1. Daemantalo Nyrin
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    Daemantalo Nyrin New Member

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    Are nine books too much in order to create a series?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Daemantalo Nyrin, May 11, 2014.

    Okay, I have a huge problem here. I've spent 5 months plotting and even writing some key scenes to add to my storyline. In total, I have nine books plotted out and planned just with following the same character, over the course of three to four years in story time. The stories will be told from the third-person prospective.

    So, I ask, would that be way too much? Of course, the books themselves are aimed to be around 50,000-75,000 words each. Plus, there's always going to be something different going on within the story to keep readers interested. Thoughts? Opinions?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    One thing I've seen in my research is that publishers, when picking up first time novelists, want manuscripts 70,000+ words. So 50,000 - 75,000 is cutting it close. So instead of writing 9 62,500 word books (I just did an average for that number), write 7 80,300 word books.

    You can always min/max the length of plots (Add or remove subplots within to achieve this) to fit the number. But 50,000-75,000 sounds a bit too small in my opinion.
     
  3. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Bjørnar Munkerud Contributing Member

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    Yeah, I'd probably write fewer, but longer books, possibly even making it three rather than seven or nine, but it really only depends on your publisher and in what ways you can form your story into various shapes. If you're hellbent on having it be nine books, you may have to self-publish, e-publish or not publish them at all, if it's that important to you. You could simply split the story into however many volumes you want though (like The Lord of the Rings etc.), but still officially have nine books or whatever numbers works best, as long as it makes sense from a reader's perspective to read them individually and for you to have a suitable title to give each story and/or volume. Simply get to know your publisher's (or others' if you decide to change) requirements and sit down and think about how you can make things works. You are the one who know the story you're writing, so you will probably also know with a little bit of thinking what format makes sense for it.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Is this young adult or adult fiction? Are you planning on self-publishing or going the traditional route?
     
  5. Daemantalo Nyrin
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    Daemantalo Nyrin New Member

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    The genre would be young adult fiction. Today I started to think about it much more and I appreciate the feedback given. I believe a trilogy and more word count in them would make tons of sense. The route I wanted to take was a traditional publishing one. Have too much would be bad anyways. :O Thanks all. I'm still a novice (Only a year of writing) so I just really needed the feedback on this topic. Looks like I've got some planning to do...
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Most traditional publishers aren't going to be willing to take on a series because it's too risky for them. So make sure the first book stands alone (i.e., no major cliffhangers). If your first book does well, then your publisher might consider publishing the other books in the series.
     
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  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    did christie or conan doyle write fewer than 9?

    have paretsky or grafton stopped at 9?

    that said, to set out intending to write a specific number of novels in a series is not really a good idea... publishers will not commit to a series until/unless your first stand alone novel is a runaway bestseller... so, you should be focusing on turning out a first book that will interest an agent and paying publisher, before putting much energy and time into planning a whole series...

    btw, 'young adult fiction' is not a 'genre'... it's a 'market'...

    'genre' is 'mystery/thriller/romance/humor/western and so on...
     
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  8. Cerebral
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    Cerebral Active Member

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    I would just focus on developing the story, instead of actively trying to make a certain number of books. Maybe the story you have in mind requires 9 books to tell--maybe it requires only a single novella. Develop the story first and foremost, I would say.
     
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  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    good point, cerebral...

    daemantalo...
    and don't just develop the story, write the book!... your cart is miles ahead of your horse at this point...
     
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  10. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    im going to keep this short and sweet here, get writing and see where it takes you, follow the plotline (s) and then gauge how many books. i can vouch for this, as my current project initally set out to be one book, now it looks like its going to be three (each at 100k words plus)
     
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  11. john11
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    john11 Member

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    It all depends on how successful the first one is, perhaps you could stat a cult following and it would go on forever like friday the thirteenth
     
  12. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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    Write ONE good one.
     
