So many authors gets excited and start a series.
I do. It’s so easy to just keep going. A new story in the same world with the same characters.
There’s problems to that approach.
Part of it is you are acting like a reader not a writer. You want to continue these characters because you love them. You love the world you created. Everything is coming up roses.
But as a writer? The story is complete. The characters completed the plot and expectations. They’ve moved on. Their story is done.
Or it should be. Generally.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to continue the world or with the characters. And I’d still call it a series.
But there are two very different types of series: Same World and Same Plot.
Just by having life move about and exist, plots happen. In Leagende, you can read the books in pretty much any order. It’s more written as if historical record than following a story. Which suits considering it follows the royals during a major political upheaval. This is a Same World series.
In the case of same world, you don’t need to worry too much about the different books in the series. It doesn’t matter so much minus with keeping details the same. You don’t need to have all the books written. You don’t need to have everything set up. And you can publish them in whatever order you desire.
Same World series are like Discworld by Pratchett. Or Star Wars (yeah the movies). Both are set in a world. They follow the world in it’s trajectory. For Discworld, Pratchett wrote it as if pretend history books within the world. Non-fiction novels if you would in a world that doesn’t exist. Star Wars’s series’s plot is just following the good vs evil ideas around the Force. There’s no over arching plot. Not really.
Same World series don’t need a real over arching plot. They can have one. For Leagende, I cut off the series because Bludi is dead and the next book would be hitting on different concepts and situations. It’s a different part of history that will be covered. What’s the over all plot? It’s vague and not very limiting.
Same World needs to follow the same world or the same characters if they move worlds. (Doctor Who [the time lord] follows the character not the world.)
The other type of series is the one where order matters.
Same Plot would mean there is a very clear overarching plot for the series. Pretty much all the series you can name are in this group. The books have a very clear path. And reading them out of order will confuse the best reader.
My Dragon Rider series is like this. There is a very clear plot for the series. Reading it out of order will leave a reader confused and frustrated.
Okay maybe my Dragon Rider series can manage decent well out of order.
But some can’t. You miss too much by not reading the books in order. How often have you picked up a random book in a series and end up feeling like you’re missing everything. That’s a Same Plot book. It’s not just the same characters or the same world, you have the same plot. A plot that needs more books to reach its end.
And this can lead to weak middle of the series books. Because every single book in this type of series needs to progress the plot of the series.
It is perfectly okay to write either type.
The key is to make sure you know which one you’re writing. If it’s a Same Plot series, you gotta make sure it progresses the plot. If it’s not, it can be a side story to the series. Or bonus content. But it’s not part of the “main series”.
With series, a writer can just get excited and just write another book. Which is fine for a Same World, but still not suggested. It’s hard to weave another book into the same world or with the same characters.
When you know you’re writing a series, it’s best to have the next four or more books written. Or to have the complete series done.
Realize you can use the same world for a different series.
Modern Werewolves will use that. Dragon Rider will do that too. Even Leagende is set up to do that. Modern Werewolves starts with Crazy Alphas as it’s first series. Then it will be Crazy Town. And I do explain it a little My Modern Werewolves post. Dragon Rider explains Alpha Shifter will be next in the same world. Leagende talks about the next series group Leagende Reevaluated.
I am separating the series for a few reasons. But the main one is the story line changes. It’s fluid, but the direction changes enough that I change the series name.
Dragon Rider is only called that as long as Natalie Verde is the main character. Alpha Shifter is when Rebecca is the main character. Goblin Princess will be after that. Then Dragon Princess… maybe? My plot ideas go out that far, but I haven’t fully decided on it.
There will be a point for the series to complete.
Dragon Rider is about figuring out the world, who Natalie is within this world, and stabilizing things. Alpha Shifter leans on building a pack Dragon Mother will be proud of. Goblin Princess will be about accepting self as is and standing up against oppression (in various forms).
I knew this before Dragon Rider 6th Grade was published last year.
I had all seven books of Dragon Rider already completed – at least with a first draft done. I had rewrites done for up to eighth grade before I hit publish for sixth. I’m now done with rewrites on tenth grade before eighth gets published.
See what I’m trying to point out?
Maybe not. Maybe you can’t guess how difficult it is to get a series going at the same quality using the same plot/characters/world.
Then let me remind you The Secret of Preshift was published early on in 2019. February of 2019, I published book two in Modern Werewolves.
It’s now December of 2020. Where’s book three? The Secret of Luna has been rewritten. But it’s not ready. It’s not comparable. I can’t hit publish.
A year should be plenty of time to get a book up to “perfection”, but that’s not necessary true.
Especially when you compare to series work. It has to match up to the previous books in whatever way it should.
The Secret of Luna doesn’t. It’s not good enough. I had it written and rewritten the first time before The Secret of Preshift was published.
During the edits, I realized it wasn’t good enough. Something was wrong. It wasn’t comparable to the previous two. I realized it needs a rewrite. No amount of editing is going to work.
And that’s where it’s stayed. My thoughts are getting it ready, but it hasn’t been pressed to completion. Soon. Shortly. I’ll be getting it ready and out.
Do you, as an author, want to do that to your readers? Make them wait two or three or even four years between books?
Now if I had a following for Modern Werewolves already, I would have buckled down and finished it. It would have been published early this year, perhaps a touch later than February, but not too much longer. Readers have power. I don’t have a bunch of people pressuring me to work on Modern Werewolves.
A year should be plenty of time to get it right if you already have a rewritten draft before you. Or at least a first draft. And a year is reasonable time for an author to drop between novel length books.
I don’t like year long waits. Many readers don’t.
So an option when writing a series is to finish them all at the same time. Clear through all the drafts and publish them right on top of each other.
Okay… That won’t work for publishing. But imagine dropping the series in three month intervals. Three months is like perfect hype time for a book. And if it’s done going in, then everything can be set to preorder when you hit publish for the previous book.
I mean… That’s just a suggestion. An idea. I don’t expect it.
I do highly suggest having the next four books within a series done. Fully written out. First draft is fine. Because that gives you the chance to add in expert level foreshadowing in the one you’re publishing now.
Adain sits down in the king’s chair not at all looking out of place. ~ Unexpected of Leagende series. (Adain becomes king at the end of Undeniable.)
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Can’t help myself sometimes.