The sequel to The Seventh Sons of Sycamore is more or less outlined. Having done this process a few times by now, I have some observations.
I find it helpful to divide the book up into Beginning, Middle, and Ending. The Beginning needs a very detailed scene by scene breakdown. It sets the mood and is the blueprint for the first draft. I’ll keep that up as long as I can but inevitably, things start to get a bit fuzzy. There are some key events that I know need to happen and I’ll put placeholders for them in the outline. However, I expect to end up with 2 to 3 times the number of Middle scenes than I currently know about. Plot threads will just develop as I write the draft and things will need to carry their natural momentum.
I’ve discovered that I like to know the Ending in advance, more or less. The thing is, whenever a story is halfway written, I always end up reworking the ending to make it fit better with the story as it has actually developed. I was racking my brain on some things until I decided that it’s okay to be less specific at the end. That stuff will work itself out, and I always have a pausing point mid-project where I make sure the outline is final.
By rough estimates, the sequel will be 85 thousand words. That seems a minimum and something I will shoot for in the draft. If that holds I can easily see the the final surpassing 90k. It’s likely this will be my longest novel to date, although I don’t intend to go into six-digits.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of my failures. I also wanted to have Project Zero outlined, but I haven’t really gotten anywhere with it. I allowed this sequel to take up all my time. Secretly, I’ve been working with my cover designer as well, but more on that later.