To plot or not to plot

  • 13 Replies
  • 144 Views

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

*

Jedi Knight Muse

  • A muse that's a Jedi
  • Administrator
  • Master
  • *****
  • 2111
    • View Profile
To plot or not to plot
« on: June 13, 2017, 10:42:07 AM »
So, I've been working on Storms of Magic for almost a year- I think I started writing challenge entries involving these characters last July/early August, and ended up deciding to expand their story into a full novel. These characters...they definitely have more of a story than the one I have planned at the moment. There's no way I can get away, nor do I want to, with not writing a sequel, or two sequels, or...whatever.

The problem is that I don't know what to have happen in those sequels.

The other problem is that I don't even know how Storms of Magic is really going to end (I mean, I have a vague idea, but it's...kind of cliche and I'm not sure if it's what I'll go with or not) at the moment, and I'm sure the way it ends is going to effect whatever happens in the next story.

I kind of want to start trying to plan the sequel, because like I said, the stories are going to connect to each other, basically, and for all I know, whatever I have happen in the sequel would help me come up with more plot for Storms of Magic, which at the moment would definitely be a good thing.

In the past, I've been one of those writers who, when I get an idea for a new story, I've ended up stopping whatever my current project was at the time in favor of the new project. I don't want that to happen. I've invested way too much into this story and the characters to let that happen.

I mean, really, it's PROBABLY way too early into writing the first draft of Storms of Magic to even consider starting to plan the sequel. But I'd really like to have a basic idea for it, and like I said, I think at least having a general idea of what will happen in the next book would help me fill in some of the gaps for Storms of Magic, especially with how it ends.

My biggest problem is that I have NO IDEAS for what I even want to have happen in the next book.

Every writer is different, and every writer is going to handle this kind of thing differently. What works for one person isn't necessarily going to work for the next person. But for the sake of discussion, getting some advice...

What would you do in my position? Would you wait until you reached a certain word count/were close to the end of the story or would you start trying to get an idea of what you wanted to do in the next book?

Most importantly, because I think this is a large part of why I'm asking this: what would you do to get ideas for that next book, especially if you don't even have a vague idea of what you want to have happen?
Current total goal: 25,000
July Camp Goal: 15,000 (4,474=difference needed to get to 15k)

Storms of Magic - Draft 1


*

Tyrannohotep

  • Expert
  • ****
  • 461
    • View Profile
    • My Wordpress
Re: To plot or not to plot
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2017, 12:04:14 PM »
I wish I could recommend a strategy to you, but the thing is that all my successes have been with short stories. And with those, I usually follow a mental plan that I don't have to write down. I don't know whether the same strategy would work for a novel since it has more stuff to keep track of, but I doubt it.
My big art thread

Also the author of the entire Dinosaurs & Dames anthology

*

ScribblerKat

  • Apprentice
  • **
  • 97
    • View Profile
    • Kathy Ann Trueman - fantasy writer
Re: To plot or not to plot
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2017, 12:20:55 PM »
I am a person who outlines before writing. (I wasn't always that way - it took me years to work out the system I use now - but it works.)

If I were in your shoes, I would stop writing (just for a short time, don't panic!) and outline. Create a story arc for the entire series and for the MCs. Then create mini-arcs that will become the sequels later. These can be sketchy and rough, and definitely subject to change as the writing progresses, but at least you'll have an idea of where you're going.

Another possible option would be to write the series as stand-alones instead of sequels. You'll still need those long-term character arcs, because you'll want the MCs to continue to change through the rest of the series, but you don't need a story arc. This would be a good solution if you don't want to decide right now how many sequels there would be.

(If you opt for that second option, let me give you the benefit of my experience, as in, don't make my mistakes. You'll be creating your world as you write. Take the time to draw maps, create timelines, and take thorough notes about your world! You don't want to have to go back to the original story and change things to fit your growing world, as *cough* I've been doing.)
All that is gold does not glitter
Not all those who wander are lost

*

Jedi Knight Muse

  • A muse that's a Jedi
  • Administrator
  • Master
  • *****
  • 2111
    • View Profile
Re: To plot or not to plot
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2017, 10:46:30 PM »
I am a person who outlines before writing. (I wasn't always that way - it took me years to work out the system I use now - but it works.)

