Writing a series takes a lot of hard work and dedication. In fact, writing a SINGLE book takes hard work and dedication. However, if you’re planning a series there are a few things you need to keep in mind. A series should not be thought of as one really long novel that is split up into several smaller novels and it shouldn’t be written that way. Each novel in a series should be easily distinguishable from one another. This all requires a bit of planning, so hopefully these tips will help you out.
1. Have a Plan
Obviously, it would take a whole lot of work to plan out an entire series, but you should know how many you want to write and how much time you’re going to give yourself to get it done. Create a writing schedule and do your best to stick with it. It helps to give yourself some leeway, but a writing schedule will help you remain focused.
2. Know Your Characters
You need to have a general idea of what characters you will have throughout your series. Plan them out, know how long they’ll be sticking around, and understand how they will play into the larger plot. Each character still needs to matter, so make sure they’re developed.
3. Think Long Term
A long series will have a huge story arc, so you need to think about your long term story. It will take a while for plots to resolve, so you still need to find a way to keep it interesting. Series will have a huge overarching plot, along with several sub-plots tied into the main plot.
4. Write Your Novels in a Timely Manner
It helps to write the novels in your series one after another. I’m not saying you can’t take a break, I’m just saying try not to work on other long projects in between. Keep the novels fresh in your mind, so you’ll remember details.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Drastically Change a Character
Your characters will change over the course of a series, maybe much more than they would in a single novel. It depends on what you’re writing, but that will most likely be the case. So, don’t be afraid to drastically change some characters you’ve included. Give a reason for the change or develop it over time.
6. Introduce New Characters
You don’t have to have all your main characters introduced within the first novel. It’s not a no-no to introduce new characters in any of your novels, as long as there’s a reason and they’re significant to the plot.
7. Summarize What Happened in Earlier Books
A big problem I had with my own series was summarizing whatever happened earlier. I didn’t think it was necessary, but it is. Even if you just give a few sentence explanations, just to remind the readers, it needs to be done. Remind your readers of characters and plots. Remind them of your characters goals and motivations.
8. Goals Should Change
Your protagonist’s goals and motivations are going to change throughout your series. That’s okay because that’s what makes good character development. Don’t be afraid to switch up goals or have your characters reevaluate their goals. They will learn things along the way that might change how they’re thinking and feeling.
9. Know Your World
Don’t make it up as you go along. Your world should be clear and we should know if your characters change locations. This might take some worldbuilding, so make sure you take the time to plan it out. Know where your characters are and where they’re going.
10. Know How it Will End
You should know where your series is ultimately going and how it will end. Where will your protagonist be at the end? Where do you visualize them? What will be the outcome of all their struggles? Getting there is one thing, but you should have an idea where everyone will end up.
I'm writing a story about superheroes. But I'm having a mighty difficult time coming up with superpowers with flaws that can be exploited without having to resort to a kryptonite type situation. Any tips for this?