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  13. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to wonder if you've ever written a novel before. It's very common for new writers to say they're working on a series of x number of books, where x is a fairly large number (five, six, nine, twelve...I think I remember seeing sixteen at one point, too). It's easy to look at the bookshelves (especially the YA section) and see series out the wazoo. But here's the thing--writing just one book is really hard. Especially if it's your first. You don't realize just how many words 80,000 is until you get there. There are some people on this very site who've been working on their first novels forever. It's not hard to get lost/distracted/caught up/bored/etc, but it's really hard to find the discipline to make it to the end. And then, even when you do, you've still got to edit it to perfection, get reader feedback, and edit some more. That's a lot of work, and that's just for a single book.

    Writing is so much more than just 'getting the idea down on paper.' Ideas are easy. Writing is hard. Finding time in the day to set aside and pound out a thousand words...finding someone to read it and be objective about the quality...finding the determination to stick with it even when the excitement's gone...finding the discipline to not let it slip away under the pressures of everyday life...that's where the work is. Not only do you have to stick it out for 80k+ words--they have to be good words, in the right order, and do their job as well if not better than the masters already on the shelves. There are techniques to learn. There are pitfalls to avoid. And that's all to get one book up to snuff. Just think...then you have eight more.

    It's good to have ambition. But know that there's a learning curve, and that your early work is going to lack in a lot of areas as you learn the ins and outs of the craft. It's important to be realistic--people like Stephen King and Jim Patterson can crank out novels by the dozen because they're professional writers who've lived writing for decades. For some people, just finishing a single novel is a lifelong accomplishment. So just write--don't worry about how many books you need for your series. Figure out your process, understand the work that goes into creating a first draft, learn technique and craft. Hopefully you'll stick it out and make it to the end. Then, and only then, should you worry about what comes next. @mammamaia is absolutely right (as usual!)--you're putting the cart before the horse. You can't have a series without the first book, and you can't know what kind of work goes into writing a book without starting to write it.
     
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  14. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Yeah, write the first one and worry about the rest later.
     
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  15. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    For a trilogy, nine books is about right :)
     
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  16. criticalsexualmass
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    criticalsexualmass Active Member

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    I agree with all the above advice, especially this: "Write ONE good book."

    If your rough draft is 100k words, and you wrote a GOOD first draft, your finished product will be 50-60k words most likely. It's good to have lofty goals, but take a breath. Pace yourself.

    Or maybe we are all wrong and you have the experience to know these things. Tell us more about your writing experience.
     
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  17. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Dude, you need to stop planning and start writing. Get one of those books finished before worrying about completing the series. Keep the drafts and ideas, but take it one book at a time. If it's good, that's a green light to write the second.
     
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  18. Man in the Box
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    Man in the Box Active Member

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    GRRM initially planned to write three, then he expanded to four, then five, and finally seven, but is now considering writing an eighth book...
     
  19. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    To put it into perspective, 9×50,000 = 450,000 (almost as long as The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and 9×75,000 = 675,000 (a bit longer than Atlas Shrugged).
     
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  20. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sketch your plot out - then write it. Don't firmly decide how many books you will have in advance until you know how much you can write. I'm working on a first novel - I've sketched a four-part plot that I'm labeling as four books for now, but I don't know how much I will be able to write so it could be as few as one book. Write the story and let the divisions come later. That and getting the FIRST book done is enough of a goal to start.
     
  21. criticalsexualmass
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    criticalsexualmass Active Member

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    remember too that the first book MUST be a stand-alone work if you want a realistic chance to sell. Sure you can break the rule but why make things harder than they already are?
     
  22. Man in the Box
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    Man in the Box Active Member

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    You can setup things for a sequel, though. But the main storyline must be wrapped up.
     
  23. sunsplash
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    sunsplash Bona fide beach bum

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    How do you have any idea how many books it will take to tell the story you want? Planning on paper doesn't give me any idea of length, except for maybe chapters, and even then it changes A LOT as I write...characters/subplots/scenes/etc. being added and eliminated. I could maaaaaybe see an idea expanding to a sequel or trilogy from the beginning but not past that. The first book will dictate where you can/should go and how far...focus on that first, your main idea, and see what's left to expand on after it's completed.
     
  24. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    When I read posts like this I can't help but think the OP is suffering from delusions of grandeur.
     
  25. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    True, True, i think its going to end up a bit of an endless pit to be honest, as ive found myself with another beginning of a trilogy that has the MC of the current project as a minor character... (this shall be interesting)
     

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