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January 26th, 2003, 10:41 PM
I have been trying to get myself going with writing again and actually accomplish something for a good while. I have been working on it off and on, but haven't really started a story yet as much as I have fleshed out the universe that it will be taking place in. I want to set up a sort of a series, a trilogy, maybe more depending on how it comes out. I don't want to think that I have made this universe for one story. How should I go about writing so that the series doesn't die out with one book? I will post a little later after I gather my thoughts about the general outline of the series and I would ask for a little criticism.

January 27th, 2003, 01:53 AM
You could make books that could be read on their own with an overarching theme. Or you could have them directly continue on like Jordan and Martin. Or you could wrap up each book but leave enough threads hanging for continuity.

January 27th, 2003, 02:38 AM
Or you could first write a single novel and worry about that. THEN start thinking about sequels.

Quite many of bestselling series' first volumes could stand alone (Jordan's Eye of The World, Feist's Magician, etc). Many of them were conceived as stand-alones. In any case, it's not a good idea to be thinking much about sequels when the first work isn't finished yet, because you don't know what will happen to your characters over the series, both emotionally and plot-wise (believe me, even if you have a plot ironed out, unless you're very different from the majority of writers, it'll change as you go along). Bottom line: leave possibilities open, but think about one novel at a time. Any too-early plans may well fall flat.

January 27th, 2003, 10:58 PM
Thanks for the advice. Maybe I am getting a bit ahead of myself here. Anyway, I need a little more advice if you don't mind. I am having trouble (not just with this story, but with all my writing) in creating the conflict. Perhaps the biggest component of the story. I can desgin lands, characters, items, everything, but conflict. I don't want to do the traditional-here is a good guy, here is a bad guy with opposing views and they are going to fight it out. I want something a little more original, but I am having trouble gathering my thoughts about it. Anyway, here is what I have so far.

A small clan of people (these people are like monks-they have certain beliefs and practices in their culture that make them powerful people) live on an island just big enough for them and with just enough resources for them. The island is their home. And because of this, reasons unknown, a tradition that has lost its meaning, but is still seen as very important, they don't stray from the island. No one has ventured beyond its shores, but no one knows why or speaks of it, old fires that are best not rehashed. *Something* happens to the main character that turns him away from his people and the island and he leaves. When he reaches the real world, he learns of the horrors that plague the world.

Now my problem is the *Something*. And if this something should be the antagonist. Like he and his best friend leave the island and they get seperated somehow. With their abilities (these are radically different people from the rest of the world) they rise in power and eventually come into conflict with each other. That has been the thing really brewing in my mind. But, I cannot think of this something that would turn these people away from their home especially after the culture has beaten it into people for years that you do not leave.

Please assist me! Thanks in advance!

January 28th, 2003, 12:21 AM
Okay, maybe this is too cliche, but have you considered a mutual love interest? The antagonist could kidnap her because he knows that she's going to marry the protagonist - hence this sets him out on a quest for his one true love.

Or maybe the two characters do something together that gets them both kicked out of the society? (Kill someone, burn down a temple, spike the holy fountain?) Along the same lines they could be born with deformities or some sort of anomalous powers that make the rest of the island inhabitants shun them and eventually force them to leave.

Conflict arises when the writer establishes a threat to the interest of the protagonist. It's not just an obstacle that has to be overcome (although that's part of it). The best conflict comes when there are direct consequences to the actions of the protagonist.

(Does that make any sense?)

January 28th, 2003, 01:19 AM
First, don't worry about a sequel until you have the first book written and sold. After that, you can certainly write more stories in the same universe. That's how I do things. Of the 8 books I have 'in the pipe', including my current WIP, 7 of them occur in the same universe. Most of them have different characters and settings and even take place in wildly different time periods, the universe is consistant and as people read the books, they will get a better understanding of how everything is put together from clues across time and space.

But none of it matters until that first book gets published.

January 28th, 2003, 02:09 AM
Along the same lines they could be born with deformities or some sort of anomalous powers that make the rest of the island inhabitants shun them and eventually force them to leave.
(Does that make any sense?)

That is another thing I was seriously considering. The protaganist and antagonist would both be powerful people and I thought maybe if they were born different and the effects begin to wear on the people. They are a threat to this traditional society and thus are expelled from it. The only thing that has kept me back from that is that I found it odd that these best friends jsut both happened to have the same thing-but then I thought... wait a sec, they are both different, they would likely become friends out of necessity (no one else would be their friends in such a society).

Thanks for that bit of inspiration.

January 28th, 2003, 11:59 AM
Another fairly cliched *Something* that could have driven the person from the island is a natural disaster of some sort... perhaps they were out fishing in the ocean and got caught up in a storm. The conflict in a story doesn't necessarily HAVE to involve an individual.

Perhaps the true conflict is to be found in trying to return back to this island. Or, another twist, perhaps the real conflict is AFTER the character returns to the island and realizes that he doesn't belong there anymore.

I know all of these have been done before, but frankly so has the isolated person goes to the world at large and discovers himself so...

January 28th, 2003, 05:19 PM
That is a possibility to Chlestron. You are right, just about everything has been done before in some form or another, there is very little that hasn't been used.

Hereford Eye
January 28th, 2003, 06:16 PM
Yeah, Shakespeare just about covered the map. Chaucer had painted a good bit of it before Bill. But people kept writing anyway. Not because it hadn't been done but because it isn't the plot that's important. It's the people. And the author's way of presenting the people; what he has them say and what he says about them.
Planning the series may ambitious! It may be hubris. But, if you know you want to write that way; then that has been done before too. I set up a world with the kinds of people I wanted in that world and then I decided what the initial conflict was about. From that I can write a hundred stories because each one has context and structure already in place. But my dream says that all these people are about to have their world turned upside down by an outside influence and another hundred stories spring from the turn of events.
It isn't so much carrying the same characters through a century of torture; it's studying the meaning of whatever world you build. Heinlein drew it on his basement wall. Modesitt wrote the Recluse side of things for years and then turned around and studied the other side. And Robin Hobb. And Cherryh. And McCaffrey. and...and..
If you want to plan on the grand scale; do it!
But - as other have pointed out - do it!