1. Baz the WarriorDreamer
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    Baz the WarriorDreamer Member

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    What could improve my series of books? What are the flaws in it?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Baz the WarriorDreamer, Sep 3, 2012.

    Hello, so I am new to this forum and wanted to give details of the series of books I have been working on/ writing for a long time. I try to fit in many different genres to make them interesting while following one characters main journey but I wanted to know what would make them stand out or if there is anything holding them back from being better than they are. I'll go through them:

    The first deals with an island adventure where a young shy 15 year old boy gets a letter from a science company saying he is invited to a holiday to an island as part of an experient. He goes and finds he is staying with his crush and a guy he doesn't like. There is friction between him and the guy as they both like the girl. At the same time there is an emergance of supernatural evil creatures which all three must deal with on the island. There is a strong mystery thriller feel to this one.

    The second deals with the guy moving on from it and finding out the creatures are coming back to his city in a subtle way while he finds out his crush is moving on & getting married. He ends up having to save her from her wedding after an invasion of the creatures while they realise they have feelings for each other.

    The third is where the 2 are together and the guy finds out he is destined to kill the race of the creatures from a foreign old man who contacts him. He finds out their backstory and that they are dangerous and out to get certain individuals for blood and to take over the world. The individuals end up kidnapped and he has to train and become a warrior in order to actually defeat the boss of the creatures on their planet and potentially destroy the planet itself which is the home of all the evil creatures.

    The fourth one involves the aftermath of the last one where his girlfriend is in a coma and he must retrive a rose to wake her. He also finds out spirits remain of the creatures and are possesing humans and animals. He has to also stop and send back the spirits. He also finds out that there is a gang forming while he is trying to get by in the city. He must defeat a member.

    The fith one continues on from the fourth it has a more casual feel and is more about relationships of the main hero while he finds the gang have formed a company and are performing dodgy acts over the city as well as creating harmful robots. The girlfriend wakes up but has lost her memory and one of his best friends is seduced into joining the gang/ company which is supported by the creatures. One of his female friends gets involved with a guy who turns out to be a member of the gang (a humanoid) and almost kills her which gives the main guy clues as to what is going on.

    The sixth one is split into 3 and I haven't yet even started writing it but the 6.1 one deals with the main guy actually joining a supernatural defence league to be on top of it all. Since the guy has powers he basically becomes a vigilante of the city to make sure he knows what is always happening. He joins forces with his friends and they find out the company have their own building and are planning on making products which are very harmful. They try to constantly hurt and kill the main C.

    6.2 is another adventure and as he is a vigilante he becomes a superhero. The main guy also moves on from his girlfirend (who has her memory back). She realises she comes from somewhere else. (Another planet).

    6.3 and the final one after are about the company trying to take over the world and the defensive one trying to stop all of their efforts. There is alot of conflict in the relationships as the main guys' once friend has turned rouge and the previously defeated boss returns. He kinda gets with another girl (she is more suited to him) who works at the defence league and he has to deal with life as a superhero.


    So this is a very brief and abrdiged version of the synopsis. It is mostly fantasy for all but there is a Sci-Fi feel to the third one and a comedic feel to the fifth one. They all have adventure and action though however some have a bigger scope than others. I would like to hear your thoughts and hear if there is anything to be seen that could be imroved. Thanks! :)
     
  2. ...
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    ... Member

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    wow. you've written a series of novels. that's impressive. How many words in each book?

    I'm afraid I have no real advice for you, after writing 6 novels already you should have a pretty good handle on things I'd imagine. Have you ever had anything published before?
     
  3. tlm89
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    tlm89 New Member

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    Have you actually written all of the novels, or just outlined them?

    To be frank, it's impossible for anyone to judge the quality of your work based on a synopsis. Your best bet is to post excerpts of your story/stories on the relevant sections on this site for feedback.

    Basically, if i posted: 'i'm planning to write a short story about a hat, can you give me your opinions please', i think the general consensus would be that the story sounds boring. However, i could go on to write a fantastic piece about this little hat. I could create a whole adventure for it. What i'm trying to say is that it's the way you write your ideas that make them good/or bad, not the ideas themselves.

    Also, i would advise that if you wish to publish these stories (traditional route), ensure each novel can stand alone. Tie up all loose ends in each novel, don't hint that anything will be answered/further developed in the next book.

    It must have taken you a long time to plan your series, and it sounds like something you are really passionate about. You should be proud of yourself. Good luck, and i hope to read examples of it on here soon.

