Jenny asked Michael J. Sullivan:

When writing the Riyria series, did you have the big picture in mind or did it just come along naturally to you as you wrote? Do you write an outline first or wing it all willy nilly?

Michael J. Sullivan Hey Jenny,
Thanks for asking. I'm a combination of outliner and "discovery" writer. I did have most of the "big parts" thought about before I started anything but then as I wrote each book ideas or concepts would come to me so that would take things in a different direction. I always update my outline so I know where I'm heading, but it is a combination of both.

Originally I planned for this to be a five book series, but as I was writing I realized there was too big of a jump between Book #2 Avempartha and Book #4 The Emerald Storm so I had to add Book #3 Nyphron Rising to introduce some key characters and show the progression of them. Arista really changes a great deal over the course of that story and I needed to take time to develop the relationship between Amelia and Modina.

As I approached the last book, I had two or three different endings, all of which would have been "fine" but none were "great." I tossed and turned on it for a long time then my mind finally connected the dots and I knew EXACTLY how it should end. This required me to go back and make some adjustments in earlier books (add scenes, characters, threads) and then weave them throughout, but this is one of the advantages about writing the whole series before publishing any of the books, it allows me to sprinkle those key things and add some foundation work where necessary.

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