Progress this month has been hard. While I have hit my daily 500-word target, doing so has been tricky this month. That’s not because I lack the time to write. Rather, it is because I lack a comprehensive plan and have now got to the point where I don’t know what I’ll be writing about on any given day.
When I started, back on November 1, I assumed the project would last a year, and it would take me that time to detail Solonor island, its citadel, the surrounding wilderlands and a couple of major adventure sites. It turns out I was wrong—almost completely because I had no plan.
I write this toward the end of June—so eight months in. I’m coming to the end of my design of Solonor Isle, and that file alone is at 94,000 words. The manuscript, with virtually no art, is already 151 laid-out pages. I love “organic” design, but it turns out that adding a village and a town to a project swells the word count somewhat! This is both good and bad.
On the plus side, I think this expanded setting will be more useful to more GMs. Who doesn’t need a friendly enclave on the edge of the wilderlands, which your characters can retreat to for rest and recuperation? A GM could take the Solonor Isle part of this project and plonk down (that’s a technical design phrase) many adventures (either their own or from other publishing companies) in the nearby wilderlands.
On the negative side, the expanded word count swallowed up by Solonor Isle means it is virtually certain I won’t finish this project in a year—assuming I continue with the full adventure elements in my initial “plan”. It seems inevitable that if I do continue the design into 2024 (to finish the adventure parts of the project) that the book might get split into two.
I’m insanely proud of The Dread Thingonomicon, but some of the feedback from the book is that it is just too big. The Dread Thingonomicon weighs in at 476 pages; would anyone really want an adventure of 200 - 300 pages? Wouldn’t splitting it into at least two parts be better? It might make it easier to use and easier to reference at the table.
I’m still mulling over my evolving plan. If you have an opinion—should this book stay as one gigantic tome, or should I split it into two (or perhaps even three if each adventure locale expands in a similar fashion to Solonor Isle)—please let me know by posting a comment.
Citadel on the Wilderlands is my love letter to B2 Keep on the Borderlands and B5 Horror on the Hill. I'm writing 500 words every weekday for a year.