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  1. Diablo Robotico
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    Diablo Robotico Member

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    The first book in a series...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Diablo Robotico, Jun 10, 2011.

    I know unpublished authors shouldn't really think of doing a series right away, and I understand that if they do, they need to make sure the first book is very standalone. However, I have been working on a fantasy idea for a while that goes beyond a single book, and it's built around a group of villains, and the easiest way to construct the series, then, is to have each book focus on a specific villain that the protagonists have to fight.

    The problem is that the back story of the villain in the first book includes the other villains. They're all connected, so I can't simply rearrange the order of the villains, and it would be difficult to separate one from the others. So, my only solution is to leave some hints at the end of the first book that there are more of them out there, but somehow still keep the story self-contained.

    Anyway, my questions are:

    Do you think that if I mention the other villains that it immediately becomes less standalone, and will publishers read that and think "He's planning a series, so let's not publish this", even if I'm trying to make it as standalone as possible?

    How do you think I can suggest more stories, without losing the self-contained story of the first book?

    Do you think I should simply set this story idea aside until I already have something published, and focus on an idea that isn't a series? Then the series idea could be a side project?

    I know it might seem a bit silly to think about a series this soon, but I would appreciate any help. Thanks.
     
  2. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe it's just me, but it sounds a bit too similar to "Scott Pilgrim vs The World" for my taste. But anyway, I would try to set it up so it seems like the hero only have to fight the first villain. And I think that's the issue here. Why does the hero have to fight the villains?
     
  3. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    Beside the obvious problems with writing a sequel, I personally want to write different stories and not get locked into a series. I am always of thinking of different story ideas while I am writing and then try to shake them off so that they do not affect what I am working on. I just say, "When I am finished."

    It is up to you. If you decide to do so, remember there is nothing wrong with doing this. Steven King does it all of the time.

    I have this feeling that you are struggling with the same problem I have; which is thinking of different stories while you are writing. If another story is calling out to you strong enough to stop your current work, then do it.

    Not sure if this helps.

    Good Luck.
     
  4. Diablo Robotico
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    Diablo Robotico Member

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    Surely, Scott Pilgrim wasn't the first story to include a group of villains. At any rate, I thought of the idea before I really knew about Scott Pilgrim, and the setting and style of my book are very different from that series.

    There's more than one hero, and each has his or her own reasons for becoming involved. I suppose their motivations might be different in a sequel, because there is a conflict that is resolved in the first book, but I wondered if the knowledge of other villains would somehow put a label of 'series' on it that would make publishers reluctant to accept the book.

    I do have other ideas I want to explore, but I don't think any of them are pulling me away from the current project. My situation is that I started writing this book, and now I'm realizing that it might not be the most publishable of my book ideas. Being published isn't everything, but I would like to be working on an idea that leads somewhere.
     
  5. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    I think you're concentrating too much on the mechanics of publishing. Concentrate on the story. Without it, your thoughts about future books doesn't matter. Without a good story, there will be no future.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that!
     
  7. AveryWhite
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    AveryWhite Senior Member

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    I agree. Its great to think positively about the future. But with no base or anything to contribute to it, it can hold you back. Even if thinking about a series can be a problem when publishing if you put enough into your story and make it succesfull the series will come.

    Perhaps you could mention the other villans in a passive way so that your giving more information to the reader, and other dimensions, without giving the idea that you will extend upon them in further books if the opportunity arrises.
     
  8. animefans12
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    animefans12 Member

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    Agree with what goldhawk said. Just think about the story and let all of that publishing idea away for now. ^^

    I had the same problem as you when I wrote my first book. I was too worried about getting it published rather than focus on my story. And what happened? The story I wrote was terrible and I'm not even kidding. Story plot is running in random directions rather than a linear line and the characters have no relation to most part of the story. So I've learned my lesson that you must concentrate on your story rather than how you can publish it. ^^
     
  9. thesims
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    thesims Member

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    Assuming the villains aren't all part of the same group, some of them could be operating in another part of the world without being a threat. If you've read George RR Martin's work, think of Daenerys who is slowly building an army without interfering with the Seven Kingdoms. The reader just knows that eventually she'll cross the sea and seek to conquer Westeros, but she doesn't present an immediate threat.
     

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