1. L. L.
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    L. L. New Member

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    Writing a Series.....

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by L. L., Jun 23, 2015.

    I'm writing a series and I'm not actually sure when and how I'm supposed to finish the first book and move into the second one. Any tips?
     
  2. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    How long is the series?

    In a sense book two means the story isn't over right?

    Well why is the story still going?
     
  3. L. L.
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    L. L. New Member

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    It's going to be a trilogy. I'm making it into three books because I want to show how the characters grow after a long period of time (maybe up 10 years).
     
  4. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    So why is the story still going on? What is left undone when book one ends?
     
  5. L. L.
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    L. L. New Member

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    One of the characters goes missing, and someone they thought was dead comes back.
     
  6. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    So what exactly is the issue?
     
  7. L. L.
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    L. L. New Member

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    Is it acceptable to leave the first book's ending in a cliffhanger or do I make it seem like the issue has been resolved and begin the second book like it has its own new plot?
     
  8. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    From my experience you don't want to leave a book on a cliff hanger. Unlike movies people spend much more time on books and feel cheated to do such. Also your goal is going to be that the book is so good people are going to look for more and of course find it.

    Make sense?
     
  9. L. L.
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    L. L. New Member

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    Yeah, I understand. Thanks for your help.
     
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  10. drifter265
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    drifter265 Banned

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    Figure out the ending of the series first. Is it the characters getting off the island? The characters discovering the murderer? The characters finally defeating the big bad villain or overcoming a kingdom? Whatever it is, once you've decided the ending to your series, everything else will fall into place. If your series is about characters in an ad agency and the series ends with the main character leaving it because he's unhappy there, then maybe book one can be about his dissatisfaction with his life despite not appearing to be and book two can be about his resurgence in having found success and that maybe he actually is happy at the ad agency but oh wait no he's not and then book three would be about him ultimately leaving. Each book should be a contained story and not like chapters that end on cliffhangers. If one of the books does end on some sort of cliffhanger, it should be about the possibility of a new goal for the next book and not simply just a continuation of the same goal that was in the prior book.
     
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  11. Eliza Rain
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    Eliza Rain Member

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    When I plan out series, I keep in mind two things when trying to figure out the stops and starts to books. The first is event size. Is there major event you plan to be central to your story? Or is it more of a progressive story, with little adventures along the way? If its the former, id focus on one central event. If its the latter, two or even three small adventures could fit into a decent size novel.

    The other thing I consider is the character themselves. How are their emotions? Are they on the cusp of change and growth or about to fall apart into despair? Knowing your characters is important to the flow of a series. If you cut them off at the end of a book where it feels too abrupt, the audience may feel like they missed out on something. Extend a characters growth to where they maybe starting a new phase of their life but they're only mid way through said change and the reader may feel off put as there might not have been an emotional climax.

    Hoped that helped!
     
  12. Vrisnem
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    Vrisnem Member

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    If you're looking at writing a trilogy then you should be able to write three stories each with a satisfactory beginning, middle, and end.

    I'd assume that if you've decided that you're going to write three books then you know that you need this many - meaning that you should know what each book should contain and why they aren't just individual arcs of one novel. If you don't know where your books should begin and end, then why have you decided that you must need three to tell the whole story?

    Work out what your whole story is and, if it needs multiple books to contain it, then it should be clear where one book should end and the next one should begin. Each book should contain a complete story with a satisfactory conclusion. It can leave questions to be answered in a sequel, but it shouldn't just end with nothing resolved.
     
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  13. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    This ^

    It needs to be more than one long story with arbitrary divisions. A trilogy needs to be three stories with interlinking threads.
     
  14. terobi
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    terobi Contributing Member

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    I've been agonising about this a lot recently - I've been trying to stretch out the bare bones of a series I've been thinking about for some time, and working out what events should be where is verrry difficult because of this.

    Each book should have a distinct story, with a beginning, middle and end, rather than being "book one is just build-up for something that happens mid-way through book two, and..." - because obviously book two will never happen if book one is all starter and no main course.

    The way I've tried to resolve this is to write it like any other book - but to then add a game-changing cliffhanger after all the main plot is resolved, setting up a next book with a situation that is radically different than the first, with whole new storylines.

