Actually, the question is when to e-publish. Do I wait until I can somehow find a beta reader? Or do I just give it yet another going over and hope I find all the flaws?
More importantly, even after I make my decision, then what? Last time I checked, the base text is about 165k words long, about two novels’ worth. (Given that I’m trying to tell the story of the entire Trojan War, starting with its earliest origins, that means it covers a good 40 years, so that’s hardly too surprising. Especially considering how many vital episodes there are to cover.) On top of that, I have copious Author’s Notes to explain all the inaccuracies, and all the variant versions that most people are probably less familiar with. Above and beyond that, there’s a glossary at the back listing all the people, places and patronymics, so the reader won’t get too lost. (Especially important on the patronymics. Once you’ve read the Iliad and Odyssey (but mostly the former) a few times, the patronymic just feels natural, and having to avoid it feels constraining, but for those not as familiar with the ancient texts, it can be a little confusing.)
So the question is, do I want to have a physical copy available? Because if I do, then I can’t publish it all in one volume, or the thing would be way too huge. The problem there is that if I split it into two volumes, due to story and chapter endings and such, I have to do the volume switch very late in the story of the Iliad, meaning that there’s a lot more story in volume 1 than in volume 2. (With Author’s Notes and all, volume 1 comes out to about 115k and volume 2 to 96k, I believe.)
The other question is, do I actually want to include the Author’s Notes? I mean, would anyone actually read them? Or would they just be wasting space?
Worst of all is the feeling like there are all sorts of story elements I left out that I should have included. Like the night raid of Diomedes and Odysseus. And the encounter between Glaucos and Diomedes. Or the sack of Tenedos.
The problem is that everything I can think of that I really should have included is among the early half, the stuff that would go in volume 1, but it’s volume 2 that’s lacking in comparative length! (But I don’t know if I can come up with enough things to add back into the earlier parts of the war to find an earlier place to break off the volumes. The current ending of volume 1 is really strong, a good place to stop, because it seems like it’s the one that would most make the reader want to return for the second part.)
Okay, so if anyone is reading this, I’m begging you to give me some advice! Are there any rarely-told events in the Trojan War that you really like that you think an author should make sure to address? More importantly, below is my list of the chapters in volume 2. Can you think of anything I left out?
The Battle in the Scamander River
Death of Hector
Funeral of Patroclos
Ransom of Hector
Arrival of Penthesileia and Memnon (I know, he shouldn’t arrive yet, but…)
Death of Penthesileia
Death of Memnon
Death of Achilles
Funeral of Achilles/Hoplon Krisis/Death of Aias
Arrival of Eurypylos, son of Telephos
Fetching of Neoptolemos from Scyros/Death of Eurypylos
Retrieval of Philoctetes
Archery Duel between Philoctetes and Alexander
Death of Alexander
Theft of Palladion
Plotting of the Greeks
The Wooden Horse/Death of Laocoon
In the Wooden Horse/Opening of the Sack
Rescue of Helen/Death of Deiphobos
Death of Priam
The Sons of Theseus Rescue Aethra
Escape of Aeneas
After the Sack/Deaths of Astyanax and Polyxena
Cassandra’s Prophecies (Revealing the Nostoi)
Some of the chapters within the sack may be slightly out of order, but otherwise, that’s about right. (Those aren’t the titles of the chapters, of course. Just the explanation of what’s in the chapters.) Actually, it looks sort of too short, but I can’t think of anything that’s missing. (Don’t have it on this computer, unfortunately…)
Can anyone think of anything else that happens this late in the war? (Apart from the rape of Cassandra, that is. I am not writing a chapter about that. I mention it, of course, but I’m not about to write a description of it.)