    :)
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Having read your outline, I must ask, were you inspired by Smallville? I mean, I never followed the series and only watched a handful of early and late episodes, but your outline definitely made me think of Smallville.

    Some parts reads like a bit of a cheesy plot device that's not so believable, but hey if you plan it well enough and foreshadow it well enough, even that could be turned into a pretty meaty twist.

    I think if you want help, you need to ask more specific questions. I don't know how I could improve your novel because I don't really know where your problem lies - is it the MC you don't like, is it how events link you don't like, is it the villains? Give us something to focus on and I'll be happy to start asking you random questions to make you think :) PM me if you like. I've found this kinda "sounding board" very helpful in my own experience.
     
  5. Baz the WarriorDreamer
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    Baz the WarriorDreamer Member

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    The first story has 33 pages, second has 41, third has 60 (I illustrate that one so room for pictures) number 4 I'm currently editing but has 40 pages and number 5 I am in the process of writing, that is as far as I've gotten. Number 6 I've just outlined and the one after.

    Yeah TLM89 I am making sure to make each one strong on their own and not to only allow them to make sense as a series. I hope to use a genre for each story.


    Yeah I was inspired by Smallville. Not specific plotlines but the idea of destiny. Kind of like the character has a specific destiny and allow hints and foreshadowing to come in every story leading up to the last ones. Also mixing and linking plot-lines one into the other to let it all flow.

    I think tone is what I am struggling with. The third has an epic feel, a very good vs evil feel where the main character is transported to a hell dimension owned by the boss. (Who is ancient and lived for hundreds of years) wheras the fourth and third are very much more mystery thriller, I'm not sure if they are epic enough or have enough going for them. The character finds out that the demonic creatures actually have their own gang of very powerful villains. In the fourth one he deals with a criminal with telekinises and then an unleashed demon who has a knack for torture. It mostly deals with him and his friends and solving what is going to happen next.

    I am just unsure of if I should stay high fantasy thiller for each one or if a more toned down mystery drama would be okay, considering someone is reading the series and expects a certain tone for every one.
     
  6. ...
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    33 pages in what font? Don't you know the word count?

    sounds to me like that with all of them together you are probably only half way through an actual novel.

    you've basically written 4 short stories/novelettes and are in the process of writing a 5th. Put all of them together, flesh them out and you may have a whole novel.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Your first problem is that no publisher is likely to accept a series from a new writer, even a single book from a series unless it truly does stand alone and doesn't scream "Series!"
     
  8. Baz the WarriorDreamer
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    Baz the WarriorDreamer Member

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    The first one is the shortest and I like them being short stories, I was never out to make a novel, if I were I would just make a one-off. The word count for the first is 15,121.

    Thanks Cogito, funnily enough the original was going to be just a one-off. It was never designed as a series, but I feel it is a stand-alone. The fact it is a series and I know the outline I would hope would aid in the publishing process but I agree that being a series isn't gonna have anything to do with publishing unless the first is good enough. ;)
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you say 'series of books' then you say they're only short stories... can't be both...

    what market are they for?... adult?... YA?... children's picture books?
     
  10. Baz the WarriorDreamer
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    Baz the WarriorDreamer Member

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    Well they aren't novels, they are fairly short stories, but are just in a series, one following on from the last. I illustrate them too and will hopefully market them to them older kid- young adult age. So basically the 11-22 age. Although, if anyone older wants to read them or if older people enjoy them that would be a bonus to me.

    I also illustrate the characters in every one.
     
  11. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Sounds like a graphic novel.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    how are you planning to market them?... on your own, as e-stories?... printing them up and selling wherever?

    do you realize that since they're not actually books, paying publishers won't take them on?... and even if they were book-sized, won't accept illustrations from unknown artists?... they assign their own illustrators... so i'm puzzled as to what you intend to do with this 'series of stories'...
     
  13. ...
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    I'm guessing Baz, that as your main character, in at least one of the stories, is a 15 year old boy that you are somewhere in this age range yourself?

    If so, then what you have done is a remarkable achievement and shows that you have the desire to get your words onto the page. Even if you don't use these stories right now you can keep them and re-work them whenever you like. I have a few stories that I need to rework. As you get older, you get wiser and better educated, this will show in your writing.

    However, what do I know... somebody has to write these cartoons my kids love so much on a Saturday morning. There's a market for everything.
     
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  14. Baz the WarriorDreamer
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    Baz the WarriorDreamer Member

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    What I plan on doing is finding out about publishers and then sending them off to be published. If I get success I will ask if I can include the illustrations as well. Who knows, maybe I could invent my own genre, lol. Not quite graphic novel but not quite illustrated kids book. Kind of self- illustrated but for teens/ young adult.


