Outlining a Series

Thank you to Tony Jones at The Craft of Words for hosting my blog post: Outlining a Series.

Because plotter or pantser, you tend to need some kind of outline when you’re writing a series:

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Outlining a series

While The Copper Witch is not my first novel, it is the first series I have ever written. As a pantser (someone who tends to ‘fly by the seat of their pants’ while writing) this has proven to be a special challenge—namely because I have a hard, hard time sticking to outlines. While this isn’t a big deal when it comes to writing one book, sticking to some sort of outline becomes more important when the ending of one book affects the plot of the next one.

So how do you stick to an outline when you aren’t the type of writer who likes them?

1. Outline only the Major Plot Points

One of the major problems I have with outlining comes from the fact that once I have written things down, I lose interest in the story—it’s already written down, more or less, so why should I take the time to write it again? I actually write best when I don’t know the end of the story and want to see what happens. Since that’s not entirely a possibility with a series, I’ve managed to come to a happy medium with knowing the ending, but only vaguely. My main character has to end up in X city with Y person, but how exactly she gets there, doesn’t matter so much.

Only writing down the parts that absolutely have to happen for Book 2 to still be on track allows for some creativity in the actual writing process while not completely writing yourself into a corner when it comes to move on.

2. Work in Paragraphs

Or at least don’t feel like you need to follow any certain outlining structure. When I first started trying to outline, I went straight to the letter and Roman numeral structure I was taught to use in high school outlining papers. The problem? All of a sudden what had been fun (figuring out where a story was going to go) started to feel like school-work. By simply…. Read More

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2 thoughts on “Outlining a Series

  1. Tony Jones says:

    Jessica,

    No problem at all and thanks for the link. Your post has lots of insight into the difference between a novel and a series which I am sure will interest lots of people.

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