Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reader Questions #1

Q: How have you approached outlining your series? In other words did you give it directions early on OR have you let it find its own way?

Good timing on this question since I've been blogging all about this on the other blog. But for those who don't need that much info, I'm a light outliner. I like to have a solid structure for the major events of the story to give me direction, but then I like to let the story itself happen organically. I like to say I always know where I'm going, but rarely how I'll get there.

I did not have the entire series outlined from the start. I didn't even have more than a general idea of books two and three until I needed more detail for my agent. She had to give potential editors a synopsis of those books when she was submitting the novel. I did a two-page synopsis for book two, and a half page synopsis for book three.

I knew the bare bones for books two and three, but until I wrote the books, I didn't know how those key pieces would play out. For example, I know "Nya defeats the bad guy" but no clue how. Or "Nya uncovers the truth about X" and I just point her at the guy keeping the secret until she finds it.

Connections always show up as I write and my subconscious does a pretty good job and putting things together. I also uncover things as I write, then have to go back and put in the groundwork for it. (which is actually a post planned next week on the writing blog).

I find it's a lot easier to have a firm understand of my characters and their goals (and motives) and then putting them in a situation and seeing what they do. They always come up with more interesting things that what I think up.

So yep, you were right, there is a balance of the two.


  1. Janice,

    Thanks for the response. It sounds like we have similar "organic" approaches and characters who like to call the shots :) Thanks for the detail and heads up about presenting a synopsis if I ever reach the potential editor stage. I'll make sure to watch for your post next week. Many thanks! Have a great weekend!