1. Dangerboy450
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    Dangerboy450 New Member

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    Looking to Develop a Series

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Dangerboy450, Mar 19, 2012.

    For awhile now I have been developing a "grandiose" sci-fi/fantasy adventure in my spare time and would like to start putting it down into a cohesive story form. I have always loved when an author creates a series of books set in a world with it's own rules, locales, histories, and mythologies. While some stories are compiled after-the-fact to form a series, others are essentially continuations that follow one overarching storyline, I am interested in creating a series that is more like an umbrella. When I was in middle school I was a big fan of R. L. Stine's "Goosebumps" series (which was the name under which all the books were entered) and while none of the books are connected plot-wise, I always imagined that they took place within the same universe (the same city, state, time period), even simultaneously. I am also more of a short-story writer and would like to be able to "just drop in" on the world that I create with installments and episodes rather than novels. I have thought about taking the Goosebump's model but interweaving the stories through location, characters, and plotlines, thereby adding a layer of connection but without an endgame or overarching storyline like in the Harry Potter series.

    What is be the best way to begin introducing the setting, time, and characters? How should set up the framework for my intended audience?

    Cheers,
    dangerboy450
     
  2. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Your primary goal is to develop a story. This means characters that both affect, and are affected by, plot. Setting (time is setting) is the place in which the story takes place. Setting is important, but it is best as a supporting role for the story.
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with this. I did it the otherway round and developed the world as I wrote the story.

    Develop the characters, write the story and that will tell you what needs to be included and when.
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Slip in the details about settings, races, any magic that may or may not exist, etc. naturally, in very small doses. A little bit goes a long way when it comes to creating a big picture, and even a few small info-bits placed in the right spots will fill in the readers good enough.

    What you should NOT do is go on huge infodumps describing the settings, history, etc. in great detail for paragraphs upon paragraphs. I'm not saying you would do this, but I have seen a lot of writers do this when creating their own universes, and it's not great writing. Just something to watch out for.

    Also, make sure that the first book (and EVERY book, but esp. the first) stands on its own, and does not have an incomplete feel. Even if each book is part of a collection or even a series, they should also stand independently as well.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you ever intend to publish any of this, forget about a series. Write a single stand alone novel. Even if you leave in hooks for sequels, it means you are leaving unresolved story elements. Yes, an experienced, established author can do that and still have a well-wrapped story, but most new writers will fail at it. And publishers won't stick their necks out to take a chance on a series.
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you have a fantasy, publishers now expect you to have at least a vague idea about further novels. They want to know it isn't a one hit wonder. Which is why HarperCollins sci-fi/fantasy imprint specifically wants intentions ie sequels/series information as part of the synopsis. The publishers that offered me a contract also asked me the question about sequels and wanted details of them. Most publishers give a two or three (in the case of fantasy) book contract. Yes the book should stand alone but if you haven't left room for a sequel, and have no idea where it is going you are less likely to be taken on.

    The published fantasy/sci-fi writers I know would suggest trying to have a second already drafted before submitting the first, because of the deadline for the second/third book. This information maybe specific to the UK publishers, but I am aware of US authors who struggled with the pressure to get the second book out. JK Rowlling mentioned getting writer's block in the process of writing Chamber of Secrets. I seem to remember the second book block has a specific term it is so common.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Publishers want to know if you have other ideas in development. They don't want to hear about series, and they most assuredly are not going to commit to a novel from an unknown writer that is incomplete without the sequels.

    A publisher will be far more impressed that you have independent works in development. That is much more marketable than sequels to a first novel that may get a tepid response. An author stuck on a single series is about one hoof more than a one trick pony.
     
  8. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Children's and YA publishers are more likely to want series, because it is more marketable to that audience.
     
  9. Jetshroom
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    Jetshroom Active Member

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    Cogito's right, it's that the publishers want to know you have other books. They don't want to waste money on someone who's only going to write one book. They're not impressed that you have an idea for a 15 book epic, but they like the idea that you're interested in being a professional author and have more than one idea up your sleeve.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto cog and jetshroom...
     
  11. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Also fantasy, (the book in the OP being sci-fi/fantasy will be pitched to publishers who are interested in series), romance, cosy mystery/detective stories.

    I honestly don't know about any others. Literary Fiction, Chick Lit, Horror etc I should imagine are different. When I posted I wasn't talking about genres in general - just the one I've talked to publishers and agents about in the past six months.

    The OP also talked about Harry Potter/Goosebumps both junior fiction/YA.
     

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