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continuous stories

I'm reading through [His Dark Materials], and it makes me wonder yet again just how much stories that are split up into multiple volumes/episodes are planned out from the beginning.

I mean, after reading Dragon by Steven Brust, i emailed him and asked him since he had some detail as to the strategy of S'yang Stones in the book, did he know how it was played? Did he have rules? He emailed me back and said, No, i can picture the game and how it works, but i'm making up a lot as i go along.

Brust is good at that - having a basic story structure that he stretches over a few books whist improvising a lot of the details and even some of the outcomes on the fly. And i wonder about series like The Belgariad, or shows like 24, or Trigun... how much of those details were planned out from the beginning? how much was made up in the middle of the process, and how did those things possibly affect the overall arc?

it's one area where i think music and stories aren't quite analagous. I'm not sure i know of any musical works that have a Plan where some single idea or motive spans multiple works of a composer as a "set". The closest thing would be, say, multiple movements of an opera or symphony, but that's not the same.

I'll have to think about it more when i'm not so tired.


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March 2017