Series Type Decision To Be Made

It took a little bit of thinking to decide on the type of series to use for Salmon Run.

A different series I’m currently writing is a Closed Series consisting of an odd mix of the Stand-Alone and Serial Cliff-Hanger novels. It took a lot of pre-planning, a lot of attention to detail, and very tight plotting of the books themselves. All before the first book was ever written. The series is going to be great, but it’s definitely been a challenge and a lot of hard work.

With “Salmon Run” I have limited time for the planning. By going with an Open Series I can do the series planning efficiently, focusing on the main cast of characters, the main locations, the general themes, and then focus the detailed planning on the individual books. This means I can start writing the first book much faster.

That reason alone made me decide to go with an Open Series.

Now comes the question of what type of book to use to make up the Open Series. Fortunately the ideas themselves helped me with that decision.

From one brainstorming session alone I had 8 individual ideas written down. Each could be an idea for entire complete novella. While combining ideas to make one novel (or novella) can create a deeper and more complex novel, I had just too many to shove together. And the ideas kept coming. Which means even more books.

Creating a series that is highly accessible to readers is another goal. I want readers to feel comfortable starting on a particular book that has a description that entices them personally. If they like it, then they might look at the backlist to read more about the same town and characters.

Keeping those readers with high reader satisfaction is another goal. I want readers to keep coming back. That means each book being designed from the start with this goal.

For all the above reasons I’m veering away from the Serial Cliff-Hanger and instead moving towards Stand-Alone books to make up the series.

So, it’s official. For “Salmon Run” the decision is to go with Open Series Stand-Alone novellas.

Now the more complicated planning can begin.

_______________________________
“The E-Book Experiment” chronicles the business and creative side of an experiment with the business opportunities new technology and creative outlets now afford content producers. Will it fail? Will it succeed? The only way to know is to approach it with a solid plan and try. No regrets!

I hope the details of this journey will be a help to other authors. As the process proceeds to selling the final products I will also share hard data that might be useful in the decision making process of other authors who recognize that only they can take charge of their careers. For a listing of all the posts in this series, please click here.

If you find this information useful or interesting, please encourage others to come on by and visit.

Types of Books in a Series

We’ve gone over Closed, Open and Disjointed Series. For the most part, these describe a majority of the series out there. Note I didn’t say all. There are also some series that combine elements of the above. For our purposes, however, we’ll stick with the over-all definitions.

Within the main types of series listed above are the types of books that make up the series. Figuring out what type of book to use to create the series is just as important as figuring out the series type.

Stand-Alone

As it sounds. Within the series, each book stands alone with a defined beginning, middle, and end. The individual books will usually advance the characters or long plot arc forward in some small way even if the plot of the book might be tenuously tied to the longer and larger story arc.

While the end of the book will hint to the conflict to come in the next book, show a new development, or raise a new question, it does not end in a cliff-hanger.

Pros:

With a Stand-Alone book, the series is more accessible to readers, who can start at any point.

Accessibility will typically create a strong following quicker as the readers do not have to go back and find previous books in order for the current one to make sense.

Reader has the satisfaction of a good climax at the end of each book.

Pushes the author to create stories with defined beginnings, middles, and ends. (Why this push is a good thing could be a blog post all on its own)

Cons:

A reader can more easily jump ship at any book unless given a good reason to stick around.

Author runs the risk of having big story-arcs going on for too long, or ending too soon without a suitable equally important story arc taking its place to entice the reader to keep buying and reading.

Serial Cliff-Hanger

Each book ends with a cliff-hanger. The reader must wait until the next book to find the answers to the problem/questions left dangling at the end of the previous book. While there is usually some sort of climax to an event at the end of the book, it does not have to have a major climax. The object is to keep the readers coming back for more.

Pros:

Reader is enticed to wait for and buy the next book just to get an answer to the cliffhanger of the previous book.

The ends of books can be very dramatic with tension rising throughout the story.

Gives the next book a ready-made opening.

Cons:

For the beginning of the book to make sense the reader might have to read the previous book. This makes the entire series harder to start for the reader.

There are a lot of readers who don’t care for cliffhangers endings, as there is a greater chance of feeling ‘cheated’ that there is no end to the book. If readers feel alienated, they won’t come back.

It can feel like a sales gimmick.

If the writer is not careful to give some sort of ‘story satisfaction’, the reader can leave the entire series in disgust as nothing ever seems to be concluded.

#

There are more pros and cons to each of the above, and some depend on the particular author and/or reader. A lot of the cons can be mitigated with good planning towards an eye of keeping the series and individual books vibrant, interesting, and addicting. If the author knows to be looking for the downfalls.

In the next post I will make the decision of which types would be best for Salmon Run.

