When I’ve discussed the prospect of Flying Pirate Ships! in the past, I’ve always thought it would take 5 Graphic Novels to tell the tale of Nathaniel Corbett and his crew of privateers. There’s a few characters besides Nate and his nemesis, plus a whole world to explore, so I figured, “eh, maybe 7 Books.”

Spoiler alert.

(Not really)

FPS!” is set on a foreign planet in the romanticized past – space travel in the Victorian era. So it shouldn’t come as a shock to learn that the story must end before reaching modern times. Every character would be dead of old age before 1980 (pirates just don’t live to be 120).

But, for me it is unusual to have such an ending planned from the start.

To be sure I hit the points and set up the ending appropriately, I needed to plot out the entire series in advance. I sat down for about a week’s worth of evenings and early mornings and planned out how the tale would flow over the volumes it required.

I needed an introduction to cover the departure from real Earth history. I figured a page would do it. Trying to get a few hooks in, that story took on a life of its own and became an entire alternate history book. The first line of the first summary:

In the confederate south, John Rebb discovers a repellent rock and launches an expedition to Minerva.

That one sentence describes 32 pages of story. Or, I could probably do it in one really tight panel – but that feels like compressing the story.

I blew through a fifth book’s worth of story hardly slowing down, and realized I was only about half way through the tale. I hit the end of book 7 and  needed a whole book for the ending.  I had written the words “volume break could happen here” in the middle of book three.

And, just like that, Flying Pirate Ships! is a nine volume series.

I could probably add another two books – but that feels like padding.