First and foremost, there aren’t any hard and fast secrets to a successful series, there are only ideas that, through hard work and passion, can be plausible avenues to propel your private manifesto into a story that is wildly embraced by readers the world over, or in the least hopefully your mother will like it.
Keep a journal to store all of the details of your new story world or open a new Word doc and organize that way. Bottom line, have all of your info available and easy to access while writing. The benefit to doing it on your computer is that you can back it up. And please back up even if your backing up method simply consists of emailing the doc to yourself, do what you have to do, but make a copy in the event things go south with your hard drive.
It all starts here. Do not pass go. Do not write two hundred words without this vital key ingredient. At the nexus of any series there is one common denominator, the author. It is the author who decides what world this series will take place in, develop the rules, and breathe life into each one of its inhabitants, so the first task at hand is to sell the idea of the series to yourself.
If passion is key, then how can you be sure you have it? Well, let’s be honest, a writer is not in love with every aspect of their story at all times, not with their plots, not with their characters. There is always room for improvement. However, there must be some element that excites you about the project. When I started Celestra, I was gung-ho on writing a young adult series that had paranormal elements. I spent countless hours envisioning, planning—even labeled myself a resident of this fictitious world because I felt I had logged so much time there, and best of all—I never wanted to leave. I was in love. I wanted to marry Celestra and have little book babies. Still do.
It’s important that you as the writer feel an enormous amount of excitement and exuberance when it comes to your newfound series. Nothing will kill your books faster than your own lack of enthusiasm. Your best scenes, your best books,are going to be the ones you had the most passion to work with. So, as easy as it sounds, become enamored with your idea, and all of the tender loving care you put into it will translate to your readers.
It sounds so incredibly simple. Just write a good story, enough said, we’ve all heard it before, common sense, right? It’s not that simple. First, in a series, story takes on a whole new meaning.
Usually there is a series arc. For my Celestra series, the long arc was the faction war that would help Celestra maintain control and get out from under the stronghold of the evil Counts. Fortunately for my readers, the war did not span all nine books in the series. Each book had a plot of its own, with its own arc and achieved its own goal. So, to complete a series with the right amount of story, you need to know at least roughly how many books your series will be and plan accordingly to move the story and pacing along to achieve your arc at the right time. Subplots however are a much more lenient and don’t necessarily need to be resolved right away. The nice thing about subplots is that they offer continuity and familiarity to the storyline through to the next several books. It keeps your readers involved on an intimate level and the resolutions seem more natural rather than tying everything off in a neat little bow with each book.
“We must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph.”? Elie Wiesel
Okay. Let’s be honest. There are dozens and dozens of series out there that have a writer with passion penning each word, and great stories with unbelievable characters that you either want to slap or drag to bed—so what makes a series really stand out? Marketing.
touch with them as much as possible. So, if you’re a people person, I really recommend getting to know your readers because if they’re anything like mine they are the most amazing people.