I'm not sure Lewis Carroll had any idea what was going to happen on the next page as he wrote the Alice books
Yay! I can upload images again. The one at left makes me want to read the book. :)
You may have noticed that I promised imminent release of the first chapter of The Far Beyond (to my readers group, that is). The reason I haven't done so already is that it's not finished. I have been working on it, but mainly not writing per se. Mostly what I've been up to is fleshing out the story in my head. This is solid practice--I produced The Just Beyond the same way.
In my mind, planning is critical. It would be fun to make everything up as you go, and many authors have tried it. I'm not sure Lewis Carroll had any idea what was going to happen on the next page as he wrote the Alice books. :) But as a general rule, you can't craft a great novel without planning. The Just Beyond has several twists and revelations whose impact depends on setting them up earlier. And, of course, the book as a whole sets up the rest of the trilogy.
I'm not saying the author should never experience surprise at where the story leads them or add unexpected content that occurs to them midway through. These situations embody the magic of writing. :) But planning the whole thing in outline or chapter form is the most powerful way to make the story coherent and convincing.
It took two years to flesh out The Just Beyond before the writing started, and the idea for it first occurred to me about six years before that. Writing The Far Beyond will take much less time--I expect to have it done by the end of this summer. Partly that's because I learned a lot about how to write fast and efficiently in doing the first book, but even more it's because of the planning and note-making I did for it while writing its predecessor. It's all good, it's ALL good. :) - Mark