What happens when you are writing and the ideas for your characters and plot just keep on coming? Taming a longer story that is bursting to get out can be difficult. Considering making your ideas into a series could be the answer. Readers love a series. It’s easier to keep readers than create new ones. There is nothing better when finishing a great story than realising it’s part of a series and there is more to read. However, it is not easy to keep up the momentum in a series, to keep the reader hooked. If you are thinking of writing a series then I hope you find these articles and podcasts that I have put together helpful.
Learning how to write a book series requires immense planning and thinking. This article tells us that the critical part is how to structure the book series. It covers choosing the right story concept, deciding on plot structure, planning the end, making your characters consistent, and creating loose ends.
Jerry Jenkins says that every book in a series must also stand alone. He advises that you ask yourself crucial questions about your series including, have you provided enough variety in voice, narrator, and perspective characters without jeopardising the consistency of the message and tone?
This article outlines three types of book series: Dynamic, Static, and Anthology. A dynamic series follows the same characters or group throughout as they try to accomplish a large goal. A static series is carried by the characters. It is more about individual events than a grand overarching plot. An anthology series is tied together by a world, setting, or character relationships. Anthology series can be made up of mini dynamic or static series. An example of this would be the Marvel movie series.
Book series sell a lot of books. If you have too much content for one book, stretch it out into a series. Readers love to follow characters they aren’t ready to let go of. It is important to keep track of your story and drop hints along the way to develop anticipation and keep your reader wanting more. Ingram suggests you do this by using absent characters and future events, introducing new characters, weaving a thread through more complicated plot lines, and making references to events and locations from previous books.
This article shares 5 tips for creating a must-read fiction series including, the importance of background development, treating your setting like another character, and planning your plot, especially the key points.
This is a brilliant article on how to outline a book series. There are two types of book series: finite and infinite. Finite follows one story thread through multiple books. The story arc is too big for one book and the books must be read in order. In an infinite series, each book is self-contained but follows the same cast of characters. These stand alone and can be read in any order. It is important to build a character bible with a strong cast, to build a believable world and setting that is consistent throughout the series. It advises you to take into consideration the geography, culture, climate, time of day, and housing. Some of these may be important in one book, and not so much in another, but your reader requires a sense of the surrounding world.
Kristen discusses the three popular structures to use when writing a book series: dynamic, static, and anthology. She breaks down each structure and talks about how to plan them.
Another podcast from Well Storied, but this one focuses on plotting a trilogy. Using well-known fiction examples, Kristen explains how some trilogies have a defined beginning, middle and end. The main conflict in each book is resolved but the thread of tension carries on into the next book of the series. Other trilogies have a larger conflict that slowly plays out its beginning, middle, and end over the course of the trilogy.
In this podcast, Sara Rosett talks about the pros and cons of writing a series, where the hero’s journey fits in with the series, and how to keep track of character continuity.
It is important to bear in mind that most successful book series have been written over long periods of time, for example, Harry Potter, The Maze Runner, and Lord of the Rings. It does take time and a lot of planning and thinking. It can help when planning to decide on the ending first and then the events leading up to it, working backwards. A definite plus to writing a series and revisiting a world that you have created and characters you know as well as friends, is that it can feel less daunting than starting afresh with a new story. The challenge can be making sure the books are fresh and the story is new for the readers.
(c) Lucy O’Callaghan