How To Plan Out A Series

One of the most popular ways to write fantasy is through a series. Readers enjoy series because it offers them a chance to stick with the same characters over an extended period of time. They get to watch them evolve through a series of events and become very attached to their survival and happiness. Series keep us on edge every moment, waiting for the next book to come out or waiting for the final conclusion. If you’re thinking about writing a series of your own, here are a few tips to help you out.

Step One: Map Out Your Plot

One of the most important things about writing a great series is making sure that your story can be carried over several books. Now if you’re just starting out with an idea, it can seem like a lot to think about right off the bat. But if you’re looking to plan a series, I imagine you have at least some basic idea of what major events happen when. Use those to understand whether you’ve got enough story.

Think about how many books you want to write. There’s no magic number (although three is quite popular); each story idea is unique. Remember, each book needs to have its own plot arc: a clear purpose that is worked towards over the course of the novel definitively fulfilled at the end. Then on top of that, each book needs to contribute to the overall series arc. The series arc itself also has its own purpose that must be worked towards at each stage. If you can see all of these main elements, congratulations! Your idea has enough substance to write a series.

Step Two: Get To Know Your Characters

I talk all the time about getting to know your characters on an intimate level. I’ve suggested creating character profiles and conducting an in depth interview with your character. When writing a series, this is especially crucial.

Over the course of your books, you’re going to be playing around with multiple important characters and multiple big character arcs. Outside of your main character, several secondary characters are going to have significant arcs that will influence the story. In each book, your main character will go through a change. You have to clearly see that change each time you pick up the next book and introduce a new change that will begin to play out. Your secondary characters will evolve over the course of the series, and each book doesn’t have to have a specific change for them.

In order to accomplish this, you need to absorb your characters’ personalities, motivations, and goals. You need to know them better than you know yourself. Using the tools I’ve linked above will assist you.

Step Three: Consider your world.

Your worldbuilding will need to be detailed enough for your readers to learn new places and new details each time they pick up an installment. Think about the Harry Potter universe and how expansive it is, how J.K. Rowling introduced us to new places and magical aspects every time we picked up one of her books. Take the time to ask questions about your world and dive deep into everything from geography down to individual family life. Your magic system will also need to be built to last as it will be a crucial backbone as your characters move throughout your fantastical universe. Dream as big as you want.

Are you ready to start? Happy writing!

Creating Subplots

A great fantasy story must always incorporate more than just a main plotline. Smaller stories and adventures should be included to give more insight into the characters and build up to the climax of the main story. Subplots tend to show progress and growth in a character without necessarily being part of their main journey or goal. These subplots can focus on the main character and their secondary goals or a secondary character and their own storyline. All subplots should relate back to the main plot and intersect the story in some way. That could mean relating back to the main themes or showing progress in the characters that are essential to the main journey.

Types of Subplots

There is a wide variety of subplots to choose from when looking at your own novel. Here are a few useful ones to recognize:

  • One of the most common and most recognizable subplots are romantic subplots. The main character falls in love with a secondary character who in turn reveals a lot of intimate information about the former character’s motivations, dreams, and personality traits. Romantic subplots are often the easiest to incorporate into most genres; with fantasy, they tend to walk hand in hand.
  • Another solid subplot idea for fantasy is something brewing in the political world. My own book explores this in the way of political tension, subverting alliances, and the constant presence of impending war. This subplot is often a great way to bring in detailed worldbuilding and historical background into your story.
  • It is always a great idea to show conflict between main and secondary characters. This can include a conflict with a villain that perhaps exists on the fringes of your main plot or an argument with a friend or lover that changes the main character’s course. These subplots add depth to your characters and often can have a transformative effect on a character’s psyche.
  • Anything that showcases a character’s strengths, flaws, and motivations can be incorporated into the story as a subplot. You’re not limited to the types of ideas I’ve listed above.

