For long stories and novels, I don't necessarily write in a linear fashion. In fact, I write in bits and pieces of framework, key lines and setups. Skipping through space and time. Later writing sessions and editing will bring that into coherent, readable story -- we hope! With so many balls juggled in the air at once, I tend to work here and there, and flit around. Of course, that sometimes changes things -- one big chapter is now going to take place one year after originally written. Why? Because otherwise you end up with discrete chapters where Thing is introduced, complicated, and dealt with, all at once. A decent story needs room to breathe, time for things to stew, allow the reader to forget about X, so you can hit them over the head when X (and Y and Q) introduced earlier suddenly blows up and becomes relevant.
Later I'll take big passes through the story, working out continuity and refining the characters. Big problem now is resolving the conflict between making my little forgotten kingdom desperate and downtrodden, yet also steeped in an Old Law of fifteen centuries of sometimes violent tradition -- all without making my princesses either insipid or bullies. You want to feel for them, occasionally want to hit them over the head and yell at them (but of course you can't), but you don't want to be turned off by them.
My princesses can't be pathetic. Even though times are hard, I want the reader to buy into them, maybe even, despite the problems, wish that they had this sort of life outside of our modern busy world. (grin)
Anyway, that's the goal.
And I think I've crossed that Rubicon. There is a novel now -- or novels -- such that if you were to read the incomplete story right now you'd have a sense of what is going on. A beginning. A middle. An end. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Whether my approach and my story works, that's another thing. At this level, I continue in my attempt to write what I call photorealistic prose. This is how the real world works, these are real things and places, to the point where you cannot distinguish between real and made-up.
Research topics include the top restaurants in Copenhagen (Noma's), high end fashion houses in same (Birger Christensen is good enough for Queen Margrete and has a royal appointment logo in its window), best shoe shop (Kassandra) -- I knew watching all those years of Top Chef and Project Runway was going to pay off someday -- it's RESEARCH! -- Swedish champagne (HATT et SÖNER Prestige 2005 Le Grand-Père, about $95 a bottle in the US), the Bang & Olufson Beosystem 5000 sound system, bread and grain production in Norway, plus the effects of global warming on decreasing the wheat quality, Norwegian government elimination of marginal farms, Bodø north of the Arctic Circle in Norway, the Nordland Line to Bodø is the northern end of Norwegian State Railways (only non-electric line), Anna Ancher (Danish painter, 1859-1935), Danish DKK 1000 or 1000 kr. banknotes (2011), The Strand Hotel (NYC), Seat 12A (Southwest Airlines 737-700 in 143 seat configuration -- longest legroom -- my protag is 6'5", her sister is 6'2"), the history of the Little Black Dress, including Audrey Hepburn's iconic Givenchy LBD from Breakfast at Tiffany's, Agora Gallery in SoHo (NYC) and of course, the last elevator to the 86th floor observation deck of the Empire State Building (1:15am).
So... I've crossed the mythical 50% boundary in my estimated 200,000 words for the YA trilogy, subject to change, your mileage may vary. This leaves the shiny counter as:
The Lost Kingdom Project YA Trilogy Version 1.05
For those of you doing NaNoWriMo, which I am not, on 1 November I had reached 58,054 words, so two-thirds of the way through the month, I have added 43,214 to the trilogy, mostly to what will become the first and second books -- the written material for the third is still pretty thin. This doesn't bother me. Also, note that I said "added", not "written", because several thousands of these words would have been written in Novels A, B and C in September and October, and re-purposed in Novel D. In other words, while holding down a day job, I have managed to keep pace or better with the writing goals for NaNoWriMo -- which is why the activity can be such a good trial for writers.
So why am I not calling this a NaNoWriMo? Because I was already in progress on it and usually November is a dead writing month for me, as the Fall Semester heats up. This year? Somehow, even with winter storms, have managed to keep plugging ahead. At any rate, my writing has nothing to do with some mythical writing challenge. I would be doing this even if NaNoWriMo didn't exist. So there.