So, you want to write a book series. What needs to be done? Quite simply, there's a lot to be done with a book series, so, let's get get to it. Bear in mind, I haven't thought of everything and haven’t published a series yet, I'm referencing a number of thing I feel would be important to writing one.
1. Have a plan and overall story-line! This the biggest thing you need to have- by having a planned out story-line for your series to follow, you can divide the plot-line into more sizeable chunks (novels) in which to get your story from point A (Novel One) to point B (Novel X). You'll have to consider how each novel takes place to make sure it fits into the series frame, so you'll have a compelling story arc. You should the series planned out enough to be able write out the novels and have them make sense, but not every little detail has to be planned for or decided on when making the series arc.
2. Character List. Your characters are the main part of your story- they drive it forward. Having a list of who you want to appear in your series- their basic biography, their desires/goals, their place in society, their allegiances, etc- you'll be able to play around with them and see how they effect your story. While some characters may be static, or change only a little, most characters will change a lot.
3. World/Geography. This is yet another big deal- where does the story take place, in what sort of world/universe? Is it within a small geographic place, like a rural town that covers just over a square mile at best? Or what about over a whole galaxy, tens of thousands of light years across? As Monty Oum said: "If you figure out the world, geography determines your culture and culture determines your people." Very potent, this quote- take it to heart, and you'll have a lot of things figured out. By knowing the world, you can aid yourself in how your write your series out and make things eaier for yourself in the end.
4. Society and culture. This ties into the above entry, but you can determine your cultures of your writings. Is it something like ancient Egypt or ancient Rome, the Chinese empire of the 11###sup/sup### century of the European feudalism of the same time period? Is it something like our modern times, or the fictionalized future? Your society and culture, derived in major part due to the world its based in, is going to help drive your story, so its important that you have some research done to help make a more realistic culture.
5. Time period. This also ties into the society and culture entry, as your time period within your novel. Is is close or far away from a big point in history? Is a big societal change occurring, or is there a war? There doesn’t have to be any equivalent time period from Earth history in your novel- it could be as simple as "A technological advanced, space-faring race that’s leaving it star system because it’s sun is about to explode." Figure out where you want your story to be, in terms of its level of advancement, and it can go from there.
6. Events/timeline. The above entries of course tie into this one- what events happen to advance the story? What is it that make the story happen in the first place? It can be a big battle, but I find that it a small thing that leads to bigger things, and therefore, a story of irrevocable change. Having an idea of the timeline and events- tying into the series plan- will help you figure out what you your stories and their events, in order to create a better story.
These of course can be applied to a stand-alone novel as well. For next month’s topic, I’ll discuss a few things in several book series I’ve read or am reading.