Tag Archive - Series

4 Tips to Writing Expanding a Novel into a Series

Today’s guest post is by Vivek Hariharan.

Ever since the enormous success of the Harry Potter saga, there have been many writers who stopped writing single novels and focused on writing a series of novels. The successful ones that made waves in the world of fiction are Eragon with four books, The Hunger Games Trilogy, Divergent Trilogy, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Twilight Saga, and the 50 Shades of Grey series.

Novels in a series are more likely to become blockbusters and chartbusters than individual books unless the author is already world renown.

Keeping this in mind, you might have the urge to expand the novel that you have written so carefully into a massive series. However, that is not an easy task. It would mean expanding the world, introducing new characters, building new timelines, creating back stories for the characters, and integrating all of this into each novel without losing the essence of the individual story by overcrowding.

So the most interesting question now is this: How do you create the series and at the same time integrate the individual stories and each character without losing the flavor of each individual novel itself? Here are four key aspects that you should keep in mind when you want to spit your story into a series. Continue Reading…

Strategies for Novelists Who Are Writing a Series

I’m reposting this article from some years back, as many fiction writers plan a series but often don’t know the best way to lay out plot over multiple installments.

Many authors plan to write a series, but I’ve noticed when critiquing and editing novels that are part of a series, they often fail to keep in mind important elements that may not pertain to a stand-alone novel. Navigating through a series can be a kind of obstacle course, keeping focus through the many story developments to reach the finish line.

I’m not talking about a series of stand-alone novels that just feature the same character(s) but in different situations, such as in a mystery series showcasing a particular detective. In novels like those, just as with many TV series episodes, the plot is set up, developed, and resolved all in one book.

However, even in such series, you’ll often see characters grow and change. There may be long-term overarching storylines involving the characters that play out over many books.

There is no hard-and-fast rule regarding how to craft a series, but there are some things a writer should be careful to do.

Each Book Must Have a Plot That Resolves

Just as with a singular work, a first book in a series needs to present the characters and their goals and needs. The basic novel structure applies—a protagonist going after a goal, with him either reaching or failing to reach that goal at the climax.

When writing a book series, it is important to know that each book must have its own plot, one that is concluded by the end of the book. You can’t assume readers have read your first book. And even if they have, it may have been a year ago, and they aren’t going to remember all the details. Odds are they will end up confused and frustrated if you make that assumption. Continue Reading…

Considerations for the First Page of Your Novel

I hope you know why it’s so important to craft a terrific first page. Surely if your first page is awful, it’s likely your reader won’t read further. And that’s a bad thing.

When we realize that literary agents often won’t read beyond the first paragraph if it doesn’t spark interest, it puts a lot of pressure on us writers to come up with a stellar first page.

But it doesn’t and can’t stop there. A great first page is not going to make up for the next three hundred blah pages.

While there is a ton to learn about scene and novel structure (and my blog contains something like a million words of instruction on those topics, so dig in!), there are some key lessons to learn about fiction writing from focusing on the first page.

Why? Because the elements on a first page should (and usually do) reflect the quality of writing in the rest of a novel. In other words, you can’t just work hard to make that first page sing and then ignore the rest of your manuscript.  Continue Reading…

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