Marlinor Archives, My Writing:

Planning a Trilogy

While Mirror Image is out being read by someone else, I find myself with some time to spare so I thought I’d plan the planning of a fantasy trilogy I want to write. The first book is pretty much fully formed in my head and I know the characters extremely well, so this shouldn’t be too difficult to do. However, being a planner, I’ve decided to make a list of the things that need to be done as I think it will make the process easily overall.

This is my current list (which is subject to change):

1. Work out the general concept of the trilogy as a whole. (This includes a one sentence blurb, a theme and a premise; and the threads that will stretch across the three books.)

2. Use the three act structure to plan my point plots, inciting incident, and the general structure of the entire trilogy.

3. Work out the general concept of book 1.

4. Use the three act structure to plan my point plots, inciting incident, and the general structure of book 1.

5. Work out the general concept of book 2.

6. Use the three act structure to plan my point plots, inciting incident, and the general structure of book 2.

7. Work out the general concept of book 3.

8. Use the three act structure to plan my point plots, inciting incident, and the general structure of book 3.

9. Work on the character profiles for all three books. (This includes their storylines and motives.)

10. Finalise world building aspects. (This includes maps and names of cities, towns, rivers, mountains, etc; religion and superstition; clothing and hair styles; living standards, including homes, food, way of life; modes of transport; medicines available; time structure; enemies and allies; politics; etc.)

11. Create a system for the use of magic (includes who can use it and what it will cost them).

12. Finalise all research material required.

13. Plan how many chapters I’ll need for each book and position the abovementioned plot points accordingly. (This includes having a rough idea what will happen in each chapter, what the conflict is and what each character’s motivation is.)

14. Write a detailed history in short story format. (This will include narrative and dialogue and will give me a firm idea of what “went before”.)

15. Start writing book 1.

16. Write a synopsis for books 2 and 3.

17. Submit a proposal for all three books.

I’m not sure if the order is what I’ll work to. At this stage I just want a list of what I intend to do. I will cross them off the list as I do them. Everything for book 1 will be done without a lot of stress, but I can’t say the same about the two other books. We’ll see what happens there.

No matter what happens. I want to have three solid plans for three solid books before I start writing a single word. I want to know the world, the characters and the plots inside out. And when I have all that planned then, and only then, will words appear on the page. My intention is to write, edit and polish the first book and then find a publisher for it. I will not write the other two books until the first book is sold. That might sound strange, but I feel there’s no point slogging myself to death on one project if I can’t find a home for the first book. When the first book is sold, then I will write the other two books. At least I’ll have in-depth plans in place for both of them…and if book one is with a publishing house then I’ll have the added incentive of publication to spur me on.

This begins the planning of a trilogy called The Kingdom of Marlinor.

Edited on 22 June 2009 to include last two points.

Edited on 30 June 2009 to include the creation of magic.

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