I promise this is not a query. I need advice on how to split a long, continuous story up into more than one book!Surely you have read some books / series that do this? More than a couple, one hopes?
I recently completed a middle grade novel that took on a life of its own and decided to segue directly into a second book. In the sequel, the kids in the fist book must travel to King Arthur’s England to find a spell book and stone to break a spell cast by Merlin’s son in the first book. At the end of the first book, the main characters have resolved some things and are safe, so it sort of ends that “chapter” of the story, but they are in hot pursuit of another character and don’t have time to stop and celebrate.
Is it OK to have the book end at the beginning of the next story (they all arrive safely and are sitting by the sea in England) or does there have to be some more concrete ending to the first book (they are all ready to travel on to the next adventure, but sit around smiling and patting each other on the back before they go?)
It is too long to be one book (41,500 words.)
I just want to pause and remind everyone that my advice all alone is not useful to you. If you haven't familiarized yourself enough with children's books and with the craft of writing to have some good sense of your own, no matter how good my advice is (and I do my best), you won't be able to avoid misapplying it.
Good, now that that's out of the way: before you go rushing off to work on book 2 or 3 or 17, put all your effort into making book 1 as awesome and polished and whole as you can do. How to do this varies per book, so you have to use your own good sense in making this story the best it can be before your characters set off into a sequel.
If you can't get an editor excited about book 1, the ending to your series is going to come even sooner than you thought.