Tips for How to Write a Series

Tips for How to Write a Series
December 20, 2016 1 Comment For Authors, Writing Advice J.K. Allen

When we get a really strong story concept or premise, it can translate to more than one standalone book. And that can be a great thing since series are so popular. But writing a series is a lot more complicated than writing just a standalone novel. There’s more to keep in mind and more to balance. So let’s look at some tips for writing a series.

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  • Make it dynamic. This means your protagonist is a dynamic character In other words, they change throughout the story. This can be a positive or negative change. Meaning they can become a better or worse person over the course of the story. This change should occur over the course of each book and over the course of the series.
  • Each book needs to act as a standalone novel. You should be able to read each book independently and have them make sense. This means each book needs to have a clear story arc/plot line as well as a beginning, middle, and end. Even if you leave some things open until the end of the series, each book needs resolution. Each book should have a major story arc that gets resolved at the end of the book.
  • Have external and internal conflict woven together. Remember your protagonist needs to change. This should be driven by external and internal causes, and they should be intertwined. This is more complicated to do in a series, but worth planning out.
  • Plan for the series. Even if you’re a punster (one who flies by the seat of their pants), you need to organize the plot lines and character arcs of each book and the overall storyline. You just can’t wing a series in a meaningful way without some planning. This doesn’t mean you have to use roman numerals or outline everything down to the minutiae of every detail, but you have to have a plan for where you are going and how you get there. Plan each book’s story arc and then the overall series arc.
  • Don’t info dump. As with standalone books you don’t want to have heavy exposition. As authors, we have to know a lot of backstory, but only around ten percent of it should actually make it into the story. So even though you did all that extra planning, don’t info dump no matter how tempting it is.
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    Make sure everything stays consistent and matches throughout your series. It’s easy to forget little details or specifics, so keep a master copy of details you can refer to as you write subsequent books.

  • Watch out for sagging middles. This can occur mid book and/or mid series. This is where your planning comes to the rescue. Your thought out plot line will keep tension building and pages turning. Follow your story structure to make sure you hit each plot point. Keep your action moving forward.
  • Tie everything together. You should do this in terms of both plot and theme. This doesn’t mean you should be repetitive, but each book should connect to each other.

These tips will help guide you as you plan and write your series. What are your tips for writing a series? Share below and happy writing!



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J.K. Allen Julia Allen received her BA in Creative Writing and English from Michigan State University. She did her senior thesis in poetry under the tutelage of Diane Wakoski, but has been focused primarily on fiction as of late. Common writing themes that can be found in her work address identity and the type of strength that can be found in ordinary people. Julia is currently working on a Young Adult fantasy novel and can be found at local cafes in her hometown when writing, and painting, drawing, or reading when not.
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  1. one Comment

    Stephanie Ayers

    This is such great writing advice! Thank you for putting it together in such a coherent way.


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