I've seen so many rules about writing that it's enough to nearly make my head spin. There are rules on word count, all of which I've broken. The first novel I actually completed and was reasonably pleased with came in at a little less than 125,000 words. According to the rules, 120,000 is the maximum for a science fiction novel. Any more than that, and it's too big of a risk for a publisher to take on an unpublished writer. I'm editing it and hoping I can whittle it down.
This book is part of a series. There's no way around that. It's too large of a story arc to fit into one book. I've read plenty of advice discouraging first time authors from trying to write the next big series. There are plenty of authors who have succeeded in starting out with a huge series success, such as J.K. Rowling. However, most of the time, the grandness of such an endeavor is too much for the budding writer to harness effectively. Well, dang it. It's too late for me to benefit from that advice. I'm committed. I love this story and these characters too much to toss them aside. So what am I to do?
I also wrote it with a prologue initially. In the world of sci-fi and fantasy, this isn't uncommon. Yet everywhere I look, everyone is saying that prologues will instantly lose the reader, or that most readers skip them anyway. I never skipped them. Maybe they weren't the most engrossing part of the novels I read, but I read them all the same. They often included important world-building elements. Now that my novel is written, how do I weave the details from my prologue into my narrative? Will it still feel like info dump once I weave those details into the first chapters? Is it really necessary to get rid of them in every instance?
Which rules do I follow? Which ones do I break?
Okay. Meltdown over. I've already decided that I'm writing my series anyway, even if people say it's a bad idea. What can I say? It's a passion of mine. I'll try to adhere to word count standards by tightening up my writing. It needs it anyway.
The prologue is the only part that's making me pull my hair out right now. I'll try getting rid of it, but I can't guarantee anything. This video from Agent Kristin of the Nelson Literary Agency is what made me decide once and for all to try eliminating my prologue. Anyone who wants to keep abreast of what's going on in the publishing world should follow her on Pub Rants. It's great stuff.
Good luck to all the insecure writers everywhere. Thanks for letting me vent all over you.