I have been working on a first draft of a theological science fiction novel. I am about 1/4 of the way done. I have an idea for how it is supposed to end, plus much insight into the middle point (but not totally fleshed out). However, I am having issues getting from the first plot point to the middle point (because I need the middle point to define backstory for earlier in the draft). Plus, I have no ideas how to get from the middle point to the ending. I have about 33,000 words written so far. I am wondering how to plan the work going forward, namely: does it make sense to split the effort into two novels? And, if so, do you completely plan the first novel before moving on to the sequel, or does content in the sequel need to be developed much further to facilitate writing the first novel?

Also, in other words, does it make sense to reverse outline the original book from ending to beginning, or just make the midpoint the endpoint of a first book, and reverse outline from there? See https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/should-you-outline-backwards/.


1 Answer 1


Logical End Point:

This can work either way, but the key is to end the first story at a good, logical spot so it can exist as its own book, not just “the first part of the whole story.” As a reader, I hate when an author has a series, and the story ends leaving me with no resolution. You are never sure a second book will even get published.

I had a similar problem, although I had written the whole thing first. My beta readers felt it should be broken into parts so the individual ideas could stand up on their own. I found a logical point where I could have a complete story (including climax), thus breaking the story into manageable parts.

But this fortunately exposed a weakness in the story. The first half was slow, and while it supported the final end, it needed to come to life on its own. I added 40 pages of new content and the whole thing took on new complexity.

So you don’t need to have every detail finalized, although it would be helpful to tie all the parts together. But publishers may not know if a sequel of yours will sell, and other authors have told me it’s more publishable to have a story that can function as a standalone-but-intended-as-a-series book.

I would want the outline of the whole thing, because I love tying all the parts of a story together, and it makes for smoother world building. Or you can keep writing and plan to break it up later (but be prepared for revisions).

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