    The trouble I'm having is rather that I have a lot of characters that I like that serve specific functions in the wider story - but I'm having trouble actually tying their stories together in book one. It feels rather like my two main plot strands are happening completely independently of one another, and I'm not entirely sure what I can do to fix that considering they take place hundreds of miles apart.
     
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  15. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's a great book called Writing the Fiction Series. It details all the complexities of it and how best to make it work. I highly recommend it.
     
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  16. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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  17. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    I love this forum :love:

    ETA: Mind you the neg reviews on that book are interesting - author and friends flagging neg reviews as "unhelpful"?
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
  18. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    If your story finishes in your first book, it doesn't need to continue, unless you want your series to be episodic. If it doesn't finish in your first book, then it can continue in your next book.
     
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  19. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't read reviews. lol If I read reviews, I'd never buy anything. I enjoyed the book, but I'm a beginner. So a lot of that stuff was new to me. And I read a review after you posted this with someone complaining that the book didn't use interviews with more famous authors? What a load of crap. It doesn't matter to me how well-known they are. If they know their stuff then they know their stuff.
     
  20. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    For argument's sake, here's an example. say I'm writing a series. In the first book, Jack and Jill are young twins, trained in opposite magic. Jack chooses to learn the way of fire and Jill the way of water. When the Lord and Lady disappear at sea, the realm is split between the two. When Jack becomes mad with power, Jill has to stop him from expanding his territory. In the end she believes he drowns in the sea and battles with guilt for being the one responsible.

    Book two is three years later. The land is yet to find piece since the loss of Jack, and now, civil unrest in Jill's territory threatens to bring about the collapse of their entire social structure. Now Jill must find a way to end the fighting before all chaos breaks loose, but to do so, she must also silence the group of insurgents organizing the outbreaks. In the end, defeats them, but catches word that Jack may be alive. She abdicates power to her friends and begins her search and a chance to make things right within.

    Book three starts one year into her search. She's had to cut her hair and take on an alias as she gathers information in dangerous foreign lands. She's noticed someone has been following her, but she doesn't think it's Jack. Now she has to follow the clues to find her brother and be prepared to take him home or take him out. She finds him captured and subservient to the Lord of the land, a powerful sorcerer who has bottled Jack's soul. While trying to free Jack, the two learn to love each other again. When jack is freed, Jill is captured, and Jack must choose between saving her and reclaiming power. In the end, he saves her, gains his redemption and they go home, content to live without the burdens of ruling.

    Came up with this on the fly, so It ain't perfect. Didn't know where I was going with this, but by the time I finished the first book, I had an idea for the second and then I saw the third. That is one way to do it. Some prefer to see the end in the beginning. I knew I wanted Jack to return, but the other conflict was something of an unknown until I had seen the first two.

    Notice how each of these summaries explains a complete story. If you've got time jumps, you probably want to make sure that each book is fulfilling, rewarding, and complete. They'll have their own stories, so when to stop and move on is a matter of when each one is done. Of course you can go back in revision once you've written more. I think it's really going to come down to how well you understand the story you're trying to tell.

    Some people like each book to feel like the different acts of a play, where you've got a mini climax and the hero wins, then a second climax leaving the hero at an all-time low, and then a third climax, tying everything together for a big conclusion. That tends to work for me when I think of trilogies. But it is certainly not a required formula,
     
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  21. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I love it Andrae. Make them lovers instead of siblings and you have a hit. They could be two kids who grew up together and didn't fall in love until book three. But that gives you sexual tension to play with in books one and two. :)
     
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  22. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    GoT says why stop at one? Siblings and lovers ;)
     
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  23. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Eeewww. Might be OK with GoT's multiple characters and story lines, something for everyone. But as a solo act, no.


    My duology has different protagonists with an important character that bridges the two stories.
     
  24. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Hey now they don't have to consummate. And it could be a delightful (?!) twist pre-consummation that they find out they are related and shouldn't!
     
  25. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    The key is, can the reader relate? I guarantee you, readers cannot relate to incest as the main course.
     

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