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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

Writing the Plot

The Plot

I have found that writing the plot for a saga is different from writing the plot for a  novel, at least it has more stages or layers.

With a novel I am about to publish, the initial plot was two sets of notes (one for the main plot and one for the sub plot) and these I then fleshed out before writing.

With my Saga I had to take a grander view and break it into layers.

Layer 1

This was my overall idea for all the books. Really it is not a plot at all but a description of the time and place in which the saga is set and what I would like to see change because of the influence of the story and the characters.  This is probably the most set-in-stone of all my layers.

Layer 2

This layer takes layer one and breaks it into series and standalone books. This has more detail than the first layer, enough so the plot is discernable and I start introducing important characters and my list of who survives. I also map out a very broad timeline - at least when the books start and finish.

Layer 3

This layer is for the books themselves.  Really, this is my synopsis for each book and is probably three of four pages long.  Although not as set-in-stone as the other layers, concepts introduced here are highly likely to carry on into not just other books in the series but other books in the entire saga.

Layer 4

And now I am down to the chapter breakdowns.  These I write just before I write the chapter itself and I double check all my ideas against all my notes and especially against what I have written in the previous three layers. I write this in a far more chatty style and let my imagination run away with itself and if I introduce anything at this stage which is going to echo down the line, I go and add it to the appropriate parent layer. Copying and Pasting is a wonderful tool!

Next: And Finally, writing the saga »


  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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