Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why Not Four?

I don't want to wade back into the outlining vs. not-outlining question, but I'm curious ... how does everyone else do it? 

The project I'm working on now has many, many characters, plus magic, plus 141 individual dragons, long-standing families, several groups vying against each other, etc., etc., etc. I've got myself a black, three-ring binder with page dividers. And I'm slowly building it out -- profiles of all the characters, spell lists and components, dragon profiles, settings and maps, family histories. It's a lot of information, but my goal is to basically write a reference book about my story, and then start the actual writing. Or maybe write in bits and pieces as I'm going along.

I know how this sounds. Ick, right? The opposite of fun and creative. More like chemistry homework. But I really can't think of any other effective and efficient way to go about a project like this. So I'm really curious ... how would other people do it? How would you approach a story like this?

And another thing -- what's the deal with series always having odd numbers of books? Why does it have to be a trilogy, or five books, or seven books or even thirteen books? Why not four? The reason I ask, of course, is that I've got four books planned in this series, but I wracked my brain last night and I couldn't think of a single series with four books. Not one. Um, hello? Don't people like even numbers? 

Somebody, please help me out on this one.

6 comments:

Jude Hardin said...

Or maybe write in bits and pieces as I'm going along.

That's what I would do. I can imagine becoming so obsessed with that three-ring binder that the first book never gets written. :)

I'm not sure why not four. There's something archetypal about threes and sevens, I think, so maybe that's part of it.

LurkerMonkey said...

Bastard archetypes ...

That's funny about getting obsessed with the binder. I can see it happening, that someone would just get bored with the whole thing, but I suppose that's a risk I'm willing to run. Anyway, it's kind of fun.

Mark Terry said...

I just wing it, but like I mentioned before, this is harder with the SF novel I'm working on because there are so many new concepts and backstories to deal with.

spyscribbler said...

I tend to write in SuperNotecard. I write one scene per card, and it automatically creates an outline in the sidebar as I go along.

After dealing with the mess of three series of pantsing, I now take scrupulous notes as I go along. I don't pre-create a bible, but I now create it as I go along. That way nothing contradicts.

It looks like Charlaine Harris's Harper Connelly series is going to be 4 novels.

LurkerMonkey said...

Spy,

I've never used that Notecard program ... It sounds like something I'd like.

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