Greetings my lovelies!
Every now and again there comes an idea so epic, a world so badass that it can’t possibly be contained in a single book. But just the thought of trying to tackle the daunting task of writing a series. Writing a series takes a whole different level of dedication and discipline that can induce new levels of anxiety. But don’t let that keep you from fully developing that idea that gripped you to being with. I have a couple of tips to help you tackle writing a series without losing your mind.
Realistically look at your story as a whole.
Does your story actually need to be split up into multiple books. Sometimes the random idea we get that fit within our story are actually smaller parts than we initially realize. In the second book in my series Souls in the Dark, the two main conflicts are a blend of what I originally thought were going to be two separate books. When I sat down to flesh out my ideas a little more, I realized that they weren’t enough to carry a whole book. Do the same for your ideas. It’s great that you have multiple conflicts, that makes for an engaging story, but not every conflict or meeting needs it own book.
Figuring out the timing in your story can help keep track of how many books you need to effectively tell the story. Is it year by year like in Harry Potter? It it task by task like in the Hunger Games? Or it it journey where each point in the story needs to be told like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones? Framing the time can help with the planning stages and gives you an end point for each book. Also don’t forget about the natural flow of time. If your story goes on for more than a few months, then the seasons will change. For the most part, things still have to follow a natural flow.
Keep track of important details
I have this wall … well not right now because I just moved…but I have this wall where I stick up all the major points that I have to keep in mind for the larger scope of my story. This can be but not limited to maps, important items like magical tools, people who show up in one book but have a major role later on. Having these things somewhere in the fore front will help you to not forget them and keep your sanity.
Create a rough outline of your series in its entirety
Some writers never outline their stories. They just sit down and get going. I am not one of these people. If I don’t have an outline, I will go off into god knows where and end up having to completely start over. I live by my outlines. That doesn’t always mean that I follow them 100%. Sometimes while writing something will develop naturally and I usually let it. There are a thousand ways to outline your story. I use a combination of traditional outlining and free writing synopsis. The free writing synopsis is just me sitting in front of my computer writing the barest bones of my story. I don’t care about dialog, grammar, spelling; nothing. I just get the story out. I refer back to the synopsis when I’m ready for the outlining phase of my writing to make sure that what I’m filling in doesn’t conflict with the larger scope of the story. You could also use a story board instead. A story board can be done anyway that you want it. It doesn’t even have to make sense to anyone but you. As long as it helps you to keep your thoughts organized, it works.
There’s always this panic to pump out as many books as you possible can. We see our favorite authors do this and try to emulate them. I don’t recommend it. For the most part, all they do is write. They have the time to plan out their books and develop their story and characters and unless you’re like them….then it’s going to murder you. Take your time. Plan out each book. Make sure it’s the best book you’re putting out there. George R.R. Martin has us still waiting 7 yrs later for Winds of Winter. And we will keep waiting because we know how in depth he goes into his world. Take the time that you need to make a good story. The rest will fall into place.
These are only just a few ideas on how to not lose your mind when writing a series. There are tons of other articles out there all pretty much saying the same things. Take your time. Plan it all out. Keep track of details. Good luck!
If you’ve written a series before and have any other helpful hints on how to not turn into a Gollum then please comment below. See y’all next time!