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Planning a Series

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions Planning a Series

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  • #67392
    Coggleton
    @coggleton

    I am attempting to plan out a series, and one thing I’m thinking over (besides how to concisely phrase the theme/focusing question) is how to go about planning out the series. Should I approach it from a primarily character arc standpoint (determine the arc of the main protagonist, and then progress from there and have each book be an exploded view of one of the points), or should I approach it from a logical series of character-driven action/reactions that result in a series of character arcs that all touch on the same theme? What are your thoughts?

     

    #67398
    Anne of Lothlorien
    @anne-of-lothlorien

    @coggleton

    I won’t be much help on this, because I am almost one hundred percent a panster, but I’m gonna tag some people who might be able to help…


    @daeus-lamb


    @hope-ann

    @erica-wordsmith


    @wordsmith

    I'm short, I like words, and I love people.
    No, I didn't draw my profile pic.

    #67399
    Anne of Lothlorien
    @anne-of-lothlorien

    Dang it.

    I hate tags.


    @ericawordsmith

    I'm short, I like words, and I love people.
    No, I didn't draw my profile pic.

    #67410
    Hope Ann
    @hope-ann

    @coggleton There are a number of ways to go about planning a series. For me, I do it in two steps.

    Firstly I figure out the overarching storyline. Where is the midpoint of the series. The first plot point, etc. (these major plot points of the series will also match up to a plot point in one of the books, so that makes it easier). Each book should have its own three part arc, but there should be one overall one too.

    With the theme, you do want an overall theme. However this depends on a number of aspects. Sometimes and arc will span a few books. Sometimes they’ll have a postive arc in one book and a flat arc in the next. Or each arc builds off each other.

    And… that’s a very short answer for something that one could write whole articles about, but yeah. That’s the very broad basics. Feel free to let me know if you have more specific questions.

    Victory in the march. Hope in the destination.

    #67418
    Evelyn
    @evelyn

    (I’m following this conversation… :))

    #67437
    Daeus Lamb
    @daeus-lamb

    @coggleton What @hope-ann said is very good.

    By the way, she mentioned major plot points from your series lining up with plot points in each of the books. The best way to illustrate this is with a trilogy. If each book is about the same length, then the first plot point of the entire series (falling at the 25% mark) would line up exactly with the third plot point of the first book (falling at that book’s 75% mark). These plot points could easily be the same event.

    The best way, I think, to come up with a great plot for a series is to come up with a single plot that’s immense and complicated. An EPIC plot! I believe the most important ingredient to an epic plot is backstory. In other words, the plot doesn’t start when your protagonist enters the scene. The plot has been building and building under the hands of masterminds for quite some time and your protagonist enters square in the middle of it, no idea what he’s getting himself into.

    😀
    👕👍
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    #67546
    EricaWordsmith
    @ericawordsmith

    @anne-of-lothlorien

    Totally fine. 🙂 Although… I’m a discovery writer (can’t bring myself to say pantser). I think @wordsmith is as well? I am however having to settle down and work with more of a plotline… editing…

    *Waves at @evelyn HI!!!*

    All I can say is phases or sections… I know the goal of the story of my characters, then section off phases of the book in my mind as if they were little books in themselves and from there figure out what happens in the timeline, what the characters goals are/what will happen to change the game in the next phase.

    That’s about the extent of my plotting unless you count me writing down the order of events so I don’t get confused.

    *Facepalm*

    I realize now I have nothing to say in this area… Tis not a plotter that I am that I should even try to say anything…

    Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!

    #67549
    Evelyn
    @evelyn

    @ericawordsmith *waves back excitedly* 😀

     

    #67691
    Coggleton
    @coggleton

    @hope-ann @daeus-lamb @ericawordsmith Thank you all for the insight!

    You mentioned that the series as a whole will be made up of a bunch of character arcs. When planning the macro-arc/overall plotline, should I be too concerned about which portion fits which arc (i.e., approach the macro-plot by trying to check off each point of the character arc)? Or rather, should I instead be more concerned about planning the cause-effect chain that the plot is made of (the hero does this causing the villain to do such and such, etc.), and then reverse-engineer out the appropriate character arcs?

    #67794
    EricaWordsmith
    @ericawordsmith

    @coggleton

    Great, I have no idea whether what I’m about to say is helpful or not either, but here’s my thoughts…

    So, I really liked what @daeus-lamb said about having the backstory down beforehand, then dropping the character right into the middle of it. Part of me wishes that I could have done that before spending three years writing, but I know that I was not capable of coming up with my backstory back then… Still, if you can get a backstory together that is really helpful I would think. I guess (remember I am not a plotter, I’m just thinking aloud) one thing you could do is instead of stressing about the arcs and all, you could think about the story first like a history textbook or biography that you will turn into historical fiction (of it’s own kind). Like, think about the Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings. If you compared the two, the Silmarillion is much more like a history book, and LOTR is more like the “historical fiction” of Middle Earth. The little plotting I’ve done has been in this sort of perspective.

    There’s my discovery writer’s idea of it. 🙂


    @evelyn
    I love your new profile pic!!! It’s super cute!!!!

    Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!

    #67811
    Evelyn
    @evelyn

    @ericawordsmith Thanks. 🙂

    #68071
    Daeus Lamb
    @daeus-lamb

    @coggleton Sorry, I actually forgot about this, but here I am at last.

    First of all, you don’t have to have a new character arc for each book in the series. You could have one that spans the whole series. It just depends on what you feel would work best.

    I don’t think you have to get every plot point of your character arc nailed down before you start writing. Though you can if you want to! I think it’s a good idea for stand-alone books, though a little overwhelming for a series.

    I think it’s important though to nail down the basics. What’s the midpoint for the character arc? What’s the climax? Resolution? Stuff like that. This gives you a basic structure to build off of.

    From there, it really depends on who you are as a person. I prefer to start with some sort of thematic moment or idea and then build my plot around that. You may prefer to develop your plot and discover the theme as you go along.

     

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    #68572
    Cassandra Hamm
    @cassandraia

    Do you have to have an overarching plot for the series? I feel like often, series are done in such a way that it’s just another episode in the character’s life or in the world the author has created. That’s typically how mine happen. But I also typically do small-scale conflicts instead of large-scale ones, so there’s that.

    I crush readers' souls like grapes.

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