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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

Keeping track and adding notes

Keeping track

In an ideal world, you would have the entire saga planned so well that you will never ever lose your place or change your mind. Oh, blue moon. Quel Surprise!

Like with any story writing, you MUST leave yourself room to be able to expand, change direction, add previously unplanned subplots and so on, but a longer work makes this harder to get right, not easier.

A lot of writers like the free flowing ideal of just writing and writing, discovering the story line through what they wrote last. I have sympathy with this approach, it is fun to do, but it is also a great way of shooting your story in the foot. 

The compromise is vigilance. You MUST train yourself to question what you write and to keep track of what you said. Always have your note pad open and always stop and write down what you just thought of.

"It was a lovely sunny day (check what time of year it is), but was still cold because it was winter (check what you call your seasons), or snow time as the kids call it.  Frank walked into the pub and banged his head on a low beam (note: in this area the people are short). The pub was called the Low Man (write down the name of the pub in the notes) and was run by a man called John Short (Would Frank make an ill advised crack? Check profile..)"

You get the idea.  Now, I am not suggesting your keep stopping to check everything, but once you have had your few pages of free flowing narrative/dialogue, stop, read back, check your facts and add notes to the right bits of paper. To repeat, Saga's are long, things can easily come up again and you don't want to be trying to search through acres of chapters to find out what you called that bloody pub. 

I had that exact problem yesterday.  Two characters walk into a town last visited a couple of hundred years earlier. I wanted to say that they went into a new pub that had been built on the ruins of.... and I hadn't written it down. because it was so incidental at the time. Took me an hour to find the damn name!

Do not try and make the judgement of whether you need to note something down or not, just do it for everything. if you never come back to it, well who cares. If you do, you will love yourself and your reader will think you are wonderfully clever.

Next: Where and When »

  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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