_______________________________
“The E-Book Experiment” chronicles the business and creative side of an experiment with the business opportunities new technology and creative outlets now afford content producers. Will it fail? Will it succeed? The only way to know is to approach it with a solid plan and try. No regrets!

I hope the details of this journey will be a help to other authors. As the process proceeds to selling the final products I will also share hard data that might be useful in the decision making process of other authors who recognize that only they can take charge of their careers. For a listing of all the posts in this series, please click here.

If you find this information useful or interesting, please encourage others to come on by and visit.

Types of Series: Disjointed Series

Continuing the study of the different types of series so I can decide which one my new series falls into…

This post is about Disjointed Series.

Disjointed? Yep, but that doesn’t mean the book don’t make any sense. Instead, it refers to the lack of cohesion between each of the books of the series.

For instance, one book might take place on one side of the galaxy. The type of galaxy government might be the same, but the adventure, characters, and story taking place will be completely different from another adventure, characters, and story taking place on the other side of the galaxy.

In this type of series, there will usually be a few small things that tie the series together, that MAKE it a series. There will be some common ground, no matter how tenuous. This can be a specific world, continent, city, solar system, galaxy, universe, government, society, or whatever. But, after that, the stories usually don’t have a great deal to do with each other.

Each book stands by itself, telling a whole story. This is not a type of series that works well with cliff-hangers or multiple book storylines, unless combined with another series/book type.

Pros:

The beginning planning for the series is usually limited to worldbuilding the environment, but not including any big plot points. As each book is a stand-alone, the big plot points are saved for the specific book planning. This can save time in the pre-planning.

Spontaneous ideas work well in this type of series.

The author has a lot of flexibility in the type of books they write, including style, characters, theme and general plots.

Stories are not tied down to strict ‘world rules’.

It would be easier for other authors to play in your ‘playground’, if the time comes. They can write stories without impacting anything you have done as long as they follow a few base ground-rules from the Series Bible.

Easy for new readers to jump into the series.

Since the plots are insular to the individual books, it is easy to stop and start the series at any time.

Cons:

If the readers become attached to characters, well, that’s too bad. Typically the characters aren’t going to show up again. The next story will be completely new.

It can be harder to build an audience since the reader can’t be sure they will like the next book as it will likely be different from the one they read and liked.

The author runs the risk of not creating a strong enough tie between the stories to find, gain and maintain a constant readership. This can be mitigated by good planning.

The books run the risk of not feeling like a series to the readers, which means many of the perks of writing a series are lost.

Branding such a series can present difficulties because of the lack of cohesion in the stories told within it.

_______________________________
“The E-Book Experiment” chronicles the business and creative side of an experiment with the business opportunities new technology and creative outlets now afford content producers. Will it fail? Will it succeed? The only way to know is to approach it with a solid plan and try. No regrets!

I hope the details of this journey will be a help to other authors. As the process proceeds to selling the final products I will also share hard data that might be useful in the decision making process of other authors who recognize that only they can take charge of their careers. For a listing of all the posts in this series, please click here.

If you find this information useful or interesting, please encourage others to come on by and visit.

NaNoWriMo 2010 Project

I’m a little late on this, but the good news is that I’m not when it comes to the book…

Yes, it’s once again time for “National Novel Writing Month“, the madcap race to at least 50,000 words from November 1st to the 30th. That equals 1667 words per day.

Yeah, like I usually settle only for that. πŸ˜‰

This summer and fall have been crazy, but I did have time to plot out a little book for this Nano.

Genre: Science Fiction Young Adult

Title: Lost Garden of Dreams

Description: Life for a teen’s family should have calmed down after moving planets to the Grandparents Estate on New Scotland. Only Dad abandoned them to seek his fortune in the asteroid belts and the estate is going bankrupt. But life really goes crazy when she decides to fix the house-bot her father bashed senseless before he left. Now strange lights appear at night accompanied by vivid dreams of a land never seen and the house-bot insists something in the garden needs their help. All while Grandma insists on having one more estate garden show before the bank comes calling.

I’ve been writing every spare moment on the new novel and it’s progressing nicely. To everyone else participating, I hope your novel and wordcount is going well!

Blog Subscriptions Are Back!

A frequent visitor to the blog let me know something important. The subscriptions either weren’t working, or were missing.

Oops.

Well, they were ONCE there, but they sure weren’t work/existing when I tried to hunt them down myself! so, last night while I should have been writing on my NaNoWriMo book I took the time to try and figure it out.

It turned out to be a plug-in problem and a corruption of settings. Nice, two things at once.

The positive part of all this is that I did find the problems and I believe I fixed them. The new blog subscription options, including subscription by email, is now available on both the main page and on each of the blog post pages.

If anyone finds any problems, please let me know. πŸ™‚

Now, back to writing!