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  1. #1

    Question A Hero's Journey For A Series

    If you were to consider making a series that may be ongoing, how would you compose a hero's journey to complete a story, but making the journey continue to keep ongoing for a series?

    I am asking just to get some ideas for a series. I have more than one hero. My idea is for ongoing quest.

    Individual battles can be won and lost, but a campaign must go on.

    One of the quests I'm working on is for a robotic spaceship with a cyborg crew that is in human form is sent to explore the innermost reaches of our galaxy to find the ancestors of humans who might lead them to the very first world where beings who spawned humans came from.

    You may find this idea radical, but what if in the beginning being of pure intelligent energy with telekinetic and telepathic abilities who became known by primitive cavemen as the Leviathans, which is where levitate comes from are connected to our ancestors? As energy transformed into matter, these beings took on physical bodies. The being with the original bodies became the Lemurians who are said to be genetic engineers who created a sort of Garden of Eden to create many of the ancestors of life forms from long ago. This, of course, will be the end of the journey.

  2. #2
    There is no tomorrow RedMage's Avatar
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    You mean you want an ongoing epic series of a dozen books or more, yes? And you are wondering how to draw it out because you feel your current overall plot will only give you three or four books? That is how I am interpreting your question.

    I would say don't draw it out for the sake of drawing it out. Your readers will notice and they will not appreciate it. Take WoT for instance (though I say this with only second-hand knowledge as I have not read any of the books).

    But, if you are more of the thought "I really like my characters and I know they have lots of adventures in them but I don't know what they are" then a thought occurs to me that instead of each book having them go after the next treasure or magic talisman like a D&D game, have them instead encounter problems they have to solve. Look at the StarTrek series. In particular I am thinking of the original series, Voyager and Enterprise. In each of those they were on a journey for a specific reason. Original and Enterprise (seasons 1 & 2) it was just to go wherever, exploring and meeting people. In Voyager it was a mission to get to a specific place: Home to Earth. But they ran into fuel problems. Ran into war zones. Ran into food and water issues. Ran into spacial anomalies and mechanical wear and tear. All contributed to their story. They also made friends along the way who they felt indebted to and needing to help when called upon. So, to wrap up, give them different problems to encounter. Give them allies/friends who they will meet, befriend, say farewell to, then see again when friend is in trouble.

    Jeez, I sound like a Trekkie. I'm really not. I swear.

  3. #3
    Make the journey bigger than the character. If he/she complete a part in it (including dying) then all is well as long as the central idea remains. If the story is about someone, then multiple books could seem like you're trying to have a series for the sake of a series. Since they could be stand alone. If you separate them, is there anything binding them? Yes? There's your motive for the series. No? It's not a series.
    Igor

  4. #4
    One big thing to work with is the galaxy is very big with millions, if not billions, of planets and stars. They will land on many planets along the way, looking for help to find the first planet in the galaxy where the original ancestors of humans came from. They will find planets at war, planets in need of heroes, planets long since extinct and learn why they became extinct, and young civilizations being bullied by older more advanced worlds.

    So, that, it itself, many string it along with the same heroes on their quest.

  5. #5
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    You may find this idea radical, but what if in the beginning being of pure intelligent energy with telekinetic and telepathic abilities who became known by primitive cavemen as the Leviathans, which is where levitate comes from are connected to our ancestors?
    It's not a radical idea -- it's one of the oldest favorites in SF and the basic concept of some of the bigger stories, such as Arthur Clarke's 2001.

    In a journey to find something, you can extend the quest by making the something difficult to find, by having those searching encounter obstacles, setbacks, clues and divergent side expeditions along the way. Television shows do this all the time, and this is a television show, if I'm remembering correctly? With multiple main characters, they can each develop story arcs as they develop as people, which can be the focus of particular sets of events. It's pretty much indefinite.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by KatG View Post
    It's not a radical idea -- it's one of the oldest favorites in SF and the basic concept of some of the bigger stories, such as Arthur Clarke's 2001.

    In a journey to find something, you can extend the quest by making the something difficult to find, by having those searching encounter obstacles, setbacks, clues and divergent side expeditions along the way. Television shows do this all the time, and this is a television show, if I'm remembering correctly? With multiple main characters, they can each develop story arcs as they develop as people, which can be the focus of particular sets of events. It's pretty much indefinite.
    All excellent points! Thank you, Kat.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Modern Day Myth View Post
    If you were to consider making a series that may be ongoing, how would you compose a hero's journey to complete a story, but making the journey continue to keep ongoing for a series?
    Watch the ninth video down on this site: http://www.clickok.co.uk/index4.html

    Basically, you're doing the Harry Potter thing ; each episode is a hero's journey - going through the loop each episode.

  8. #8
    This is useful. Thank you.