A Tip On Identifying and Incorporating Subplots

When I finished the first draft of Chasing Fae, one of things I did was take several sheets of paper and draw out several large arcs. I then went through my book and labeled each event of the main plot on one arc. On the next few, I took some time to pick out the events in my novel that didn’t connect directly to the main storyline. Those, I then was able to sort and begin to create some subplot arcs. Wherever I saw gaps, I made notes on what to write to fill them in to make my subplots complete. The final arc I used to create a character arc so I could definitively see how Grace changed and grew over the course of the entire novel. If there wasn’t a logical jump between one point and another, I created a new event to add in my second draft and create a new subplot off of that.

I would highly recommend this method if you’re having trouble identifying what kind of subplots you want to incorporate or what subplots you already have brewing. It also serves as a great tool to break your story down and really gain a deep understanding of your characters and your plot.

I hope this has been helpful. Happy writing!

Music as Inspiration

Hello everybody! I got inspired to write a post on music from my boyfriend, Daniel, and some discussions I had on Twitter yesterday with people interested in finding what music inspired people to write.

Music has always inspired me to create. I like picking out crescendos and dips in the music in which the most important moments of a scene lies. Nine times out of ten, I will have music on when I’m writing. It helps me to focus. I created a long playlist for my series that inspire different scenes, different moods, and different environments, and it’s always helped put me in the mood.

I would like to offer a good number of suggested songs for the fantasy genre in particular to help inspire you to create something amazing. I’ve sorted everything below by the type of scene or interaction or character I envision the song representing. I hope you all enjoy my choices and interpretations!

Note: All of these song selections have come from my playlist for my series. Feel free to comment on your opinions of these songs or offer a suggestion to add to the list!

Strong Willed Characters

  • Whatever It Takes by Imagine Dragons
  • Bird Set Free by Sia
  • Unstoppable by Sia
  • Rise Up by Andra Day
  • Something Wild (Acoustic) by Lindsey Stirling
  • Magnetic by Jessie J
  • Yellow Flicker Beat by Lorde
  • Minimal Beat by Lindsey Stirling
  • Moments by Tove Lo

Sad Scenes That Require Your Character to Reflect and Pull Themselves Up By the Bootstraps

  • Some Nights by fun.
  • Goodnight Goodnight by Maroon 5
  • Trade Mistakes by Panic! at the Disco
  • This is Gospel by Panic! at the Disco
  • Don’t You Worry Child by Swedish House Mafia

Breakups

  • Molly (feat. Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco) by Lil Dicky

Relationship Tension

  • Irresistible by Fall Out Boy
  • Anything Could Happen by Ellie Goulding
  • Something Better by Audien, Lady Antebellum
  • Infinity by One Direction
  • Love’s Just a Feeling (feat. Rooty) by Lindsey Stirling
  • If I Lose Myself by OneRepublic
  • Alone Together by Fall Out Boy
  • Night Changes by One Direction
  • Coming Back For You by Maroon 5

Passionate Relationships

  • The Last of the Real Ones by Fall Out Boy
  • Good Thing by Sage The Gemini, Nick Jonas

Sexual Tension/Release

  • PILLOWTALK by Zayn

Those “Prove Yourself” Moments

  • The Arena by Lindsey Stirling
  • Immortals by Fall Out Boy
  • Centuries by Fall Out Boy
  • My Song Knows What You Did In The Dark by Fall Out Boy
  • The Phoenix by Fall Out Boy
  • Viva La Vida by Coldplay
  • Just One Yesterday by Fall Out Boy, Foxes
  • No Place Like Home by Todrick Hall

Happy Ending Scene After A Long Struggle

  • Straight Into the Fire by Zedd

Underestimated Characters That Are Destined to Succeed

  • Castle by Halsey

Delicious Villains (very specific type of villain)

  • Bartholomew by The Silent Comedy

Anthems to Character Pairings (can apply to relationships or friendships)

  • Homemade Dynamite (feat. Khalid, Post Malone, and SZA) – REMIX by Lorde
  • Creatures Of The Night by Hardwell, Austin Mahone

Fight Scenes

  • Say Amen (Saturday Night) by Panic! at the Disco