If I were in your shoes, I would stop writing (just for a short time, don't panic!) and outline. Create a story arc for the entire series and for the MCs. Then create mini-arcs that will become the sequels later. These can be sketchy and rough, and definitely subject to change as the writing progresses, but at least you'll have an idea of where you're going.

Another possible option would be to write the series as stand-alones instead of sequels. You'll still need those long-term character arcs, because you'll want the MCs to continue to change through the rest of the series, but you don't need a story arc. This would be a good solution if you don't want to decide right now how many sequels there would be.

(If you opt for that second option, let me give you the benefit of my experience, as in, don't make my mistakes. You'll be creating your world as you write. Take the time to draw maps, create timelines, and take thorough notes about your world! You don't want to have to go back to the original story and change things to fit your growing world, as *cough* I've been doing.)

Yeah, see, sometimes I outline before I start on a project and sometimes I don't...the thing with Storms of Magic is that I was trying to write a last minute writing challenge entry...and I ended up writing a story involving Arris and Merek but they were secondary characters. Their story interested me more than the main character did in that challenge, so I ended up deciding to expand on their story, after writing a few more things involving them for challenge entries. So then I ended up writing an outline and starting to write the story...or really, since at least one of the things I'd had outlined was one of the things I wrote for the challenge entries, I continued from where those left off.

So basically, when I started writing with these characters...it wasn't initially intended with a story arc/character arc in mind, really. I didn't initially start writing about them with the intention of turning it into a novel, so I didn't start thinking right away about what the overall plot would be.

My problem is that I have literally 0 ideas for what I want to have happen next. And I don't...usually think about character arcs? I mean, I guess I do, but it's not usually something I sit down and specifically try to figure out, usually. And I have no ideas for the story arc. All I know is that it focuses on Arris and Merek's friendship.

I don't know about doing stand-alones, either, at least not initially. I think ultimately the story follows Arris's journey while focusing on his friendship with Merek, 'cause I know that Arris has to go back to his homeland and do -insert whatever tasks here,- and I know that the next book is more or less going to pick up where Storms of Magic left off (maybe not RIGHT where it leaves off, but not that long afterward), so it feels like it's going to be one of those things where Storms of Magic kind of leaves off on a cliffhanger (but not really a real cliffhanger, just something that makes it obvious that there's more to the story, I guess), which I think that means that it can't really be a stand-alone?

I've already been building the world as I write, both during the actual writing and while making notes and such in my world building binder, though nothing is super detailed or anything and a lot of it is stuff that I haven't figured out yet.

I don't even have an inkling of an idea of what I want to have happen in the next book, and it's super frustrating.  :-\
Current total goal: 25,000
July Camp Goal: 15,000 (4,474=difference needed to get to 15k)

Storms of Magic - Draft 1


*

Sandy

  • Apprentice
  • **
  • 88
  • probably haunting you right now
    • View Profile
    • My Artblog
Re: To plot or not to plot
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2017, 12:07:04 AM »
Not that I've finished a long project ever, but it kind of sounds like your problem is that you have characters and a story you want to tell, but want to expand it beyond what you want to tell?

I'd say just don't pressure yourself to actually make it a multi-book series yet. Figure out what you want to do with these characters, what you want to do with the narrative, and if it seems like it would be better served by a multi-book format, head in that direction. A lot of authors do standalone novels before getting into multi-book series, probably because it's just less complicated to think in terms of 'i'll go from point a, through b, into c, and then the story will end' than 'i need to represent all of point a and allude to c but i think i'll save b for the next novel and then the second will have elements of d and establish and then resolve b while better establishing c and then-'.

