My first novel, Undermountain, started as a bit of a panster novel. That is, I wrote it by the seat of my pants. I had a general idea of where I was headed, but not exactly where I was going. World building? I had volumes of that. Story? Well, not so much.
There came a time, somewhere after NaNoWriMo ended, that I had to sit down and figure things out. It required some rewriting and a bunch of outlining. I outlined it several times. Once in Excel (dumb), once in Word (useless), and finally in OmniOutliner (brilliant).
Once I finally got the book written and published, I turned my focus to book #2 in the series. I envisaged the whole story being a trilogy, but I only had the most general idea of how things were going to wrap up. I had all the backstory and the super-high-level plot in mind, but not the nitty gritty of where my characters needed to go and what challenges they were going to face.
I’ve committed to outlining the next two books all at once. I also think I’m going to write straight through to the end of book three. That way the whole thing will fit together perfectly. At least, that’s the plan.
I’m quite confident in where the story is going, and I haven’t hit any real roadblocks yet. In fact, I’ve got some big action planned. I kind of feel bad for my characters.