Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's in the details

So, I'm re-reading Deathly Hallows in preparation for the movie this Friday.  I do this every time -- cram the book in one last time so it's fresh in my memory.  That way when they screw things up in the movie, I can still explain to my sister what's going on. (She hasn't read the books. She's one of those Twilight lovers -- and I try to explain how much more amazing HP is, but she doesn't listen.)

Anyway, back on topic.

Reading again, right.  Okay, so as we said in the comments yesterday -- reading this series, any of the books really, leaves me in awe of the amount of planning JKR did.  The way she wove those books together was masterful.

What I'm trying to grasp from this reading is how to effectively plan a series.  Did she sit down and plot out all seven books at the onset?  My gut says no.  She could have, but I don't know.

Either way, how do you handle such a massive undertaking?  Did she sit down to write the second book and go, "Hold on!  Let me go back to book one and see what I can pull in here to make the story richer."

How many of you have written, or are writing, series books?  Two, three, more?  What do you do to make sure details are carried from one book to the next?  Do you intentionally leave clues in the first book to feed the second, or do ideas stem from what you wrote and blossom in the later editions?

My current WIP is heading the way of two or three books, and though they've been in the back of my mind stewing on plot and characterization, I haven't sat down and really planned anything.  I've got a few  notes scribbled here and there, but that's all.

Tell me, lovelies, what do you do?  Or what would you do if you found your WIP couldn't be told in just one book?


LTM said...

I've started what I envision becoming a 4-book series and I found that little things would sort of appear that stuck in my head. And I'd think--hang onto that b/c it could come back and be useful...

don't know about JKR, but I bet she didn't know it was going to be what it became when she started. So it's possible she did something similar. :D

Pam Harris said...

I'm taking a stab at potentially writing a series with my NaNo project. I have so many ideas that I figure it would make since being told over the course of two or three books. I think the key thing is to make sure your main character shows growth, and to also develop fresh conflicts that he/she can overcome. Of course, you have to make sure the conflicts don't just come out of left field. I'm no where near an expert of this, btw--still learning. :)

Claire Dawn said...

She didn't plot them all from the outset. But she says she always knew there were 7 books. I guess anyone who grew up in the British system knew there'd be seven books. lol.

I'm always amazed by people writing series. I mean when Book 1 is already out, and you're writing book 3, it's not like you can go back an edit. You have to work with what's in Book 1. And, a lesson I pick up from watching entire tv series in a weekend is this: people may not see the mistakes when the book comes out, since it's been a year since the last one. But they have to stand the test of being juxtaposed. If I sit down one week and decide to reread the entire HP franchise, it has to fit.

PS, I plan to reread the series when I go home for Christmas.

Sarah Enni said...

From what I have read, JKR spent 5 years writing the first book, and plotting out the following 6 books. She knew what was going to happen the whole time. I'm sure there were details that surprised her, but JKR knew what was up, who was going where, and when, the whole time.

She's a BAMF of organization.

Alicia Gregoire said...

My NaNo projects are a series. I have tons of notes that say "add this to book one" or "check with book one."

I'm not anal enough to sit and plot out a whole series at once. I'd get so much more done if I was.