MakayK asked G. Norman Lippert:

When you write do you use some kind of venn diagram? I've tried to do that before but I always feel kind of scatterbrained when I do, if that makes anysense. If you do, what method? I also love that you made a whole other series that connects to the Harry Potter series. I think I just found another favorite series to start reading :)

G. Norman Lippert I don't plan my books very much, actually. At least, not compared to other authors I know. My detractors would not be surprised to know that I approach each of my novels sort of like the most amateur hiker approaching a mountain-climb. I bring almost no gear, not much of a plan, and almost no intention other than to just get to the top of that mountain.

But I do make notes along the way. Here's what I keep track of as the story develops:

1) A character list. Just add names (and necessary characteristics) to it as I go.

2) A fluid plot outline.

It's that second one that really matters. The outline might start out as simple as (spoilers for those who haven't read "Hall of Elders' Crossing"!)

I. James discovers a plot to resurrect Merlin to start a war against the Muggles.
II.James fails interestingly to stop the plot.
III. Turns out Merlin is a decent bloke, and helps the good guys defeat the bad guys.

That's it. With that (maybe!) I start writing, just having fun with it, exploring, letting the characters do their thing. As I go, I'll add new details and steps to the plot outline ("Muggle reporter spying on Hogwarts! Why? Part of Merlin plot to reveal magical world!").

Eventually, though, I do reach a point where the outline has to be fleshed out a bit better-- all the elements need to be put in order and connected. This takes some time. But the important thing is that I DON'T do that until the story has gotten some momentum and developed a bit of it's own life.

Then, as I get back to the writing, I highlight the bits of the outline that I've written. That's just my way of noting that I've covered that bit so I know what needs to still be worked in.

That's it.

So, my general approach to writing can be summed up this way: a lot of people sit around the base of the mountain, planning their route, packing their gear, deciding what kind of tent they need for base-camp, hiring guides, and getting generally freaked out by that huge, imposing mountain towering over them.

Other people just start climbing and gather what they need as they go.

There is value to a happy medium between the two, but don't become the one sitting at the bottom, surrounded by gear, buried in planning, and terrified to begin the ascent.

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