With the fanfic project I'm doing to get myself back into writing, I just kind of jotted in my phone notepad what my goals for the main character were, and then started filling in the details around that. It's been a lot easier to look at it from the perspective of 'what kind of growth is needed for this character and how can i facilitate it' and 'what kind of messages do i want to present in this story, and how can i showcase them' than the way i always tried to write before, which was 'what events happen'. Even from a pacing perspective, it was really great to think of it as 'what this needs' instead of 'what goes next', because i could account for things like 'this is a story about personal growth - i consider personal growth to be a thing that requires time with oneself - it would be too abrupt for the character to meet the main love interest right after having the breakup - there has to be a grieving chapter and a recovery chapter before anything else happens with the core plot'.

*

ScribblerKat

  • Apprentice
  • **
  • 97
    • View Profile
    • Kathy Ann Trueman - fantasy writer
Re: To plot or not to plot
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2017, 01:28:55 AM »
That's some good advice from Sandy, Jedi Knight Muse. I say that because what seems to be your strength is in your characters. You obviously love them and want to write about them. The rest will sort itself out eventually.  **hands out cookies, brownies, tea, and coffee**
All that is gold does not glitter
Not all those who wander are lost

*

MagicMagor

  • Librarium Testers
  • Journeyman
  • *
  • 114
    • View Profile
Re: To plot or not to plot
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2017, 11:29:11 AM »
I'm not sure i'm qualified enough to give advice (seeing how i have never finished a novel) but since i'm a plotter and it's a question about planning i'm going to answer it anyway.

It seems to me the initial idea for Storms of Magic wasn't to be a series, instead just a stand-alone novel. But now you've grown so attached to your characters that you want to write more stories with them.
As a plotter i would be very cautious about starting to plan a sequel while the first one isn't finished or close to being finished. Especially since you say you only have a vague idea about the ending for the first book. If you start planning the sequel now there is a great chance that this will either:
  • Limit your choices in how to end the first book as not to conflict with your plan for book 2.
  • Your plan for book 2 will need major changing once you know how to end the first book.
  • A sequel might not be possible because there is no conflict left for the characters after book 1

My advice is also to stop writing the draft for a time and sit down to plan. Figure out the ending you want for your characters. That doesn't have to be the ending for book1 but the ending after which you can say "I've told all i can tell about these characters." Once you have that you can look to derive the main conflict and main story arc from that ending. The scope of that conflict will tell you if you need one book, ten books or something in between to tell it.
The best advice i ever recieved about plotting and planning in general was to start with the ending. Figure out where you want to go. Unless you know that, you are only going to wander aimlessly in the mists.

A side note about clichees, since you seem to be troubled that your basic idea for an ending sounds clichee. That is totally ok. It's ok for two reasons:
First everything in storytelling sounds clichee if it is just boiled down to the very basics. The more vague an idea, the more basic it is usually expressed and the more clichee it sounds. That doesn't mean the ending is going to be boring, it can still be the most awesome ever.
Second is that clichees aren't inheritently bad. They get talked alot about and often in a negative way but that shouldn't stop you from using them. Clichees are clichees because they get used a lot and so some people are sick of them and want something new and fresh. But i think it is important to realize that clichees get used a lot because people (readers) like them. I assume for every person that sees a "Choosen one"-story and rolls his eyes for the clichee there is at least one other person who loves that story because it is a choosen one story.
In addition it is more important how you use a storytelling device (like a clichee) than it is if it is clichee or not. Personally i like to call them Tropes and define clichee as a badly executed trope.

Last but not least:
If your main conflict doesn't give you enough juice for more than one book don't despair. Instead of fixating on the idea of a sequel why not explore the backgrounds of the characters in seperate stories? That would have the additional benefit that it might help you with your current story. You can try to expand your main conflict so there is enough for multiple books but i would advise against stretching the story, just because you can't let go of your characters. Because at one point you have to.
Title: Tigerhall (WIP)
Status: Outlining/Writing
Progress: 12/29 Scenes, 1/3 Acts
Word Count Total: 24,496
Word Count Draft: 15,064

*

Jedi Knight Muse

  • A muse that's a Jedi
  • Administrator
  • Master
  • *****
  • 2111
    • View Profile
Re: To plot or not to plot
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2017, 09:58:48 AM »
Not that I've finished a long project ever, but it kind of sounds like your problem is that you have characters and a story you want to tell, but want to expand it beyond what you want to tell?

