1. Magnatolia
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    Magnatolia Active Member

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    Leaving hints in a book that relate to the next book, or short story?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Magnatolia, Apr 12, 2014.

    Hi all,

    Is it acceptable to hint at something in a novel, that will b of importance in the next novel? Or in a short story that relates to the same world? I'm planning to write at least two novels in my zombie apocalypse assuming I can get enough material for the second novel.

    The other idea I'm toying with is writing a series of short stories that are based in the same world. For example I was playing a zombie game and had a great idea of having a mine in the world. The miners are trapped down there with some of the zombies so they opt to blow the mine. In my novel I was thinking of either simply referencing an explosion, and them consiedering the possibility of it being the mine, but not going to investigate. Or they go to investigate, see that it's completely blown and head back to the main story line.

    What do you think? The short stories could also be compiled by my two main characters as stories they've discovered along the way. Journal entries, etc.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see why not. Both your ideas are employed by writers of series all the time.

    Warhammer 40,000 novels and short stories are an excellent example of a huge collection based upon a game universe. Battletech is another.
     
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  3. Jak of Hearts
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    Jak of Hearts Member

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    I've done the same thing with my WIP. I hope it to be a series because i have ideas for more books. I like to plant Easter Eggs in the story that allude to future events. Hopefully one day when someone rereads it they will pick up on the clues.
     
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  4. Lovegrove
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    Lovegrove New Member

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    Many writers do this, and it often works out quite well because the shared universe effect adds depth to the stories, and and makes the world seem more tangible and the body of work feels more 'real'. Lovecraft made frequent references to the Necronomicon and the Mad Arab in many of his stories, and both Irvine Welsh and Bret Easton Ellis have main characters in some books cross over to other books as secondary or even peripheral characters.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Not a good idea if it;s your first work to be published. Once you are an established author, it's a very different matter.
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    As long as it isn't a cliffhanger or anything, I don't see the harm in including small hints. If your next book gets published, then all those hints will pay off. If it doesn't get published, the worst thing that will happen is no one will catch the hints, which isn't a big deal.
     
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  7. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    From what I understand, this is allowed, but if the future material doesn't eventually manifest, you can face the full force of the law with possible imprisonment, execution, and castration.
     
  8. Magnatolia
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    Magnatolia Active Member

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    Thanks everyone!

    @Lovegrove Wow, you just gave me some awesome ideas. Secondary characters can become primary characters in another novel/short story and my main characters can become the protagonist.

    @thirdwind Thanks, yeah they're not designed to be cliffhangers or to leave the current novel unanswered unless the reader gets the next book in the series. To me that isn't the idea of series. If I was to introduce the Antagonist leader then not mention him until the end (also not referring to him as this role), then that would be okay too, but would be better for an established author.

    @MLM I assume you're jesting at the end. Even if I signed a contract with a publishing company to write x number of books, none of those three things would happen. Law suit yes though. But I'm not going down that path, at least that's not my current plan. Plan is to sell on kindle until numbers are good, then use those numbers as proof for publishers.
     
  9. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    It's one of those unwritten laws. Dare you face the wrath of fans spurned?
     
  10. Magnatolia
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    Magnatolia Active Member

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    @MLM Ah no, it's one of your unwritten rules. You're clearly not reading the posts very well because I have no idea why you're talking about the wrath of fans. Clearly you're opinionated and this is resulting in you ignoring everything that doesn't sit with your opinion.

    Four references in my original post and reply that clearly indicate that I have no intention of misleading my readers. I've already confirmed that I don't plan on doing that. Giving a particular event or character a secondary importance in my main novel (as part of the storyline) and then writing a short story that relates to that event or character is not misleading, nor incurring the wrath of fans. If, however, the event had significance in my main story and I hid details so I could write another story, then that would incur their wrath. It's no different to my protagonist meeting another survivor and having her join the group, then writing a story from her POV before she met the protagonist of my main novel. Again, not leaving out (misleading) readers.

    Hopefully that clears the confusion.
     
  11. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Foreshadowing is a time-honored technique. You might even discover that you put comments in a previous book that led into a scene you had not thought about at the time! It is exciting to think some uncontrolled part of your brain is helping you out instead of just hamstringing you like our brains seem to enjoy doing.
    Bedtime on a rainy night: You know what you haven't thought about in a while? Scary dead clowns!

    Remember when your cat died? Let's think about that for no reason, right now.

    That divorce sure sucked. Isn't that when you bought this plant? Water your divorce plant or it will die just like your relationship.

    Thanks brain. Thanks a lot. At least now it is finally doing something useful.
     

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