Sometimes our concepts for our stories span more than one book. And that’s ok because series are popular these days as readers love to return to characters and worlds they love. But they can be complicated to write. Careful planning can ensure a successful series. So let’s look at some best practices for writing a series.
- Make sure you have enough story for more than one book. You never want to write a series just to write a series or to try and get more money than from a standalone book. There’s nothing worse than a story line that’s stretched too thin over a series. You need enough plot for each book. The last thing your reader wants is to read a bunch of filler.
- You want your details to match from book to book. Your protagonist shouldn’t have green eyes in book three when she’s had blue eyes in book one and two. Keep a master copy of the little details of your story that you can reference as needed.
- Make a macro outline connecting each book and any overarching story arcs. This will help you keep track of each plot line and story arc and also ensure you tie up each end.
- Make sure your premise is enough for more than one book. If your story concept is weak, you’ll have a hard time writing book one let alone book three or four.
- Each book should have resolution. Even though some things will remain unresolved until the end, each book should have a major story arc that does get resolved. Don’t leave everything hanging or your reader will feel cheated.
- Ensure each book carries the theme throughout the series. This ensures each book is tied to each other and has depth.
- Build your story world. Make it a place readers will want to revisit. It should have a touch of familiarity as well as a touch of intrigue. Make your settings a real place to your readers by including rich details.
- Establish the main characters early on. It’s the characters that will get your readers to care about the story so make sure the major characters are introduced right away. This doesn’t mean give away every backstory early on. Leave some things uncovered and slowly reveal pertinent backstory as you go.
- Introduce new characters in each book. But don’t make them throwaway characters that don’t matter. Use these characters to build your subplots and highlight or contrast your main characters.
- Have dynamic characters. Your characters need to change and grow throughout the series. This could be a positive or negative growth arc. But make sure they change.
- Don’t forget about the passage of time. You may not have much time pass from book to book, but after enough books your characters should age. This goes especially for serials that span a few years in real time.
These tips should help you move forward as you start to draft your series. What are your best practices for writing a series? What did I miss? Share below and happy writing.