What are some good techniques or ways to set up for a series?

If I wanted to write a set of different stories within the same setting, many using the same characters in different situations, what would be some good things to include or techniques to use in the very first story?

Writing | 👁 1187 | Posted 2018-03-07 | Share on Facebook | Twitter | Google+

| Modified: 2018-03-07 | Author:


Oberon_Swanson 2 years ago

The number one best thing a series can ask for is an awesome first book. "Save" very little for later. Part of the reason a first book in a series is best when you can sorta read it as a stand-alone is just in case your book does not prove popular enough to become a series. But the biggest reason is that complete experience acts as a sort of proof of concept for you as the author and your series. People have a great experience reading it and say "more please." Kinda like how if you want to cook a meal so good that people want seconds, you COULD give people small portions so they have to get seconds if they want to be satisfied at all. Or you could just cook some damn delicious food people can't help but want more of. Put careful consideration into which characters you are going to have interacting with each other heavily. Even if it will take a long time for them to come together, see if you can lay the groundwork for them having an interesting dynamic early on. One of the most important things in a series is having great characters and watching them all bounce off each other throughout the story. If you have characters who people will watch doing ANYTHING, then baby you got a stew going. Think of content you can leverage for later books. Settings and characters you can reuse. For instance in my current series, an interesting marketplace in book 1 is a setting for a major fight scene in book 2. Because I spent some time describing it in detail in book 1, when we arrive there again in book 2 it does not need much description so the fight scene does not get bogged down. Nobody is going to be particularly excited to see that place again, until the fight starts and they realize how it's a great setting for a fight scene in my fantasy world. Do a few things that will hype people up for future books. When they read what the next book is going to be about, they shouldn't be thinking "hm, I guess it could be interesting, I liked the first book so I'll trust the author." I mean that's good. But they should be thinking "Fuck that sounds so awesome, can't wait." A good ongoing series is all about hype and then delivering on that hype. It's not that hard to hype things up, people love that stuff. In the first book, have a mysterious place where you only meet one character that comes from there. Make that a major setting in book 2. Although I do say "save nothing" make sure you have room to grow. Expectations increase as a series goes on. People expect each book to be a little bigger, a little better. I would not overload your first book with worldbuilding and then have sleeker books later in the series. Likewise I would not put your most epic possible plot in the first book. Just like you don't put the climax at the beginning of your book your series needs to have a climax it can end with even if it also starts with a bang. Plan things so each book can be pretty close to complete. Not necessarily readable as a stand-alone, but it should have at least one very major storyline that comes to a climax and is resolved within that book.

jarmzet 2 years ago

You could write all of them before publishing any of them in case you think of something later that needs to change in the earlier parts.

EverReverie 2 years ago

I finished my first book, still in the editing process. What I'm doing is pre planning for future books in this current book. That basically means that side characters are given as much colour as possible so new stories can be drawn from them in the future. I plan to write a series, but it won't have one story. There will be some of the same characters from each book, but every book would be about a different story told within the same world. Also, each subsequent book would draw upon the events from the previous. The stories won't take place in isolation. I feel doing it like this offers more options with an endless supply of "this could happen", depending on the characters and stories told. Tldr: write colourful characters with backgrounds and history (you don't have to plan EVERYTHING out, but give them enough intrigue so as to draw natural stories out of them. Also, I think the readers would like other books focusing on side characters from a previous book, especially if the characters are interesting).

mattagainsttheworld 2 years ago

Make notes about the characters and settings as you go along. I'm working on the second book of a series I'm writing and I didn't make notes about the characters in my first book, so now I have to go back through the first book looking it all up to make sure everything matches. It was just complete laziness on my part and now I'm paying for it, so don't make the same mistake I did.

SamOfGrayhaven 2 years ago

Loose ends are really useful. They're a good way to world-build while hinting at things to come. You'll want to address / answer some of them as you progress through the series while leaving others for the reader to wonder about.

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