1. WhenIt'sDark
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    WhenIt'sDark Member

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    Letting go of my story?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by WhenIt'sDark, Apr 5, 2013.

    I have a question concerning the novel that I'm writing right now.

    I have been walking around with the idea for my story for a long time. It is a Young Adult science-fiction story and I really like the plot I came up with. The problem is that I always planned for it to be a series of two or three books. I have the first book all planned out and I almost finished the first draft. I already have a lot of ideas for a sequel because the story will not be finished after the first book. I know that editors often don't accept series from first-time writers so I am wondering if It would be better to let this story go.
    I was also a bit discouraged when I read that most people need to write a few novels before they write one that is any good. I realize that I need a lot of practice so would it be better to practice with single novels rather than writing a full series? I would feel like wasting my time a little.

    I realize that this is a weird question but I'd like to know what you guys think.
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If you've almost finished your draft, might as well finish it. Then move on to something else, something that's a standalone novel you can submit. Keep the draft you're working on, of course. When and if your second novel is published (fingers crossed!) go ahead and return to your first and do your revisions. All the skills you will have learned with your second novel will help you make the first as good as it can be, and the success of the second will help you sell the first and its sequels.

    That's my highly-optimistic plan. (We're writers - we have to be highly optimistic!)
     
  3. gwilson
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    gwilson Member

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    I like minstrel's comments and will add that when you're writing a project sometimes it helps your objectivity to get some distance from it before you let the world see your work. So, starting another project might be in your best interest. However, just in case your proposed new project leads you to forget the creativity and excitement of the old story, you should, at least and as much as you can, try to sketch out the outlines of the other planned books in the series.
     
  4. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    The reason publishers don't trust first time authors with series for publication is mostly that they can't trust you to have more than 1 good novel in you. As minstrel said, since you have nearly finished your first draft you should complete it and then set it aside. Work on one or two standalone novels and when you get one of them published successfully (wish you the best) then you can submit the novel for your series.
     
  5. Jacco
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    Jacco Member

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    There's a lot of misinformation out there with regard to what editors want and don't want.

    I don't think it's necessarily true that they don't accept series from first time authors. Jim Butcher's Storm Front was picked up by an editor and it was a project for a college class he was taking. They ordered another one before the first one was even printed.

    JK Rowling submitted Harry Potter dozens of times and when she finally got accepted, they ordered the whole series.

    Hell, even Stephenie Mayer got a $750K advance (unheard of for a first time author!) and a four book deal before Twilight was even printed! If someone a terrible as she can do it, any of us can.

    So don't get discouraged. Its always important to remember that the odds of being a successful author are very low and not to put all your eggs in that basket, but if no one ever did it, we wouldn't have famous authors now, would we? ;)

    Practice is always a good thing. But it doesn't necessarily need to be in the form of multiple novels. I've spend almost ten years writing the one I'm working on now and as far as I'm concerned, and I've been told, the quality is up there (and above, in the case of Twilight) with anything published.
     
  6. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    There are a lot of things you can do, and it's up to you to see what you think will be best.

    One thing is to do as Minstrel said. The thing is, many authors say the real writing doesn't happen until the rewrite. The second draft is where you learn the craft of writing on a much more intimate level than the first. It's like you've finally kneaded and wedged your lump of clay and threw it on the pottery wheel, and now you're going to go knead and wedge another lump? Finish this book to the best of your ability. You will learn 10x more about writing than if you start a different book from scratch. But when you are done with it and are querying agents, don't start writing the sequel. Start another book entirely so you can show them you're not a 1-book author.

    The danger here is when you know there are other books, you will want to foreshadow them or leave questions unanswered, etc. Make this story a stand-alone book. Don't hold back any secrets, don't leave ANY cliffhangers, and put all of your effort into that one book. If your publisher signs you up for a series, you can always change it back. But if you publish this one book and your publisher doesn't want any more in the series (because their being jerks), then none of your readers will feel disappointed when they don't get a satisfying resolution.

    There's nothing wrong with wanting to write a series. Just make sure it doesn't have to be a series.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i agree with funky... in successfully published series, one doesn't have to read every book, or read them in proper sequence, to enjoy each one, since they can each stand alone...

    so DO make this first one able to be enjoyed without leaving the readers frustrated by a cliffhanger non-ending...
     
  8. stormr
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    stormr Member

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    I also agree with funky. I have plans for a 3 part book myself, but I am leaving the first one as a stand alone, and wont be pushing the sequel ideas. Just keep writing them though anyways, so when everyone is ready for a second book your already set with it, same with the third. Just wrap up the story at the end like they said.
     

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