Sandworms of Dune
Sunday, August 5, 2007
By the Numbers
In our outline for PAUL OF DUNE, we had originally mapped out 110 chapters, 55 for me to write and 55 for Brian. Eventually, that number will probably change because we'll split some of the long chapters into two parts, or combine others, even delete scenes or storylines if we feel they don't strengthen the novel. We've already cut four chapters of a subplot we decided wasn't necessary to the story. That's the nature of working with outlines and the creative process; the novel shifts and grows during the writing and editing.
As we were writing, Brian and I were trying to judge about how long PAUL OF DUNE would be; at first it seemed to be quite massive, but we've managed to tighten and focus it. As a useful exercise, Brian did some comparisons and compiled information on all the other Dune novels.
The original DUNE novel is about 200,000 words long (enormous compared to the average 75,000-word SF novels of the time it was written).
DUNE MESSIAH = 75,000 words, the shortest in the whole series
CHILDREN OF DUNE = 150,000 words
GOD-EMPEROR OF DUNE = 140,000 words
HERETICS OF DUNE = 165,000 words
CHAPTERHOUSE DUNE = 143,000 words
Currently, however, readers are much more comfortable with lengthier works. For our novels,
HOUSE ATREIDES = 205,000 words
HOUSE HARKONNEN = 210,000 words
HOUSE CORRINO = 180,000 words
THE BUTLERIAN JIHAD = 190,000 words
THE MACHINE CRUSADE = 240,000 words (the longest of the bunch)
THE BATTLE OF CORRIN = 206,000 words
HUNTERS OF DUNE = 147,000 words
SANDWORMS OF DUNE = 144,000 words
With the exception of DUNE MESSIAH, all the Dune novels are quite sizeable. Until I get my chapters back from my typist, and until Brian finishes writing his last couple of chapters, we can't give an estimate about PAUL OF DUNE, though we're shooting for the 150,000-word range, to be more commensurate with the lengths of the original Dune Chronicles.
Copyright 2007 The Herbert Limited Partnership