One question I often receive about my writing is if I plot extensively or fly by the seat of my pants. The answer is both. I’d like to say I have a consistent method – in most other areas of my life I thrive on consistency – but not in my writing. I think this is because each story takes on a life of its own, has certain demands that the author must accommodate. The first draft of ARTICLE 5 I wrote with no plot constraints in mind at all, I let the story take me where it wanted to go, and this was truly delightful because through that process I learned all kinds of things about Chase and Ember I never would have guessed.
The manuscript turned out to be about 550 pages.
By the time I was planning BREAKING POINT I realized I needed a road map. Books in a series are difficult because not only do you have to have a plot and character arc for each installment, you need to keep in mind the overarching themes of the series – the final goals. So in Book 2 I plotted a little more.
And now I’m in Book 3, and I’ve realized I have to plot like crazy in order to stay on track. See, here’s another tricky thing about a trilogy: it has to end. All those loose ends? They’ve got to be tied up (unless you’re purposefully leaving them untied). Chase and Ember still surprise me, but ultimately, they need to grow and change and adapt – to integrate what they’ve learned through two bookfuls of experience into their current actions, so that they can find at least a little closure when the final bell is rung.
For me this means a lot of notes:
And stress baking (which is when I do most of my thinking). But not just because writing a series is difficult. Because finishing a series is sort of sad. With as far as Chase and Ember have come, I’m not sure I want to say goodbye.