I'd say just don't pressure yourself to actually make it a multi-book series yet. Figure out what you want to do with these characters, what you want to do with the narrative, and if it seems like it would be better served by a multi-book format, head in that direction. A lot of authors do standalone novels before getting into multi-book series, probably because it's just less complicated to think in terms of 'i'll go from point a, through b, into c, and then the story will end' than 'i need to represent all of point a and allude to c but i think i'll save b for the next novel and then the second will have elements of d and establish and then resolve b while better establishing c and then-'.

With the fanfic project I'm doing to get myself back into writing, I just kind of jotted in my phone notepad what my goals for the main character were, and then started filling in the details around that. It's been a lot easier to look at it from the perspective of 'what kind of growth is needed for this character and how can i facilitate it' and 'what kind of messages do i want to present in this story, and how can i showcase them' than the way i always tried to write before, which was 'what events happen'. Even from a pacing perspective, it was really great to think of it as 'what this needs' instead of 'what goes next', because i could account for things like 'this is a story about personal growth - i consider personal growth to be a thing that requires time with oneself - it would be too abrupt for the character to meet the main love interest right after having the breakup - there has to be a grieving chapter and a recovery chapter before anything else happens with the core plot'.

Yep, that's exactly it.

Hm. I could try looking at the characters the way you described, with how I want them to grow. The problem is that I basically know almost nothing about either character, but especially about Arris. I know that he has powerful magic abilities, and that someone is behind his being framed for murder because they wanted to draw him out so he could go back to his homeland, but beyond that I'm pretty much blocked (though I did get some suggestions on things that are kind of part of that, but I'm not 100% on them).

That's some good advice from Sandy, Jedi Knight Muse. I say that because what seems to be your strength is in your characters. You obviously love them and want to write about them. The rest will sort itself out eventually.  **hands out cookies, brownies, tea, and coffee**

I do love and want to write about them, but I dunno if my strength is my characters, especially in this case. :P I only know basic information about them.

It seems to me the initial idea for Storms of Magic wasn't to be a series, instead just a stand-alone novel. But now you've grown so attached to your characters that you want to write more stories with them.

Well...I mean, the characters themselves were created for a short story, and then I ended up deciding to expand on the characters' stories and write about them. I think I've known pretty much from the start that it could possibly be a series, I just didn't do planning for more than one book when I outlined Storms of Magic.

Quote
As a plotter i would be very cautious about starting to plan a sequel while the first one isn't finished or close to being finished. Especially since you say you only have a vague idea about the ending for the first book. If you start planning the sequel now there is a great chance that this will either:
  • Limit your choices in how to end the first book as not to conflict with your plan for book 2.
  • Your plan for book 2 will need major changing once you know how to end the first book.
  • A sequel might not be possible because there is no conflict left for the characters after book 1

This is exactly what I'm afraid of, is that if I start to plan the sequel while the first one isn't finished/close to being finished, any of those three things could happen in addition to me just kind of losing interest in Storms of Magic because of wanting to write the sequel instead (although I suppose that couldn't really happen since Storms of Magic is unfinished anyway, so it's not like there'd be a point in me starting the sequel before finishing the first book).

Quote
My advice is also to stop writing the draft for a time and sit down to plan. Figure out the ending you want for your characters. That doesn't have to be the ending for book1 but the ending after which you can say "I've told all i can tell about these characters." Once you have that you can look to derive the main conflict and main story arc from that ending. The scope of that conflict will tell you if you need one book, ten books or something in between to tell it.

Hm. See, I'm nervous about just stopping the writing for Storms of Magic. I think that if anything, I need to keep writing it but need to sit down and focus on trying to at least come up with ideas for the sequel, because like I said, whatever ideas I come up with for the sequel, I could possibly use to expand Storms of Magic and make it longer.

