Monday, 24 August 2009

How do you plan a series?

My recently finished WIP 2, is supposed to be a Fantasy Trilogy. I know what happens at the very end, and I know some things that happen in between, but that was about it when I wrote the first draft. After that first draft though, I have decided to replot. I am not changing the essence of the story, but I am making significant changes in the story line itself, and cutting off some characters, so this time I was wondering if I should have a bit more detailed plan for the whole trilogy before starting the re-write of the first book? How do you plan trilogies or duologies etc? How much do you know about the next book in the series? Things could change of course when you come to the second book, but I feel that it might make the first book better to know bit more details about the next two. Perhaps that might help adding more layers to the story. What do you think?


  1. I have a loose story-arc outline for all of the major characters and events in my series. I also have several pages of notes about where everything needs to go and how each book ties in with the others, to make sure I stay on track. I feel like outlining, while important for single books, is even more important for a series, since everything has to connect.

    When I wrote the first book, I didn't know it was going to be a series. I started figuring it out about halfway through my second set of revisions, and stopped to make my notes before continuing, so I could include all the little nuances and bits of foreshadowing that lead into the next novels. I didn't know exactly what was going to happen in the next novel, but I knew that the revolution (which is integral to the plot of the first book) continues and then eventually fails. So I made notes about that.

    Whew, sorry for the long comment! It's almost a post unto itself. Hope it helped! :D

  2. Thanks Jenna. That's what I am planning to do.

  3. I never plan a series, they just happen. I started writing a fantasy short story once and it got longer and longer, and then I started doing maps and detailed character sketches, and before I knew it I had a trilogy on my hands. Then I thought it would be interesting to figure out what happened before my story starts, which is another potential trilogy, and then I started wondering what happens next. All in all, from one short story I've expanded into 9 volumes!

  4. I'm not a series writer nor have a clue how to attempt it. But seems like you could use a story arc just the same encompassing all three books. A loose one, at any rate. Kudos to you for your 37000 words in August. I'm impressed. Write on!

  5. C R, I never start out planning a series, but with my fantasy, just the premise was big enough from the beginning to know that this would be more than one book.

    I am starting with loose story arc. I have the final ending in mind, and few bits in between, so that should be enough hopefully.