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How much do you plan your series?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by RavenOfSummer, Dec 12, 2017.

  1. Feith

    Feith Dreamer

    Generally, I don't plan at all. I type up random ideas for the series and scenes as I go along, and I find that approach typically works best. I mean, for my current series, I wrote a scene that ended up half-way through book two, a scene that's going to (probably) end up in book 4, and of course a billion other scenes that didn't make the cut. Then I build my story based around those randomized scenes and end up with a pretty decent structure, editing and cutting and revising as I go along. Sidenote - originally, I thought the story would just be a single novel, but now, three years later, it's looking more like a 4-book series of novellas. So yeah, I don't "plan" like all the "how to write" books tell me to, and it's worked out pretty well, :p
  2. JBryden88

    JBryden88 Troubadour

    Beginning and ending.

    Now granted, nobody should take my advice because I have not finished a single project... I have one completed rough draft, and a bunch of incomplete drafts of different projects. That said, I always plan how I want a series to end, and how it begins. The rest I let happen organically and I try to write what makes sense. I *can't* follow outlines or notes. When it's time to rewrite that's one thing, but when I'm telling the raw story, I might know the end game, but if that end game is way down the road it affords me the freedom to just... explore so to speak.
    Michael K. Eidson likes this.
  3. Gribba

    Gribba Troubadour

    My current project became a trilogy by accident (at this point in time)... I had no intention of making it a series but as I wrote more and more it became clear it would become more than just one book.
    I write chapters all over the place depending on where my head and ideas are at the time and then I put them together as a finished story. I have a rough idea for each chapter that I am working on, where my character is and the story they are going through, so it is a matter of assembly after I am done. This way I can follow each character through his/her story and development. Each chapter has only a few word 'sum up' of what it is about and when I put the chapters together into a finished story, the chapters finally get numbers and get distributed into the books they belong to.
    I feel like the plan for the books is already in my head, subconsciously, but I focus on writing the first book even if some of the chapters end up in the other books, I just wing it... :p
    Lisselle likes this.
  4. Danavin

    Danavin Acolyte

    When I first came up with the basic idea for a book I set off with the intention of writing a book. I knew where the story began and where I wanted it to end. I remember reading something about having a few sign posts or plot points along the way to help keep the story moving in the right direction but that was about it. Well, that and a bit of world building so my story would have a setting. But as I started writing my story ended up being much larger than I imagined it would. At first I wasn't worried because there are a lot of huge fantasy novels out there but as the word count continued to climb I found myself making decisions to limit the story, knowing it was getting too long, rather than letting the story go where it wanted to go. I didn't have an outline other than the few sign posts I'd set up and typically began each chapter with a paragraph or two of what I wanted to happen in that chapter. The first draft ended up being 275,000 words. As I started editing and revising I also started looking into getting it traditionally published. That's when I learned that as a first time novelist it was going to be almost impossible to get something that large published. Most publishing companies are looking for novels between 80-100k words, with upwards of 120k permitted for fantasy. I suppose I could have plodded ahead and self-published it but I had the goal of traditional publishing so I made the decision that if I wanted to realize that goal I'd have to figure out how to fit it into the established word count constraint. That was when my novel became a series. So as far as having what would end up becoming four books pre-planned, I essentially set off anew with 4 partially written books. I found suitable places to split the story into separate parts but now find myself with another challenge in getting my series traditionally published: the first book is not a stand-alone novel. I have what resembles more a large book in four parts, sort of like the Lord of the Rings. I guess all that to say that I am not a huge plotter or a fan of outlines, but I did take notes about future plot points as they came to me. Everybody is different in what method works for them so do what works best for you.
    Michael K. Eidson likes this.
  5. Yora

    Yora Maester

    I am not really a fan of long stories. As audience I have a hard time sticking to anything for long before something else catches my attention. And as a creator I don't have much staying power either. Yet at the same time, I can get very deeply invested in worlds and concepts and most of the time consider it a waste to have an amazing world created and then only using it once.
    So the structure I have chosen for me is an episodic series. One story at a time, that each is a complete work that can stand on its own, regardless of whether I end up doing only one or twenty.

    While I might not stick to the same protagonist all the time, there is one character that has taken form as something close to my ideal fantasy adventure hero. And for her I planned out a three stage character progression. I know where she comes from and where she will end up eventually. And I feel like this enables me to create stories at any point on that progression in whatever order they come to me while maintaining a continous character development. I know what her motivations, strengths, and shortcomings are in each stage of her life, which is a solid base to chose what kind of difficulties she will be dealing with and how she grows from them.
    Gurkhal likes this.
  6. Helen

    Helen Inkling

    If you're going to pitch, you need to have an outline.

    You can always change it as you go along.

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