I’ve written two and a bit books of my sci-fi series. I’m knee-deep in edits for the second while sporadically planning/writing the third… and I keep getting Ideas.
Ideas with a capital I. Ideas for the rest of the series. Ideas for the next ten or fifteen books. I can see the first sentence of book four and the last few paragraphs of the book twelve-ish. I can see which universe that scene with the midnight swim takes place in. I know who’s going to marry who; I know who’s going to have romance snatched out from under their nose. I can tell you who gets pregnant and what they name the baby.
I can tell you who dies and who lives. (At this stage of planning, at least. A writer’s mind is a terribly indecisive thing.)
But this is all in my head. And I’m starting to struggle: I need to get it out, and I don’t know how.
Do I dive deep into the bowels of Scrivener, trusting the fickleness of a single computer program with all my notes and research and complexities of subplot? How would I even get all these ideas on to the screen, let alone put them in some kind of order?
Do I hearken back to my high school days, sit down with a ream of refill and a biro that’s half out of ink and try and scribble everything down? The thought of being stuck with a hundred sheets of flimsy lined paper, thoughts jotted down in no order, chapter 4 of book 12 next to something that will only come in play in book 18, half a line of unrelated dialogue beside three paragraphs of the most important character motivation in the entire series… it’s horrifying.
Do I go on with what I’ve been doing until now? Keep scraps of various scenes and my full manuscripts in Scrivener, and then in my computer documents have a sub-folder for each book under a single folder for the series, and drop anything I can think of into separate text documents or image files? I’d end up with dozens of different files that I have to trawl through anytime I need to look something up. Urgh.
Do I go the index cards route? Buy a few hundred-packs, scrawl a single character introduction or event or line of significant dialogue on each card, and then try and put them into some kind of logical order? Wouldn’t want to have the Crowning before they even enter the Kingdom, after all. But then that’s hundreds of individual moments to straighten out; even the thought of it is overwhelming.
Overwhelming… but it might be my best bet. I’ll let you know.