on the first step of the journey, conclude it, and then break off for the second part?

I'm actually having the same problem with one of my books. Over 150k and not even halfway done. In my story, there's an evil warlord type who is planning to start problems, but hasn't yet. In advance, characters go to find something to become his equal in terms of power in case he does really go through with his plans. They will go confront him, have a scuffle, but realize that his plans were only plans, and the one they wanted was someone else entirely. Which is where I'll probably break the story. Halfway through, quest done, but the other half is entirely focused on eliminating the evil.
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I agree that each book needs a conclusion. If you don't have one with the plot you have now, you might have to throw in a subplot that can be wrapped up in the first book.

However, are you sure you edited the book down to its proper length already? Many people write long to begin with and their stories need a lot of pruning.


The key to a successful series is the subplot.

You need to think of it as an outline, like J.K. Rowling's work. Harry Potter learns a little more about his arch-nemesis with every book so, in the final one, he can duke it out and defeat him. However, with each book, there's always some mystery surrounding one of his new teachers. This is the subplot. When that mystery is solved, the book ends and the pattern repeats until the series ends when he finally defeats Voldemort. If you can have subplots that begin AND end with each book, then you can get away with breaking your novel into parts. If there's absolutely no conclusion to any big subplots at the end of the first book, it probably won't work and readers may feel cheated. They may not want to continue reading your series if they think nothing gets resolved. If you wrote a complete novel, maybe it works best as a single work.

Hope that helped.


As was mentioned in a previous thread, a standalone novel is considered easier to find an agent to represent/editor to publish--although there are always exceptions. But even with trilogies, it needs to be a satisfying read for the reader.

If you're considering splitting the story into two, the first novel needs to have a complete story arc. Some stories do not readily make themselves easy for a split due to the storyline and structure.

Another option is to shelf the story once finished and start another. Learn from the experience and plan the next to be told in fewer words. If you're able to successfully get the second novel published, and it sells well and you've established an audience, the publisher will be more open to a longer work.

The other thing to consider is that with ebook publishing, file size isn't an issue like page count is with a print edition.


Since I know nothing of your novel I don't knowhowmuch help I can be, but there is a lot of sound advice in this thread. Definitely consider working in a subplot or alternative story arc or something of the sort. Would more than help with a feeling of conclusion. Though I wouldn't put too much faith in a conclusion, some times the greatest works out there have very vague endings. Personally I like this technique, maybe for some it doesn't give nearly as much closure, but I like the ambiguity. If you intention is to get this work published, as I'm sure it is, then I would have to agree that you may need to pitch something else first to be safe, but if/when you can get this longer work accepted a nice cliff hanger might add that certain something.

Though maybe by that point you wouldn't need to split it haha

Basicaly I would just write the novel you want to right, as full length if you like, or in parts if that suits you, and try and ignore the market for the moment. Once its complete I'd say you'll be in more of a position to decide properly. Although I have no experience in publishing, I would say an Agent would be invaluable in helping you decide whether to split or not.

Secondly, I'm assuming, since you have a large work here, you'll have subplots that either start or finish at the half way point--of course if you don't you should really consider it to help sustain your novel. For this very reason the midpoint could be the perfect point to split, as long as your subs allow it.

Hope I've been at least a little bit of help with my rambling, all the good advice may have already been said I fear haha


Sounds like you need to either cut it down to one story - which means losing a lot of words - or revising it to satisfyingly fit two or three novels.

You're in a very good place to do this though - you have so much written already! If you're utterly lost with what to do, see if anyone is interested in reading it through for you. They may be able to say whether they were bored by any parts, or would love to know more about a certain plot or character. This could help you with which direction to take.


doing it in manageable bits

I wrote my book by paragraph, then rewrote each paragraph until the story followed, I then put it all together and found I had put in 20 000 words of what I wanted to say, and not what the story said.