Outlines and Word Counts and Nerves

I heard back from another agent who requested the outline and the first 50 pages of the manuscript.  Now, I know I need an outline and, when I built my book package back in August, I included an outline. But a little nagging voice kept digging at me on whether or not what I had was sufficient. Prior to sending off my crappy rough draft, I decided to Tweet out to #askagent for some help. Thankfully, a very kind agent saw my tweet and, almost at once replied.


The format for an outline is this:


(single space)

Chapter 1: [chapter title if you have one]

(single space)

[A paragraph highlighting the events and the purpose of the chapter written in single space]

(single space)

Chapter 2:

(Single space)

[A paragraph highlighting the events and the purpose of the chapter written in single space]


And rinse and repeat.





The prologue introduces a seven-year old Dokkalfar named Kallan who sits through one of Gudrun’s lessons in the Dokkalfar city, Lorlenalin. Gudrun teaches Kallan, the daughter of King Eyolf, how to control the life force known as the Seidr. In Gunir, the Ljosalfar city in Alfheim, Bergen has returned after spending five years in the desert city, Ra-Kedet. He brought back a painted egg with foreign markings that he gives to his sister, Swann. Shortly after finding a Seidr spring in the forest, Swann, daughter of King Tryggve, is killed by a mysterious Shadow while holding on to the egg.

Chapter 1:

Chapter 1 jumps ahead 719 years to Lorlenalin’s streets. Princess Kallan, now an adult and trained Seidkona, sneaks into the warrens to visit a group of children made orphans by the 500 year-long war. As Kallan nurses the children, Aaric, the king’s merkismathr and advisor, arrives to report an ambush. Kallan rides off to the battlefield where she finds her father dead. Kallan is crowned queen, her father’s body is burned at sea, and Kallan vows to kill the Ljosalfar, King Rune, and avenge her father.
Meanwhile, below the world tree at the roots of Yggdrasil, the giant, Loptr, lays bound to the rocks beneath an immortal, venomous snake that forever drips acid onto him. Loptr vows to vengeance against Odinn for the deaths of his sons.

Chapter 2:

Chapter 2 begins with Aaric reviewing the military plan with Kallan. It is a year later and Kallan has secured the advantage over King Rune and the four divisions of his army. Despite, Aaric’s warning to petition Rune for peace, Kallan dismisses Aaric and, instead, sneaks into King Rune’s camp hours before battle. While spying on the Ljosalfar, Kallan meets a Ljosalfar hunter who has followed her from Rune’s camp. Before either can learn of the other’s identity, Kallan slips away. The hunter is King Rune who has recently learned that Kallan and her Dokkalfar army move to attack at dawn. Rune’s recently diminished army isn’t enough to survive Kallan’s advance and he makes plans to take down the queen’s Seidkona with him.


So, with 75 chapters, I had a lot of writing ahead of me. Knowing the preferences varies from agent to agent, and also being very conscious of my 250,000 goliath of a debut novel, I submitted a number of query letters as the original Lorlenalin’s Lies at 250,000 words. But, I am a novice author. I understand that the odds of me selling my full 250,000 word manuscript are rare.


So I decided to submit additional queries offering the first half of Lorlenalin’s Lies, making it available to other agents at 140,000 words and offering it as Dolor and Shadow, then I would have a ready-to-go book 2, which was really just the second half of Lorlenalin’s Lies.


Does it hurt the book? Only if readers begin with book 2. Would it take away or add to the story either way? Well, I don’t know. But I can say this with certainty, the full 250,000 word manuscript is meant to be read from beginning to end as one go. And reading it in this manner does strengthen the novel. Is there valuable information in part one that isn’t in part two? Absolutely. I can tell you, there is a lot information in the prologue alone and in the opening chapters that is nowhere else in the book. There is foreshadowing, and cookie crumbs all over the book, in nearly every chapter. It would be easier for me to tell you which chapters have nothing viable in them.


Did any of the decisions I make matter?  I have no idea.  But I’ll get back to you once I have a definitive answer for you.


About the Author: Anna Imagination

Biographical Info... What you seek is my Story. Every Soul is a "Blurb" as one would read on the back of the book. But can people be "unwrapped" so easily? Most importantly, why try? I have long since learned to preserve the Savory that comes with Discovery. Learning of another Soul is a Journey. It is an Exploration. And it does not do the Soul Justice to try and condense a Soul Journey into a Bio.