When I last posted on the subject after completing the early draft of chapter 3 of The Muffler's Ministry, I said I wanted to take a step back and replan a few things. It was always my expectation that I'd do so – in fact, it was the entire purpose of writing the opening three chapters, to get a feel for the characters and the story they wanted to tell.
It soon became clear to me that in order to make this story much stronger and more focussed, I had to stop thinking of it as the start of a series. So I've now fully planned this as an entirely standalone novel. Now, that doesn't stop me writing more novels in this world with many of the same characters in future, but I'm not going to worry about that for now.
That decision changed things quite significantly. Luckily, the opening three chapters are still largely unchanged in their purpose, although there are a few characterisation tweaks I intend to perform before I get too much further, In fact, part one of the new novel is largely the ground I was originally intending to cover in the first two parts of my original plans. Much of the new part two is similar to what was planned for the old part three, and the new parts three and four are very, very different. I'm pretty excited how it turned out.
That gives me four parts to the novel, which I'm expecting at this stage to each be around 25,000 words, leading me to the longest novel I've written so far at around 100,000 words. It'll probably turn out different, but it's nice to know roughly what to expect. The four parts are:
I've outline plans for each of these, and have also broken down the first part in more detail into seven chapters, as follows:
This is probably wrong but gives me the chance of getting the pacing of part one right. You've met most of the important characters already in the opening three chapters, but you'll have to wait until part two before you meet Tia Tobin and her father, Leo. They'll bring a few other characters with them along the way.
If you're wondering what relevance the picture at the top of this post is, well all the locations in the book are very loosely based on somewhere real, and this place will prove to be important when we get to part three and beyond. It won't look anything like this of course, but it was a childhood memory of this place that proved crucial in progressing the storyline. Anything more would be a spoiler!
There is one minor issue – I'm not entirely sure The Muffler's Ministry is the right name for this novel anymore, but I'm in no rush to change it. It depends on how the story turns out, but it'll do for now. Indeed, if I do further books in the series, The Muffler's Ministry might turn out to be a better series title. If I had to pick another title right now, it might be The Oracle's Network, but I'm likely to change it again, so MM it stays for now.