Living Outside The Box Born-Again Techo-Geek Renaissance Man


The Plot Thickens

I've been a fan of multi-book series since I started reading novels. There's something magical about reading story after story with the same characters developing, following along with them, seeing them overcome struggles and hardship. After reading a whole series with the same protagonists, you get attached to them.

But for the writer, stretching out a story across multiple books get increasingly harder the further you go. At least, if you want to keep it interesting.

When I decided I wanted to write a book series, part of me said "Yeah! Let's do this!" and the other part of me said "Oh geez, now I have to write plots for all those books!"

And plotting is something I am loath to do. Yes, I know it's critical, but my brain often spews forth ideas faster than I can capture them. And when I do come up with a great story idea, I tend to not know when to quit, and I hammer it to death, or let it fall apart because I want to cram more stuff in there.

There's a fine balance between "really good story" and "mind-bending psychological train wreck." I want to get as close to that line as I can get without going overboard. And of course, there's the fact that each book needs to be a story in and of itself, and yet still be coherent and open-ended enough to make a broad-reaching story arc.

So, instead of going crazy with the actual plot, I'm going to make the settings and characters pretty outlandish. Because really, the basics of a good story don't change, whether you're writing about a stuffed bear named Pooh, or a gelatinous sentient being from the planet Ooomla. There has to be conflict and resolution. There needs to be character development. There should be something there that makes the reader say "I want to see what happens next!"

To this end, I'm going to use a very basic story outline for the books. By "basic" I mean there's not going to be major plot twists every chapter, and there probably won't be massive dream sequences, flashbacks, paradoxes, and so forth. I mean, I love all those things, but I have to make sure I'm able to see the story all the way through. I don't want to write myself into a corner.

I probably wrote 1000 words just doing outlines last night, and that was a good exercise. I need to work through them until I am 100% solid on them, so I can focus on writing the actual action. November looms large, and I plan to go into NaNoWriMo locked, loaded, and armed for bear.

Or to quote Wreck-It Ralph: "Rootin' tootin' ready for shootin!"

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

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