Quote
A side note about clichees, since you seem to be troubled that your basic idea for an ending sounds clichee. That is totally ok. It's ok for two reasons:
First everything in storytelling sounds clichee if it is just boiled down to the very basics. The more vague an idea, the more basic it is usually expressed and the more clichee it sounds. That doesn't mean the ending is going to be boring, it can still be the most awesome ever.
Second is that clichees aren't inheritently bad. They get talked alot about and often in a negative way but that shouldn't stop you from using them. Clichees are clichees because they get used a lot and so some people are sick of them and want something new and fresh. But i think it is important to realize that clichees get used a lot because people (readers) like them. I assume for every person that sees a "Choosen one"-story and rolls his eyes for the clichee there is at least one other person who loves that story because it is a choosen one story.
In addition it is more important how you use a storytelling device (like a clichee) than it is if it is clichee or not. Personally i like to call them Tropes and define clichee as a badly executed trope.

Oh trust me, I'm in 100% agreement with you on this. I've said it before- it doesn't matter if something is cliche or has been done before, it matters how you choose to use it and make it your own to try and make it original. The only reason I said what I did about the idea for Storms of Magic being cliche is because it just reminds me a little too much of Star Wars- my initial thought, before I was thinking that Amasra (which is the younger sister of the princess that Arris was supposed to be falling in love with) wouldn't exist any more, was that after everything happens, Arris would bring Amasra to Merek at his home estate and leave her there for him to take care of and then Arris would walk away and head off to do his own thing, and the way I envisioned it is just very "Obi-Wan brings Luke to Owen and Beru and goes off into the desert." That's really the only thing I meant by that, was that it reminds me a little too much of that. And it may not actually end up that way when I actually get to that point, it's just a general idea of what I was envisioning. It's totally possible the ending will be entirely different from that, I just don't have any ideas for it at the moment.

Quote
Last but not least:
If your main conflict doesn't give you enough juice for more than one book don't despair. Instead of fixating on the idea of a sequel why not explore the backgrounds of the characters in seperate stories? That would have the additional benefit that it might help you with your current story. You can try to expand your main conflict so there is enough for multiple books but i would advise against stretching the story, just because you can't let go of your characters. Because at one point you have to.

I've sort of done that here and there already. Of course, I don't have examples (in the library) to show you at the moment, but I have done it, with past writing challenges...though I haven't really done it with Arris, only with Merek. I just have no real ideas for anything that I could write about Arris because I don't really know who he is. Which, you know, is a problem in general, never mind just in this case.

It's not really that I want to stretch the story just because of the characters, it's that I KNOW there's more to it than what I've come up with. It doesn't feel like something that should be a standalone thing, it feels like something that has a lot of story to it. And that's not even just me being like 'I wanna write a bunch of books!" it's just...it doesn't feel like I could get away with only one story, even if I wanted to.
Current total goal: 25,000
July Camp Goal: 15,000 (4,474=difference needed to get to 15k)

Storms of Magic - Draft 1


*

MagicMagor

  • Librarium Testers
  • Journeyman
  • *
  • 114
    • View Profile
Re: To plot or not to plot
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2017, 11:34:38 AM »
Quote
It's not really that I want to stretch the story just because of the characters, it's that I KNOW there's more to it than what I've come up with. It doesn't feel like something that should be a standalone thing, it feels like something that has a lot of story to it. And that's not even just me being like 'I wanna write a bunch of books!" it's just...it doesn't feel like I could get away with only one story, even if I wanted to.
In that case i don't really see where the problem is. I'm no expert on planning series but i don't think you need detailed ideas about the sequels while you are still writing the first book. So it might be enough to sit down for a couple of hours and brainstorm your main conflict and arc for the series. Define how the main arc of the first book fits into the overall plot. You don't need a plot for the sequels yet. That should be doable in a day or during a weekend.
Then continue writing the book you are currently working on. With the main series-arc in mind you can sprinkle things here and there but don't despair because you have only vague knowledge about the future books.
There is always the option of editing. If i were to write a series i would assume that after writing book1 and planning book2 i might need to edit book1 so it fits with the plan for the next book. Don't forget that it's ok for a first draft to have problems.

