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FFC #75 - Series approaching... maybe

Posted June 26th, 2021 at 01:20 PM by TGRF
TGRF's Fan Fiction Chronicles - Entry #75

While the fires of my creative writing have been reduced to smoldering embers, I've been devoting my writing time instead to research. I feel like I'm ready to start work on my novels, and I want to clean up any remaining issues my writing has in preparation of that.

I've mentioned what those issues are previously, but there is one I have not mentioned, largely because I was unaware of it until now. It isn't so much an issue as a simple lack of experience, but it's still worth nailing down: how to write a series.

When it comes to writing a connected series of stories, there are two basic ways of outlining it (that I have found - if you know of others, please do let me know).

The first method is what I did with Dilmir. Each story is its own complete thing: character arc and 3-act structure separate from any other story. Each story introduces a new conflict, and each conflict is wrapped up by the end. There might be a few minor subplots carrying across stories, but that's it usually. Such a series is fairly easy to plan - I don't feel like I need to practice that.

The second method is not something I've done. Each story in the series is a part of a single, large 3-act structure, which spans the entire series. The 3-act structure lends itself well to being broken up into three or four chunks, so that's how many stories you can usually get away with using this method. This is something I want to practice, because while it sounds easy on paper, actually organizing an entire series in one go is a bit more difficult.

I've formulated a template for where exactly to break up the individual stories by examining the only structure-solid example I'm aware of: Star Wars. Using that template, I've constructed a series of three fan fictions, and am currently in the process of nailing down the parts of the central character arc, and identifying side characters.

I still have a long ways to go with the development; I've gotten this far before and still scrapped plenty of stories, so I can't yet guarantee this is 'it' or that I'm 'back'. I'm purposefully taking the development slow and not rushing anything; the story is working so far and I want to make sure I have all the groundwork I need in place before I start building off of it.

In the meantime though, I'm interested to hear your thoughts on the two methods I've found of creating a series. Do you know of others perhaps?

I'll keep you updated on my progress with the series.

Until then, keep reading, keep writing, and I'll be back.

Posted in FFC
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TheAverageFan's Avatar
I generally see method 1 used for unplanned sequels like Aliens and method 2 used for trilogies planned in advance like Lord of the Rings (although ironically Star Wars uses method 2 despite not originally being planned for three films).

Both work, although I will say a lot of my favorite sequels (Terminator 2, Toy Story 2, Shrek 2, Kung Fu Panda 2 just to name a few) use the first method where they can distance themselves enough from the original to build off its strengths and reduce its weaknesses, whereas a planned series will be consistent in that regard throughout.

Posted June 26th, 2021 at 03:47 PM by TheAverageFan TheAverageFan is offline
TGRF's Avatar
@TheAverageFan That's a good point I hadn't thought of. Planning stories one at a time allows you to compensate for weaknesses and capitalize on strengths of the last book while you develop the next one... planning the whole series beforehand would definitely limit your ability to do that.

I think the second method definitely has potential for more payoff at the end, simply because you've had more time to build up to the epic conclusion. So it seems like they both definitely have their strengths and weaknesses.

Posted June 27th, 2021 at 11:55 AM by TGRF TGRF is offline
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