My Battered Middle Novel

I’m almost to the midpoint of my full series edit where my primary focus is on continuity. The midpoint of the series means the middle book (Book4). My poor, overburdened middle book. All indications, though, point to it being up to the challenge with a little help.

On top of doing some heavy lifting, it’s also battling push and pull from the novels to either side.

I’m also resolving a couple of series’ issues. One is its lack of a title. If the name continues to sit well with me, it’ll be called the Kovenlore Chronicles.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Similarly, I’m renaming all the books, seven novels and a novella. It’s for consistency and to more easily identify each as a part of the series. At the moment, I’m leaning towards titles beginning with River of… because rivers are significant throughout for numerous reasons. My original titles were clever. Too clever. They’re also often clunky and not longer fit the vision.

So, poor Book4…

It was drafted in the lengthy gap between the earlier and later books that were all drafted in clusters. At the time, I was lost, having backed into a series and unsure how to precede. Finally, frustrated and determined, I threw together all my ideas and wrote it.

170K in a month.

That epic month in 2018 later became the basis for drafting the last two novels together. I knew I could do it.

Thing was, the other novels were all between 125-135K. Worse, I realized I’d left important elements out and added them months later. Just like that, it was 190K. A whale in a goldfish pond, indeed.

Later, the last two books drafted led to revelations that prompted changes. Those changes rippled through the earlier books. Book4, though, will see some isolated, but profound, changes.

Before those were written, though, there was the first edit in March 2021. With the last two books coalescing in my head, I better saw how Book4 fit and cut it down to 139K with relative ease.

All that brings me to the present.

I can already see where having the entire series in place is a great aid. There are entire chapters that are going to disappear because they’re no longer needed. At least three minor characters will be cut from the novel (and the later books they appear in). The result will be a shorter, tighter novel strong enough to support the series’ middle.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Photo: CA Hawthorne

All that said, please don’t get the wrong idea. Most of what exists in the novel already is fantastic. There are major revelations, transformations, and extraordinary events (including Woolly Mammoths!).

Like all the novels in the series, but maybe more than any other one, it builds on what came before and sets the stage for what comes after. Then again, there are links between earlier books and later books and so on.

Yikes, those later books still haven’t been edited.

It’s strange, or maybe not so strange, that this novel isn’t coming together like any other I’ve ever written. It’s as if I had to write the series’ beginning and end to fully understand it. Then again, I live by the rule that every novel is different. Thus, there aren’t any rules. I don’t care how Book4 comes to be, as long as it comes to be.

In my heart, I know that when I move on to the next novel in the series, Book4 will finally be what it was meant to be, what I envisioned. In the end, its transformation will be as astounding as the transformation one of the characters undergoes.

Just writing this post, I’m excited. Seeing all aspects of the entire series taking shape is a transformation few have the privilege to witness. From that standpoint alone, I’m fortunate. I’m grateful.


About Christina Anne Hawthorne

Alive and well in the Rocky Mountains. I'm a fantasy writer who also dabbles in poetry, short stories, and map making. My Ontyre tales are an alternative fantasy experience, the stories rich in mystery, adventure, and romance. Alternative fantasy? Not quite steampunk. Not quite gothic. In truth, the real magic is in those who discover what's within.
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