Arc II is in full swing now, three months and 36 chapters in. So let’s talk about it!
One thing I did regularly with the Arc I monthly check-in posts was talk numbers. At this time in Arc I – 36 chapters in – the story was 121,132 words in length. Arc II’s first 36 chapters?
A lot of that difference has to do with the fact that Arc II’s chapters are, generally, longer than in Arc I. That’s because of two things. One, I think longer chapters work better for the structural design of Arc II. If you haven’t noticed, Arc II has switched perspectives with every single chapter, and it’s been a regular, consistent rotation. So chapter 1 was the Library crew (Delilah, in that instance), Chapter 2 was Caleb, Chapter 3 was the twins (Shana, in that instance), and Chapter 4 was Fae. With four perspectives and a regular rotation, it seemed appropriate to have longer, more substantial chapters so each individual story advanced enough that it felt worthwhile, and not like you were being cheated when I switched perspectives with the next chapter.
Two: I’m better prepared.
In Arc I, I was constantly finishing chapters barely on time, sometimes the day of my (self-imposed) deadline. I was scrambling at times to get to a proper endpoint. That’s happened a few times in Arc II – Chapter 34, in particular, was a tough one to nail down, and I ended up completely deleting and rewriting it before finally landing on an idea that felt right. But overall, I’ve been better at hitting my deadlines, and better at constructing these storylines and keeping things moving forward.
Speaking of moving the story forward, there’s been a lot more story progression in this Arc than previously. Arc I was a lot of worldbuilding and exploration. Now that each of our major characters are on their individual missions, things are kicking into high gear. Just this last set of four chapters – 33, 34, 35, and 36 – has kicked off multi-part events for each of our characters. 33 saw the Library crew (Chelsea, Delilah, Gwen, Lorelei, and Isabelle) set on a goal and begin their trek deeper into the Library of Solitude. 34 had Caleb, Mister Midnight, and Adelaida enter the Brig and begin their rescue mission. 35 ended on a pretty big cliffhanger, as Shana and her friends finally found Annabelle, and charged into danger in order to fulfill her promise and rescue her. And 36 ended on another cliffhanger, as Fae and the Star sisters realized that all is not well with the mysterious Fates.
Looking at the chapter count, you might be thinking this Arc is near its close. After all, Arc I was 42 chapters.
Arc II is going to be longer than 42 chapters. And I’m not entirely sure how much longer. We’re (probably… maybe… hopefully…) more than halfway through Arc II, and there will be an Arc III. Each Arc will probably be a different length from others. Look at Harry Potter – each book was longer than the last!
Actually, don’t look at Harry Potter. If all goes well, each Arc will not continue to inflate in size until things are far too unwieldy to keep track of. There will be shorter Arcs – possibly even shorter than Arc I – in the future.
In fact, I think a good model to look at is the shonen anime Hunter x Hunter. There’s not much of a need to explain the story, the important part is that it has very vividly defined Arcs, and each of those seven Arcs is different in length. There’s the relatively short Zoldyck Family and Heaven’s Arena Arcs (5 and 10 episodes, respectively)…
And then there’s the monstrous Chimera Ant Arc, coming in at a whopping 61 episodes.
Depending on the needs of the story, Arc lengths can differ. The first Arc of Greysons was titled “A World of Magic,” and was very much about exploring and detailing this crazy magical world – in particular the Enchanted Dominion and its strange workings. The current, second Arc of Greysons is titled “Solitude,” and its focus is on the Library of Solitude and, more broadly, the Daylight Bastions and the coming Endless Night.
Similarly to the first Arc, Fae’s storyline is still the most disconnected from the others. Whether that’s to your taste or not, I’d be interested to know. She’s on a very personal journey, and while her strange adventure will eventually have major ramifications and intersect with the journeys of her siblings, that’s a ways away yet. But currently we have Chelsea and Delilah in the Library of Solitude itself, Shana working to rescue Annabelle and get her and Maribelle – both Princesses of Solitude – to the Library of Solitude, and Caleb working with Mister Midnight to find out the plan of the Radiant King and put a stop to it.
Though the King says he wants to prevent the Endless Night, too. So what’s going on here?
I hope you don’t mind me keeping things a secret, for you to discover as the story unfolds. And I hope you’ll enjoy where things do end up going.
Before I go, just a few quick notes about this and that:
- I prefer talking word count over page count, for reasons I’ve stated in previous check-in posts. It’s a more “honest” measurement of your story’s length. Depending on formatting (not to mention font size, margins, font type, etc.) your page count can be much longer or shorter than it would seem to be by the word count. So I’ll continue to use word count as a length measurement going forward.
- Arc I chapters averaged about 2,000-3,000 words in length. Arc II’s are averaging 4,000-5,000, and I think I’ll keep it that way, as those feel more substantial as chapters. There’s just more space for more things to happen.
- Some major character developments and changes in this Arc! Caleb found out that his chronial poisoning is a pretty huge deal, leading to one word that defines his new physical state: Fractured. He’ll never be physically the same again. On the flip side, Chelsea and Gwen went through darkness, and then light, and came out stronger for the struggle. They faced their inner demons, their fears, their hatred, and found the path to overcoming it all. Characters drive the story, and these two major changes to main characters will have long-reaching impacts, good and bad, through the rest of the story.
- While many characters we’ve seen in action can fight, and fight pretty darn well, there have been a few exceptions, such as Shana. And then there are Fae and the Star sisters. They’ve never faced violent conflict. Can they defend themselves if need be? I’ll leave the details for you to discover, but one thing I’m interested in exploring about those four girls is that they aren’t at all fighters. Unlike Shana, they also don’t have a support group of able fighters around them. What happens when danger strikes? You’ll find out quite soon. Throwing characters into situations that challenge them is something exciting: even the fighters have frequently been in encounters that were far beyond them (Caleb vs. Void, Chelsea vs. Anastasia) and they couldn’t just punch their way out of it. What happens if one of those deadly villains comes after a character who can’t fight like the best of our protagonists? That’s a question I’m excited to dive into in the future. Not everyone can fight, but everyone brings something unique and important to the table.
And that’s all from me! Thank you for reading, and please continue to enjoy Greysons of Grimoire! If you ever have any feedback or suggestions, the bottom of every single chapter and blog post has a comments section where you can leave your thoughts. Thank you!