THE DEEP CATACOMBS - Since getting a series published in The Neopian Times, I've
received a lot of mail asking how I write the series. So, instead of being
not so lazy and replying (Well, I was tired and in need of chocolate at the time…)
I decided to write an article highlighting key points to writing a series. (NB:
Please note this is based on my experience.)
Point 1: Ideas
Lets called our Author A. Now, A wants to write a series. But how does s/he
do it? Well, first off, they need an idea. Some people can just pull an idea
out of the sky, but others need to think over this. I'll use my series; The
Aisha Thieves, as an example. When I decided to write a series, I wondered hard
about what to write. Then, one night, I saw a magic show on the TV, and the
idea of thieves that used magic tricks as a distraction. And remember: Always
write your ideas down!
But before A can start writing, s/he needs to make sure they have all the
facts. If you're writing about Faeries, try to get the facts about the Faerie
right, for example, if you're doing an uber fire Faerie, see what sort of clothes
she has, what her hairs like, common items for quests etc. Small things like
that can make the series better, I've found.
Point 2: Beginning
Now, A has an idea. They've decided to write a series about a young Kougra
who goes shopping and buys a possessed toy. And now it's time to write perhaps
the most important part of the series, the beginning. This is what draws the
attention of the reader, what draws the attention of the editor and what can
decide between a good and bad series.
Lets take a paragraph and show how it can be switched between an interesting
beginning to a boring one.
Paragraph 1. Fluffy, a white Kougra decided to go to the shops to buy a Chomby
Plushie. He went to the Bazaar, and brought one.
Paragraph 1 rewritten. Fluffy, a white Kougra had been saving for months to
buy a Chomby Plushie. His owner, who gave him a measly 100nps a month, had watched
as he saved all his money for it. He was desperate for his plushie; he'd seen
one on sale and fell in love instantly. Finally, he had enough, and, with an
air of pride, had walked to the Bazaar, entered the toy shop and brought the
Plushie, all the while glad he'd taken the time to save.
As you can see, rewriting a paragraph can draw the attention in much more,
and reveal a little bit more of the character. In my personal opinion, I would
be far more likely to read a series if it started with the rewritten paragraph
in comparison to the first one.
Point 3: Developing the plot
A's finally finished their introduction and explained how Fluffy adored his
plushie and why his owner only gave him 100nps a month for pocket money. But
now they're stuck - how to develop the plot? Again, in my personal opinion,
the first part should be setting the scene, explaining characters and why something
is happening. I then try and develop the plot in part two, IE leave part two
on a cliffhanger (For example, in part 2, Fluffy discovers the Plushie is evil.)
Another point when developing the plot is too make sure that if you introduce
a new character, keep them constant! Nothing is worse than one character (or
more) changing suddenly, it destroys what has already been created and can wreck
My final point for developing the plot would have to be that you should keep
to any facts that have already been presented. For example, if you are writing
about the Grey Faerie, don't change her name, or try and re-write the facts.
Nothing would confuse a reader more is suddenly finding out her name is Louise
instead of Baelia!
Point 4: Ending
The ending, what, as the name suggests, ends your series. The ending can make
or break a series. An ending can seriously put out a dedicated reader, who's
read your entire series from beginning to end. I've decided to write a few do's
and don't for endings, based on my personal opinion.
· Wrap up loose ends. If you have a character stranded on a desert island,
don't just leave him/her there to rot. Have a boat find them, or let them be
eaten by Mynci's or something. (Just kidding about the Mynci's.) But make sure
the loose ends are wrapped up neatly. Nothing's worse than just wondering…
· Make it look like an ending. I know for my series, the Aisha thieves, it
gave a cliffhanger sort of ending, but unless you are definitely writing a sequel
(Which was my intention at the time,) you need to make it look like an ending.
· Make sure to include the immortal words "The End," at the end - just to
add that final touch. I know it's a point almost everyone remembers, but it's
a definite do!
· Use the old ending, 'And then they wake up and it's all a dream,' ending.
Despite being overused, it can really wreck something that's been built up.
The same tends to go for the following ending: - The Faerie makes it all better.
- "Cut," Yelled the director. "That's a wrap."
It's generally classed under the endings you write when you don't know how to
end a series. Try and think along the lines of originality, and if that fails,
ask a friend.
· Forget to check spelling, punctuation and grammar. Granted, we're all human
and all (Well, most of us are anyway…) but it's annoying when an obvious spelling
mistake or grammatical error sits there on the page taunting you. Get a few
friend's to proof read it if possible - for my second series, I had 4 beta's
(proof readers.) The more people that read it, the smaller the chance of mistakes
· Try and wrap everything up in a sentence or two. If it's going to take a
lot to wrap up the series, start a new part for it. When everything's made hunky-dory
in one or two sentences/paragraphs, people and ideas are forgotten and suddenly
perhaps 2 weeks/months work is wasted. Take your time - read over what you've
written and make sure nothing's forgotten.
Part 5: Proof reading
Once you've done, proof read it. Print out your series if it helps and read
through it, checking for spelling mistakes and parts that don't make all that
much sense. Re-write sentences/paragraphs that don't make all that much sense.
Ask a few friends if they can too, the more people that check through it, the
greater the chance that it will make sense etc.
Finally, all you need to do is send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org
along with your username. Then pray to many Chia gods that your article be published.
I hope this provided some help/entertainment on writing series and any feedback
would be much appreciated.