  9. #9
    @PeteMC666 PeteMC's Avatar
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    Are you asking how to spin a series out ad infinitum like Star Trek or something?

    If so, a "monster of the week" combined with interconnected story arcs (which, if you're writing Doctor Who, you can repeat over and over again) seems to be the way to go.

  10. #10
    As a reviewer said, it's like every science fiction and magic show you've seen before. And, like nothing you've seen before.

    There are enough lead characters from ancient gods to cyborgs with clones with parallel consciousnesses existing on other worlds in the galaxy, to Amazons in a high tech world to extraterrestrials, to high tech AI spaceships with cyborg crews to blending and blurring stories with magic and science fiction to keep the series going.

    Imagine the Superman / Supergirl myth, Battlestar Galactica, Terminator, Predators, Farscape, Babylon 5, Eureka, Hercules, Xena, and Star Trek were all rolled into one?

    I have two unpublished manuscripts I wrote back in high school as source material I've been updating with the times.
    Last edited by Modern Day Myth; September 7th, 2012 at 04:15 PM.

  11. #11
    @PeteMC666 PeteMC's Avatar
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    Well that little lot ought to keep you going for about 100 books if the Warhammer 40k franchise is anything to go by, enjoy!

  12. #12
    We Read for Light Window Bar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Igor View Post
    Make the journey bigger than the character.
    I agree 100%. In any quest, it's the idea within the goal that counts.

    The Holy Grail in the King Arthur cycle represents the mystery of God, along with the Greco-Roman civilization that was quite literally vanishing from Britain.

    In the Tolkien books, the destruction of Sauron's ring was worthwhile, because the ring embodied totalitarian slavery and the desecration of nature itself.

    Although I enjoy The Niebelungiad, the quest is more about power, kingship and gold, therefore it doesn't touch me to the degree of the afore-mentioned (although the Niebelungiad introduced ambiguity in both love and honor, which makes it a compelling character piece).

    You may find, in writing your piece, that the themes that haunt your own subconscious emerge via the act of writing--that you don't know what your heroes seek until the first book is well nigh complete. Don't worry about that. It's why we have second drafts, during which you can salt the driving theme into every move the characters make.

    (BTW-- Kat's emphasis upon setbacks and obstacles is right on! Consider the Arthurian cycle: The setbacks that haunt the knights are legion. The many versions of the story read like a bad dream because, by its very nature, the search for perfection can NEVER end).

    A fine journey to you, MDM

    -- WB

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewT View Post
    Watch the ninth video down on this site: http://www.clickok.co.uk/index4.html
    That is a fascinating link. I don't have time to read through it entirely today, but I will...

    I am also thinking out the long term arcs for a series. My thought is to have options for the main character to grow a bit in each book, but also to have a self-contained plot in each.

    Book 1 - origin story, how main chara becomes shapeshifter. I plan for the story arc of this book to end with MC leaving home because she's now too different to stay.
    Book 2 - journey story, how main chara learns to use shapeshifter skills & begins to learn other magic. I plan for the story arc of this book to end with MC achieving some feat that demonstrates her mastery of skills.
    Book 3 - quest story, how main chara uses skills to attain goal for good of the realm. The end of this story arc, obviously, will be attainment of the quest object.
    Book 4-? - ...not entirely sure, additional quests, a love story, maybe a Good v. Evil showdown. This is the part of the series that I think others have covered pretty well in this thread.
    Book n - by the end of the series, MC is in a position of power, and probably acting as an advisor to an up & coming young hero, who might or might not spawn their own series.

    As the series opens up, there is the possibility to loop back and cover these same arcs for what were initially secondary characters. And I suppose after the Final Showdown between Good and Evil the characters can all retire into a golden age at the end of the series. I'm still plotting.

  14. #14
    SF Author SR_Seldon's Avatar
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    Most of the answers seem to relate more to Fantasy tales. That structure, even though it often gets used in SF, didn't work for me. I was after a story that I could continue indefinitely and I started out knowing the ending.

    The main character for the series of Novels I'm currently working on is a space trader (like Han Solo, Malcolm Reynolds, and Hober Mallow). He will retire from the business eventually, never having become anything else. It is the journey within that position of space trader that I'm concentrating on. He is struggling for a goal, to be independent and pay of all his debts. At the same time, at least early in his career, he keeps expanding his debts. He buys a brand new ship (when I started from), he upgrades it, he buys an expensive AI, he further upgrades the ship. At the same time I give him personal tragedies and opponents to tackle. The stories I'm writing are slowly building to a war that he will have an important role in. During the war stories I'll start transitioning the focus to his son.

    It is all about having a story arc and keeping the character(s) developing. For some characters that is their rise to greatness or their fall to infamy. Others it is the basic struggles of life.

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