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C.C. Hogan

Planning a Trilogy or Saga

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Sometimes the best advice is the telling off you give yourself

Getting bogged down in detail

Loads of detail

Trick subtitle this: you will NEVER get bogged down in detail.

You might get swamped by it but that is the fault of how you keep your notes, not how many you have made. You really cannot have too much detail and you will amazed how many of those tiny bits and pieces you actually reuse.

People, real people, have pretty good memories. Most people do remember more or less where they were when they heard a favourite song and do remember the names of their various pets. They even remember names of books they have read and, annoyingly, the plots.

Allow your characters to have good memories and give them things to remember. If you chart the life of your character it is going to be pretty sad if when they are in their eighties they cannot remember anything from their youth, whether or not it was in the tale.  

Likewise, a character who is already old will have memories from before the start of the tale. These may need to be rich and they may have relevance, so make sure you have worked them out properly and do not just throw them into the pot. Remember, as your forward timeline gets longer, so does your backward timeline - the longer your tale, the more your world is affected by its past, including its memories.

Details need not slow you down and I would argue they actually speed you up. Back to our grapes, if you know that your character does not like grapes, the next time they walk into a greengrocers you already know something about that visit without even thinking about it - they ain't going to be buying grapes for themselves. Again, the longer the saga, the more likely the grape issue will come up.

Next: Writing the Plot »


  1. Planning a Trilogy or Saga
  2. Don't Start with a Blank Sheet
  3. Justifying everything
  4. Who Died?
  5. The Neverending Story
  6. Connecting Dots
  7. Don't make notes, write stories
  8. Keeping track and adding notes
  9. Where and When
  10. Getting bogged down in detail
  11. Writing the Plot
  12. And Finally, writing the saga

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