Why Write a Series?

I got asked on Facebook a few days ago why I wanted to write a series. I guess that’s a pretty valid question. I mean, a series takes a metric shit ton of work, of planning, interweaving threads, dropping in little nuggets of foreshadowing, and all kinds of other fun little tweaks and tricks to make it all play out the way it’s intended. It got me thinking though, about the idea of writing a series. The notion of putting this whole thing on paper and making it all make sense is sort of mind boggling when you take a step back and look at it. Even more so if you’re like me and have two different series kicking around in your head. That, however, is a horse of a different color all together.

 So, back to the topic at hand: Why write a series?

 The idea of a series, at least in fantasy, seem to be a normal thing, regardless of what type of fantasy it is you’re writing. There’s the Lord of the Rings, The Dresden Files, Anita Blake and on and on and on. So, why the series? Easy, because it’s freaking fun. It’s nice getting attached to these characters, holding on to them, watching them grow, change, fail and triumph. It’s a lot like life. There’s more to it than that.

 In a way, it’s easier. I know, I know. Sounds like madness right? It’s really not. Look at it this way, you’ve sat down and created this whole world. You’ve filled it with character’s, factions, agendas, political bodies, and what have you. You have all this stuff just teeming out of your notebook and, in the end, it’s just too damn much. You try to include all that in one book, you’re going to end up with a tome that makes The Stand look like a pamphlet. More importantly though, there’s going to be too damn much going on. It’ll confuse readers. Hell, it’s going to confuse you.

 Putting it all into a series makes more sense for a couple of reasons. The first, obviously, is organization and space constraints. In a series you have the option of focusing on parts of a macrocosm on a much smaller scale. You get to focus on that one important battle or that one scheming faction and how they’re about to desecrate the face of your intrepid hero.

 Second, it lets you fully explore those things that you created. You can now really get into the meat of what makes your religious cult a bunch of zealots, their beliefs, their sins, the stuff that really makes them pop. Also, by fully exploring these ideas it helps you to immerse the reader and pull them into your world without leaving them asking all those questions like: “Why did Super Bad Guy X decide to slaughter Protagonist Q’s family before the book started?” or “So this war that happened, what sparked again and why was this guy exiled from Super Awesome Military Unit?”

 Most important though, the sheer fun you get to have putting in little nuggets of foreshadowing that won’t come to fruition for another…six or seven books (DAMN YOU JIM BUTCHER!). I mean really, it’s kind of an awesome feeling just to be reading along, minding your own business when WHAM you stumble across something from the first book you read in said series. Then something in your head clicks and you realize that little seed from back then just came to fruition.

 To get zen for a moment, the main thing to keep in mind, if you’re reading or writing is that the whole thing is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a peep show, not a porno.



5 Responses to “Why Write a Series?”

  1. Great point about a series. After you get attached to the characters, it’s hard to just stop with one book. Then comes the fun (and hard work) of tying it all together.

  2. Excellent post! That is precisely why I also am working on a series. One spends so much time and care creating a world that various conflicts naturally appear and beg to be explored. Foreshadowing and interweaving is like throwing a surprise part for a friend; you do all the work beforehand and know they will get a kick out of it later.

  3. […] Why Write a Series? (pdonovanauthor.wordpress.com) […]

  4. Excellent post!

  5. […] Why Write a Series? (pdonovanauthor.wordpress.com) […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: