Years ago, when I was desperate to become the next ghost writer for Warren Murphy & Richard Sapir's awesome DESTROYER series, I wrote my own little series of adventure novels- by the seat of my pants. I took a great idea, sat down with paper and pencil and just wrote. That meant a lot of times where I was baffled.
I eventually gave up on being a novelist and tried screenplays. It was there that I learned about the Treatment. A swell super-synopsis of sorts where you gave out all the details of your story, but without much prose.
It changed me.
Now I plan my novels (all three of them) out ahead of time. And man, does it help. I can sit down and write and write and write until my hands & wrists hurt- or the family needs me for something. Or it's time to go to work at the day job. Or the dog needs to go outside. Or something- you get the idea.
I dont' get writer's block when writing a novel. I can just keep on going because I already know how the story is going to end. I'm just filling in details. Sure, along the way I might thinkof something new, and have to stop and adjust my outline/treatment. Or worse, I get ideas for the NEXT book.
And that is becoming a problem. In my head, for example, Book 3, Blood and Stone is done. I know how the story goes. And I've already started outlining Book 4, Shades of War. But I can't start writing that novel yet, until I finish Blood and Stone. And it's killing me. Worse, in the back of my mind, ideas are popping up for Book 5.
Honestly, I don't see how series writers can stay focused.
About 20,000 words to go on Blood and Stone.