1. Alexz7272
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    Alexz7272 Member

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    Outlining first and second book simultaneously?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Alexz7272, Nov 11, 2014.

    So I started loosely outlining the 'first' book. I had an awesome idea and wrote the beginning, now expanding and planning out what events will take place. While halfway through doing that I had what I like to think was another awesome idea for a sequel to the 'first' book. Is it ill advised or bad luck to outline or plan a sequel before you've actually written the first? I tend to have an issue with pacing myself by getting too excited for all the ideas I have, so my loose outlining was intended to help me pace. Apparently it is somewhat working cause I have been able to plan ahead. Should I try to loosely outline the 'second' book as well, or just write down the essential ideas then refocus on the 'first'? I know characters change a lot even from what we think, so do not want to restrict anything! What would you do? Thank you!
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I wrote my two book drafts out all at once (over a couple months). I'm in a different head space though, in each one. So after I finished and polished the story lines a bit I've kept my attention on the first of the two. Each book has a different main character with a transition character between the two stories. And each of the main characters has cameo appearances in the other book and at the end of the second book all the characters are together.
     
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  3. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If you know you're gonna have a sequel or several, it makes sense you take those events into account while writing the 1st one so that you can set them up properly, that is, if there is some over-arching story line that won't be solved in the first book. I don't think it's bad luck or ill-advised, just be careful you don't get sidetracked in planning and forget to do the actual work, writing and editing. :D
     
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  4. Joe King
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    Joe King Member

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    I wouldn't necessarily plan out an entire sequel, I would however right down all ideas that sprung to mind and just make short notes of them. That way they're still there and you'll remember them later on down the track, but at the same time you're not losing focus on the original book and you won't feel tied to the ideas. I've got a ton of ideas written down, but I know where and how I want to finish my first novel, once that has been done I'll be able to go and sort through all of my previous ideas and plan out the sequel.
     
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  5. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    Record key plot points, run a timeline, but to outline the sequel and its subsequent counterpart...I'll save my outlining homely. They are death to the creative process, useful creatures in non-fiction, but a hobble in fiction.

    The imagination is fluid, so to should the storyline be until its laid down in the black and white of the actual draft. Tenet point and a working chronology have proven much better tools for navigating the creative process. It is the inherent adaptability that makes us human and makes characters much more rounded.

    People cling to the rigidity of the outlines, stunting growth. A situation doesn't pan out, a character says something off script, you've written yourself into a corner...What does the outline say to do? It doesn't? Why? It doesn't bend or adapt, it just merely is, an oak in a tsunami. Mighty yes, but the power and unpredictable nature of the creative process is a force to reckon with. It can break an outline.

    Choose your tools to fit the project. Don't force your project to fit around your tools. Flow.

    - Darkkin, the Tedious
     
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  6. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just write both novels. I thought of just outlining my second novel to make sure I had all the appropriate details in the first. I didn't want to restrict what I could write in the second or regret that I hadn't written the first in some other way. The trouble is, you never know what you're going to write until you've written it. You may have some new good ideas that you want to include, or you may fall short of your word-count target and have to think of new scenes to write.

    I use section titles, mostly to keep track of what I've written, as well as to plan new sections to write. This list of titles develops and changes as I write and I often change their order.

    It's easy to underestimate just how big a book is. I usually write about 500 words under each title, so when I've finished, my contents table has about 160 entries. I don't have all these titles when I start writing but develop them as I go along, thinking ahead, about new sections I could write.

    You can't be sure you have the first book correct, until you at least have the first draft of the second.
     
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  7. Christine Ralston
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    Christine Ralston Active Member

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    Writing out and revising the outline for both books as you go along might help you with maintaining continuity.
     

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