Edit:
Another thing to remember is what is your plan for publishing. Unless you really want to publish book1 before the whole series is done, there is no problem. You write book1, plan and write book2 etc.. Once the whole series is finished you can tidy up all the small inconsitencies between the books or implement foreshadowing for the later books in the earlier books. It only becomes a problem if book1 is published before book2 or book3 is finished but quite frankly, i doubt that this is a reasonable expectation for an currently unpublished author to happen anyway.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2017, 11:39:09 AM by MagicMagor »
Title: Tigerhall (WIP)
Status: Outlining/Writing
Progress: 12/29 Scenes, 1/3 Acts
Word Count Total: 24,496
Word Count Draft: 15,064

*

Ahryantah

  • Journeyman
  • ***
  • 101
    • View Profile
    • Multiple Universe Theory
Re: To plot or not to plot
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2017, 12:32:17 AM »
There's a lot of good advice already here, so I'll just cover some of what I found while writing my trilogy (which is one overarching story, but each book also has more immediate plot problems that get resolved in their respective books).

1. What is most crucial for me is to have an ending. All the projects I've completed had one thing in common: I knew how they ended. I tend to jump into a new story with a handful of characters and a vague idea for a plot and wing it from there, but I need to have some idea how the whole thing ends if there's any hope of me finishing it. A lot of the time the ending is even one of the first things I write. It can change, of course, and usually does because the story inevitably goes off in unexpected directions, but I need to have something that I feel like I'm working toward (without chaining myself to that absolute ending).

2. Outline. Yeah, I eschew outlines. I'm a pantser all the way. But what works for NaNo doesn't work so much for a novel I'm putting real, serious work into. So I have to have some kind of outline, even just a minimal one, to use as a guide. For my trilogy, I wrote the entire first draft of the first book without an outline, as well as about a third of the second book. But there I had to stop, because I started editing the first book and changed enough that a lot of what I had written for the second book no longer made sense with the first book. I realized then I'd have to have some kind of outline, if only to keep character and plot arcs consistent.

3. One book at a time. This is more what you were kind of asking, and I can't say what the right thing to do for you is. All I can say is that for me, personally, I decided I needed to get the first book of my trilogy locked down before I could really move on to the second. The first book has undergone a lot of changes, mostly because it was my first foray into fantasy and the first draft was frankly a cliche-ridden mess. I have completely rewritten it since then and now have a set beginning, middle, and ending, so now I feel comfortable working on the second book. The first book isn't done being revised by any means (that's the one I was sending you chapters for),  but I don't anticipate any more major plot upheavals that will mess up the second book. So I'm also working on the new draft of the second book.

As for your book, is the ending still Arris going off to find out more about his heritage? I had assumed that him doing that would be the premise of the second book. So you don't really have no ideas. You have a starting point, at least, unless you've changed how the first book is going to end. I kind of think you would probably be better off just getting the first draft of the current book finished, so that you have a foundation for a trilogy or a series or whatever you eventually want. I think that might help in figuring out subsequent books.


*

Jedi Knight Muse

  • A muse that's a Jedi
  • Administrator
  • Master
  • *****
  • 2111
    • View Profile
Re: To plot or not to plot
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2017, 11:01:05 AM »
Quote
It's not really that I want to stretch the story just because of the characters, it's that I KNOW there's more to it than what I've come up with. It doesn't feel like something that should be a standalone thing, it feels like something that has a lot of story to it. And that's not even just me being like 'I wanna write a bunch of books!" it's just...it doesn't feel like I could get away with only one story, even if I wanted to.
In that case i don't really see where the problem is. I'm no expert on planning series but i don't think you need detailed ideas about the sequels while you are still writing the first book. So it might be enough to sit down for a couple of hours and brainstorm your main conflict and arc for the series. Define how the main arc of the first book fits into the overall plot. You don't need a plot for the sequels yet. That should be doable in a day or during a weekend.
Then continue writing the book you are currently working on. With the main series-arc in mind you can sprinkle things here and there but don't despair because you have only vague knowledge about the future books.
There is always the option of editing. If i were to write a series i would assume that after writing book1 and planning book2 i might need to edit book1 so it fits with the plan for the next book. Don't forget that it's ok for a first draft to have problems.

