1. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    How do you divide plot into multiple books?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Lea`Brooks, Jun 17, 2014.

    Hello all!

    I've been working on a fantasy novel for quite some time now. It started very simply and has grown and grown and changed a hundred times. lol I plan to make it into a series, though how many books I want to divide it into hasn't been decided yet. My issue is that I have so many ideas, and I don't entirely know how to map it out.

    Basically, I have family issues, marriages, backstabbing, murder plots, deaths, rescue missions, and so much more. And I can't decide what to put into what book. In easier terms, I can't figure out where one book should end and the next should start.

    What makes a good end point to a novel? I initially wanted to put a lot into the first book. But I worried that would be too much conflict in one novel. So then I thought of ending the first book with a death and make the next book a rescue mission. But if I do it that way, the first book will be pretty boring.

    So how do you split up your plot and still keep each book exciting and interesting? How much conflict is too much conflict? What do you think? :)
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    For me, the most obvious place to end a book is when you wrap up a major plot point. But then again, I don't read very many series, so it would be better to look at actual fantasy series and see how the authors handle this sort of thing.
     
  3. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I almost split my manuscript up into two separate books to add more flesh to it.

    I would have cut it at the first major battle, The Battle of Washington D.C. They enter, pretty much retake the city, then there's a massive betrayal from their own group. I would have ended the first book there, then picked it up again about two weeks after the end of the battle and brought it back with the pot simmering a bit after the betrayal.

    That's about as detailed as I'm going to get with my own personal example, but just find a good cut off point. Then, tailor it to suit as a story ending with a pick up point later down the line. But, when you do this, make sure it still holds a good enough length. My manuscript topped off at 93,000, I'd have to add a lot more flesh to it to divide it into two. If it was 150,000 or more words, I could have done it, but I didn't.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    How does it end? Perhaps that can give you an idea where different sections naturally end.

    I'm writing a duology. The two novels have their own protagonists and take place mainly in two different settings but they are connected by proximity and one character that is in both novels.
     
  5. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    One method I'm using to divide my plot into multiple books is to give my protagonists multiple enemies to overcome and almost as many goals to achieve.

    Each antagonist, or group of antagonists, is the main source of conflict for at least one book. During the course of the saga, the heroes find new allies and develop new skills which help them in overcoming these threats.

    As for which events to put into which book, try to figure out which of the events is the least overwhelming. Put these into the first book, but have something big near the end of it.
    Then make each book progressively tougher for your main characters, so as to aid gradual character development.
    By the end of the series, your heroes will have grown beyond their original personality, but will still have a tough time overcoming their final challenge.

    It may sound formulaic, but when done right it pays off. Just be careful not to re-tell the same story over and over again.
     
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  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is no short or easy answer to your question, especially as you've not even determined the extent of your ideas or overall story arc that might contain them.

    Do you read series? Anything by any authors that have something similar to what you're hoping to write?
    This would be useful to you as you could study how those authors had multiple books within the series, that both stood alone, while advancing the series...having intrigue and struggles that stretch through several books but still work when advanced within separate novels in the series.

    Each novel should be a complete story in itself. Even more difficult would be for a reader to be able to pick up the 2nd or 3rd novel in the series and read it, and enjoy it as much as readers who've read and enjoyed one or more previous novels. Learning this isn't easy. It takes time. If you've done a lot of reading of authors in a series, this will be easier, as you'll just have to re-read, take notes as you go, consider the structure and plotlines they include, and how they remind/keep a veteran reader of the series up to speed and advance the story and keep it interesting and moving, while initiating newer readers.

    If you're happy with not working to allow a reader to pick up midstream in some manner, then your task will be a little easier, but you'd still need to structure each novel in the series to be a satisfying read and still 'remind' the reader of continuing plotlines as they advance or mutate or complicate or end while others kick off.

    I have the third novel in a series coming out later this month, and I used the method of writing so a reader could pick up a novel midstream and still enjoy it...and even go back to read earlier ones if interested. It took time to learn the technique, but I am glad I did.

    That's my three cents on the topic. :) Good luck as you move forward.
     

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