What’s up with The Ascension Legacy books all being 15 chapters long?

Readers of my The Ascension Legacy books may have noticed that each book in the series is 15 chapters long. With the recent release of The Ascension Legacy - Book 3: A Hidden King Found, someone took notice of this “theme” in the series and reached out to question the significance of it.  

Is 15 relevant to the story? Does that number hint at something important to the plot? Is there a reason why each book is the same number of chapters?

No, 15 is not relevant to the story.

No, 15 does not hit at anything in the plot. This is not some hidden Easter egg or clever attempt at some obscure type of foreshadowing.

Each book contains 15 chapters because I have a touch of OCD and didn’t like the notion of each book being vastly different in size and scope given that they were all part of the same adventure. I wanted each book to feel like a continuation of the previous book, a seamless transition from one story to the next, and making the books similar in size and length seemed like a logical way to incorporate that.

Consider your favorite TV shows. They are all of similar length. Some episodes might be a few minutes longer or shorter than the next but most episodes in any given series are close to the same length in runtime. If it works for TV shows then why not for books?

I have read a number of books that were part of a series like stuff from Tolkien, Salvatore, and most recently, the Harry Potter series. The thing about all of these books that stood out to me from a production quality was the variations among the size of each book in its series. For example, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was less than 400 pages long while Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was nearly 900 pages long.

That’s a pretty big difference in two stories that are part of the same adventure.

I wanted my books to all be of similar size. I didn’t want one part of the adventure to be twice the size of another part. As such, when Book 1: The Shamed Ranger was in its first rough draft phase, it was 15 chapters long and the decision was made then to make the other books a similar size. That’s the only really why the books contain that exact number of chapters.

Basically, the number of chapters was my measuring stick. That number represented my upper bounds or limit for each book.

Originally, the series was expected to only be 4 books long and contain more pieces of armor and more races of people inhabiting the land of Corsallis. As I wrote, I soon realized that my original plan was too grand for 4 books. In fact, the first draft for Book 1: The Shamed Ranger was nearly 1,000 pages long and 120,000 words, far more than the standard book. This meant that I needed to make some changes to the story and Book 1’s draft to better constrain the story’s scope to make it more enjoyable and less grand. Those changes led us to the 15 chapter length that we see in the series now.

The series also saw other changes with the those edits. It went from a 4 book series to a 6 books series even after a reduction in the number of pieces of armor and races to be included.

Even still, had the story not culminated the way it did as I wrote and I needed more books then I would have continued writing additional books, all of which would have been 15 chapters too. 

And that’s it. There’s nothing else really to it. 15 chapters seemed like a good length for an average length book and that was what I was aiming for in each entry.

Leave a comment