For my first blog post I thought I’d discuss my process for plotting out the interplay of storylines that will flow throughout the series. Below is the spreadsheet I’ve started, and still remains very much a work in progress. Down the left are the names of all the characters. Along the top are the books, extending all the way to 25, the end of my telling. Red indicates when that character dies.
Since Books 4 and 5 will be almost entirely made up by me, this allows me a little time to plot out the rest of the 20 novels that will tell what most of us recognize as the classic Arthurian legend. What I’m doing right now is going through summaries of Le Morte D’Arthur and the Vulgate Cycle and writing down the names of every character that has a part to play that interacts with the others, when they appear, when major events happen, and when they die. This way I can plan the flow of the entire series and have an idea what is coming for each character, so I can start to build toward it in earlier books and form their characters by knowing what is coming for them down the line. This is very helpful to me as I want the series to be very tightly plotted and avoid that nightmare situation where I have to say “Well actually, ten years ago THIS hapened, but I didn’t tell you about it til now because, ummm, well….”
I’ve actually already had that happen where I had to go back to Book 3 and add that Uther conquered King Claudas, because that sets up Claudas’ enduring enmity for the remainder of the series… and it’s situations like that I want to avoid.
This is actually just one tab of a huge overall spreadsheet… I have one for each book, one plotting the new characters I’ve introduced, and one, largely unfinished as of yet, that gives the ages and mental/emotional state of every character as they move through the series. This one will really help me with that one, as I need to have a big overview of all the plot events and what happens when to begin to more specifically imagine the life stages of our characters as they experience these events, and live with each other for decades, find themselves aging and their perspectives on life changing.