    Thanks, yes, it sounds odd but I actually wrote the original, or had the base idea when I was 12. He was always 15 in the first one, then in the second one he was 18, which is kinda weird considering I was about 14 when I wrote the 2nd one. I have built upon them through the years and by the last one he will be 25 while I at present am 20. It is kind of weird going back and fourth writing them about him growing up into a man and me doing it at the same time, but I thought it may give it a slightly more authentic and perhaps even 'simplistic' touch, that they are real present feelings of mine, growing up.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry, but that's a flaw in your plan. Publishers accept the manuscript alone. Bids for illustrators are handled entirely separately, and the author of the manuscript does NOT get special consideration. Considering that you will be competing against experienced illustrators, many of whom have already been proven reliable and are therefore preferred by the publisher, your chances are close to nil.

    Second, you don't invent genres. Publishers define genres in term of market niches with identified opportunities.

    Third, and this is a biggie, publishers DO NOT want a series from an unknown writer. Even the mention of a series on an initial manuscript identifies you as an amateur. A publisher does not wish to commit to a series from an untried author, but also does not want to publish the series foundation novel and then have a competitor grab up the more profitable followup novels. So either way, the risk is unacceptably high for the publisher.
     
  16. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    That is a blanket statement, and it is therefore false. There are plenty of authors that started out their careers with a series. While it might not be the recommended route, it's still possible to get published with a series. And I've heard from a panel of agents and publishers at a conference that for YA they often look for promising series, because young adults like to read books in a series.

    As far as illustrations go, from what I have heard (from agents and publishers), is that they generally do not accept third-party illustrators, but if the author him/herself illustrated it, and it's good, they'll consider it. Graphic novels are often written and illustrated by the same individual.
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Some blanket statements are true enough that you should heed them. Most publishers DO avoid series from untried authors for the reasons stated.

    Keep in mind that a new author is already a high risk proposition. Without name recognition, sales are generally poor. Furthermore, a larege percentage of first-time authors never produce a second novel, or their subsequent efforts are not of publishable quality. So a published novel that clearly is a jumping off point for a series leaves potential readers hanging if the author never publishes again.

    The story changes significantly if the author has already been published, because the "infant mortality" factor has been overcome, and the publisher has a benchmark to measure the author's consistency and growth.

    Getting published for the first time is hard enough without aiming for the unlikely wins. Save the series thinking until you have published one or more stand alone novels. And don't try to "cheat" the odds by "secretly" setting up for a series. The "secret" is usually as obvious and debilitating as a compound fracture. Your best writing will be shown in a complete, closed story.
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's not what one does... first you have to get yourself an agent, who'll submit your work to publishers... or you have to send query letters to the small indie presses that will take unagented queries and wait for them to request the ms... no legit publisher will let you simply send in your ms without them having requested it...

    or do you mean you'll pay a vanity press or self-publishing company to turn them into books?
     
  19. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It sounds to me as if the way to improve your series of linked short stories would be to convert them to a chapter book with a length somewhere in the appropriate range for a YA novel.
     
  20. Baz the WarriorDreamer
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    Baz the WarriorDreamer Member

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    If I have to resort to paying that is what I will do. I mean look at J.K Rowling, Pittacus Lore, Suzanne Collins and (hate to admit it) Stephenie Myers, all hugely succesfull series, all of them started in that genre and all have become well-known series. I believe that my first story is standalone. After all, it was never planned as a series, it was always a one-off that spawned sequels. (I have other series planned after this one, a Sci-Fi one and a magical one. Both with four stories each. But I wouldn't dream of trying to get them published until the first series.)

    I would not dream of trying to sell off a series as a first-time author. In fact I wouldn't even mention the fact it is a planned series. It just so happened that it turned out that way, 6 sequels in fact.

    As for the illustrations. Maybe they need to see it first before they make up their mind. I have been an illustrator since youth and have a craft for characters in particular. I studied art and had the option of illustration but I took english instead. I don't expect my illustrations to feature inside the stories. (Although that would be cool.) But to have the character drawings at the front.

    Yeah, I've had people say that to me before. Only issue is there is huge breaks inbetween each one, years in fact. It could be super-fun to combine them I guess, but I kinda like that they are 'checking up' on the character every now and then for an adventure. I also don't want them to be full novels. I would like to perhaps write one some day, but these stories were always supposed to be read in 2/3 nights type stories.
     

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