Today I’ll continue my series on writing a series. Getting straight to the point…
#2 Key Thing You Do Before Writing a Series:
Plot out (to whatever degree you’re comfortable) the trilogy/series.
This might be obvious for a lot of writers. Not so for the true pantser society.
A couple of fellow Badgirlz plot out their novels to the highest degree. I’m talking spreadsheets, white boards, plot cards, a story board that fills a wall – you get the picture. A couple of others don’t plot much at all. A few post-it notes, scribbled passages on napkins, pictures torn from magazines, and that’s about it. The rest fall somewhere in between. There are no rules when it comes to plotting your novel or series. Everyone uses a different method and you have to go with what works for you.
However, when it comes to writing a series, you better have some idea of where you’re going and how you plan to get there. This doesn’t mean you need all the plot details right now. You only need a basic idea.
For example, if you have one main villain for your trilogy, have some idea of his/her plot and how he or she will interact in each book and ultimately face defeat. Reason? You don’t want to break out the big, bad guns in book one and be left with no clue how to create more eeeeeeeevil and triumph over evil in books 2 and 3. Get a basic grasp of the villain’s “growth” along with the hero(es) and heroine(s) over the course of your series. This keeps you from *ahem* prematurely climaxing in book one with nowhere to go or grow in later books.
Another reason? Let’s say an ongoing thread in your series is the interpersonal relationships between your heroines. For example, all the heroines are sisters and that’s what ties your trilogy together. If the sisters have a bad relationship and you know it will be resolved by book 3, then make sure you have an idea of how it will be resolved so that you can ensure the arc of that resolution is shown throughout all of your books.
Having a basic notion of the series plot and arcs also keeps you from making the mistake I made early on. If you don’t know how the story ends (in general) you’ll reach the midpoint of the book and come to a complete stop. Not a stall. I’m talking wheels off wreckage. You won’t know which way to turn because you don’t even have a destination. How can you recalculate directions when your “To:” field is empty?
Just know where you’re headed. The route can be mapped in full, you can stop and ask for directions, or you can wander around until you find your way. The path is your choice if you know your destination.