Writing The Ruler of Ruins has been difficult for me, and I think I’ve worked out why.
My first book, The Web of War, started out as a collection of short stories that I decided to combine together into a novel. Sadly, I wasn’t able to include all of them, as I had to limit the number of characters with point-of-view, and only include scenes that moved the story forward. I spent a few leisurely years writing and re-writing the book before I decided it was ready for publication.
My second book, The Scepter of Ice, was stressful to write because I put pressure on myself to get it finished as quickly as possible. By the third draft I realized that driving myself into exhaustion was not sensible (and also, since no-one was clamoring for the sequel, it didn’t matter when the book came out), so I slowed down.
I’d resolved to relax and write The Ruler of Ruins at my own pace, focusing on quality rather than quantity (when I look back at The Web of War now, I can see that it still isn’t as good as I’d like it to be, even after the 2016 re-write). However, this book is more complex than the others, and I’m finding it hard to move between the plot strands.
I’ve realized that it would be much easier to write this story if it was unraveled into several books rather than crammed into one. In fact, The Web of War would also be less of a confusing jumble if it was separated out into shorter stories, as it was originally! Even The Scepter of Ice, the most linear of my books, would be enhanced if I was able to explore its various story-lines in more depth.
So, I’ve decided to turn The Ruler of Ruins into several separate novellas following the journeys of different characters. Later I’ll try to recombine them into one book so that the Shekruvaris Trilogy is complete, but for now I’m just working on Liralian’s story.
I’ll do the same with my other books, giving readers the choice of experiencing the story as a single giant novel or as a group of novellas. Perhaps, once the Shekruvaris books are longer so huge and confusing, people will actually want to read them!