Edit:
Another thing to remember is what is your plan for publishing. Unless you really want to publish book1 before the whole series is done, there is no problem. You write book1, plan and write book2 etc.. Once the whole series is finished you can tidy up all the small inconsitencies between the books or implement foreshadowing for the later books in the earlier books. It only becomes a problem if book1 is published before book2 or book3 is finished but quite frankly, i doubt that this is a reasonable expectation for an currently unpublished author to happen anyway.

Hm. See, I don't usually think about arcs. I mean, I do, but like...I dunno how to explain it. I think I do need to sit down and figure out the overall conflict, though, because while I think the main arc is basically the friendship of Arris and Merek (maybe? I dunno), I don't really think I have an overall conflict...which is probably not a great thing.

I'll definitely sit down and try and focus and think about what I want for the overall story and such. Hopefully I'll be able to do that tonight.

And yeah, obviously there's editing.

As far as publishing goes...honestly, if I publish at all, I think I'm doing self-publishing (if it's possible to do so without getting it up on Amazon and such, though I guess it could at least go up on there) so that I can have enough copies to give/sell to my family/friends/maybe local people but otherwise I don't think I'd do much more beyond that. With the amount of time it takes for me to actually finish writing something (like...I've never really actually finished writing ANYTHING, at least not anything that I would count), I don't think I would write fast enough to really be able to publish anything otherwise (I'd be the next George R. R. Martin! D: which may or may not be a good thing, ha). I think I would also be waiting until I at least had book one edited and edited again and again and had done rewrites and such before I even considered self-publishing.

1. What is most crucial for me is to have an ending. All the projects I've completed had one thing in common: I knew how they ended. I tend to jump into a new story with a handful of characters and a vague idea for a plot and wing it from there, but I need to have some idea how the whole thing ends if there's any hope of me finishing it. A lot of the time the ending is even one of the first things I write. It can change, of course, and usually does because the story inevitably goes off in unexpected directions, but I need to have something that I feel like I'm working toward (without chaining myself to that absolute ending).

Yeah, I'm usually not the greatest at coming up with endings.  :-\ There have been a lot of past projects where I haven't known how I wanted them to end. But sometimes I've gotten lucky and have actually known I wanted them to end. But then I guess I wasn't THAT lucky since I never came close to finishing any of those projects.

I have to come back and reply to this more later 'cause I have to leave for work in a few minutes.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2017, 10:34:17 AM by Jedi Knight Muse »
Current total goal: 25,000
July Camp Goal: 15,000 (4,474=difference needed to get to 15k)

Storms of Magic - Draft 1


*

Jedi Knight Muse

  • A muse that's a Jedi
  • Administrator
  • Master
  • *****
  • 2111
    • View Profile
Re: To plot or not to plot
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2017, 10:59:59 AM »
2. Outline. Yeah, I eschew outlines. I'm a pantser all the way. But what works for NaNo doesn't work so much for a novel I'm putting real, serious work into. So I have to have some kind of outline, even just a minimal one, to use as a guide. For my trilogy, I wrote the entire first draft of the first book without an outline, as well as about a third of the second book. But there I had to stop, because I started editing the first book and changed enough that a lot of what I had written for the second book no longer made sense with the first book. I realized then I'd have to have some kind of outline, if only to keep character and plot arcs consistent.

Hm. Sounds like I definitely need to at least try and come up with a basic idea for the second book, then, and maybe the third, in order to avoid what happened to you, 'cause I don't want to have to stop like you did. 

Quote
As for your book, is the ending still Arris going off to find out more about his heritage? I had assumed that him doing that would be the premise of the second book. So you don't really have no ideas. You have a starting point, at least, unless you've changed how the first book is going to end. I kind of think you would probably be better off just getting the first draft of the current book finished, so that you have a foundation for a trilogy or a series or whatever you eventually want. I think that might help in figuring out subsequent books.

Yeah, that's the plan at the moment. So I guess I DO have an idea, it's just really, really, REALLY vague at the moment and I'm kind of just going o____o 'cause I don't know what going off to find out more about his heritage really means at the moment.

You could be right...but the problem is that since I don't really know what his heritage is or what his going off to find out more about it really means, I think that when I get to the point in book one where he decides to go off and do it, I could end up just kind of skirting through it (aka just vaguely touching upon it just to be able to keep writing). Which, I mean, is fine because that's what edits are for, but I think in order to not drive myself crazy, I'd be better off already having it figured out. Also, I'm imagining a scene where Arris has to tell Merek why/where he's going, so there will be at least some details revealed during that scene, if not even before that point.
Current total goal: 25,000
July Camp Goal: 15,000 (4,474=difference needed to get to 15k)

Storms of Magic - Draft 1


*

Ahryantah

  • Journeyman
  • ***
  • 101
    • View Profile
    • Multiple Universe Theory
Re: To plot or not to plot
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2017, 06:18:53 PM »
Quote
You could be right...but the problem is that since I don't really know what his heritage is or what his going off to find out more about it really means, I think that when I get to the point in book one where he decides to go off and do it, I could end up just kind of skirting through it (aka just vaguely touching upon it just to be able to keep writing). Which, I mean, is fine because that's what edits are for, but I think in order to not drive myself crazy, I'd be better off already having it figured out. Also, I'm imagining a scene where Arris has to tell Merek why/where he's going, so there will be at least some details revealed during that scene, if not even before that point.

Yeah, I think having a draft of the first book done would help with this. You say you don't really even know what it means for him to go learning more about his heritage, so I think you do have to have some idea of what that heritage is, and put enough of it in the first book that Arris wants to go off searching for more. Have you written much more for the story recently? We can talk some more about where it's going over PM, if you want.


*

Jedi Knight Muse

  • A muse that's a Jedi
  • Administrator
  • Master
  • *****
  • 2111
    • View Profile
Re: To plot or not to plot
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2017, 07:25:01 PM »
Quote
You could be right...but the problem is that since I don't really know what his heritage is or what his going off to find out more about it really means, I think that when I get to the point in book one where he decides to go off and do it, I could end up just kind of skirting through it (aka just vaguely touching upon it just to be able to keep writing). Which, I mean, is fine because that's what edits are for, but I think in order to not drive myself crazy, I'd be better off already having it figured out. Also, I'm imagining a scene where Arris has to tell Merek why/where he's going, so there will be at least some details revealed during that scene, if not even before that point.

Yeah, I think having a draft of the first book done would help with this. You say you don't really even know what it means for him to go learning more about his heritage, so I think you do have to have some idea of what that heritage is, and put enough of it in the first book that Arris wants to go off searching for more. Have you written much more for the story recently? We can talk some more about where it's going over PM, if you want.

I have, actually. I'll stick it into a Google doc and send you the link...it'll be all of what I have so far, 'cause other than what was on the library site I'm not sure what you may or may not have read at this point of it. Plus I definitely added some things in the earlier scenes that were in the library.

I tried to work on history timeline things for both Arris and Merek last night. I basically have 0 ideas for Arris beyond the basic facts- he's born, he eventually leaves for Illyria, he eventually meets Merek, he completes his training as a mage guard and he eventually gets accused of murder and put in jail and all that. Merek...basically all I know is all of the scenes I've written for him so far outside of the main story, so basically all of the writing challenge entries I did (except for the very first one where he and Merek were just secondary characters and Amasra was the focus character, 'cause I'm not sure if that's even going to be a thing any more). He was born as the fourth son of his family, he found that he can read an ancient language when he was eight years old, he began studying magic when he was thirteen and he was sent to Illyria at that age, he met Arris in Illyria, he completed his training as a mage guard, and he eventually helped Arris escape from jail.

And then I tried to think of what I could possibly write for the June challenge and pretty much gave up, at least for that moment. And I still have no real ideas for it. 

I think, with the way my brain has been feeling regarding this story, I'm definitely better off holding off on trying to plot for the next book.
Current total goal: 25,000
July Camp Goal: 15,000 (4,474=difference needed to get to 15k)

Storms of Magic - Draft 1