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A Guide to Writing a Series

by rider_galbatorix


If you're looking for something to write for the Neopian Times, one section you should look at is series.

What are series? Series are more than just long stories, they're long stories broken into parts. Remember that, for it is important. Now, as for writing a series, well, it takes a lot of time.

For one thing, if you haven't really written anything for the Neopian Times, you may want to start with short stories first. Series are long and arduous, though they are what stories are really about, allowing you to really go in-depth with the plot and characters.

Now, the first thing you need to know before writing a series is that you have to submit all of the parts at once, rather than writing one chapter a week. Why? There are two reasons.

The first reason is that then you would be under pressure to write a series, which isn't good. Writing is supposed to be fun, not something you're made to do. It might take out most of the fun of writing. Secondly, what if a writer leaves Neopets, or doesn't submit the next parts? The Neopian Times would be filled with half-finished stories that would look sloppier than my Poogle's bedroom.

But, on the other hand, you get a trophy for each part of a series that you write. If it has four parts, you'll get four trophies, and all four will count for getting that exclusive Neopian Times avatar, and if one of the parts is published in a special edition of the Times, you'll get that special prize!

Now then, back to the purpose of this guide: telling you how to write a series. For one, not that I'm discouraging you, but have you ever written before? Writing even an article or a short story for the Times is something that's difficult and time consuming. A short story has a minimum of 1,200 words, and an article requires 1,000. Each part of a series must have at least 1,500 words, and there must be at least 2 parts. That's at least 3,000 words, and usually even more than that!

So, on to writing your story.

1. Think of the Ideas

The very first thing that you should do is think up of ideas for your story. Some people will say that you can get ideas from real life, but according to me, Neopets itself has a plethora of ideas.

Honestly, there are hundreds of ideas for stories that you can get. Some places that you can go to get some ideas are the Neopedia, the old war comics, and even the descriptions on some items. Can you find an unanswered question, some loophole? You can base your story on that.

Now, exactly what you should look for is a plot. Which direction is your story going? What is it about? Where will it take place? Maraqua? Kreludor? The sky's the limit in this regard.

Now, you should spend some time thinking up of your characters. You can take characters from plots that already exist, but you're more than welcome to make up your own.

Remember, series are all about going in-depth with things. Concentrate on your characters, will they change? Your main character can easily start out as an evil villain, and gradually change into a noble hero. Or the opposite.

Just remember to have fun with it.

2. Splitting Up Your Story, and Cliffhangers.

Is it necessary to split up your story from before? Well, it depends. You should have an idea on what each part is going to be about, it only has to be a few lines. An example is:

  1. Magical Artifact is Stolen
  2. Heroes are called
  3. There's a battle
  4. The Artifact is recovered

Yes, that up there is the story broken up into four parts. You can always expand on them later, but you should have some idea of how you're going to finish it.

Another thing, don't try to stretch your series. If it only needs four parts, don't try to get it to seven. Also, if you think you need a few more parts to do your story justice, than that's fine as well. It's all up to the story.

Now, cliffhangers, something that a series needs. What's a cliffhanger, you ask? Well, it's basically an ending to a chapter that ends on some dangerous note, like, well, leaving some of the characters hanging off a cliff.

Cliffhangers are nearly everywhere, because they're good. The Neopets Team uses cliffhangers in their plots, and most of the parts of series end in cliffhangers. Take the example of the Faeries' Ruin, almost every chapter ended in mystery. Why?

Well, remember that your series is in parts. You need something to keep your readers interested, you need to make them want to know the next part of the story.

Not, of course that every part should end in a big surprise or shock, but their should be some mystery at the end of each part that will keep the interest of the readers.

3. Writing Your Series

Now, this is the most difficult and hard part. It's also the most fun and time consuming. In short, this is what really writing is about.

The first thing is, don't rush with your work. Do not try to finish your series in one go. It's hard enough to finish an article or short story in an afternoon, and much more for a series.

Also, take breaks. Writing for the Neopian Times is good, it's when you start having dreams about being chased by giant white Weewoos in a mythical land of jelly you have to draw the line.

Next, remember the points you made to divide your story into? Expand on each of them for an entire part, it's not too hard, trust me.

Also, take care of your parts. You could either save them separately, but make sure you don't delete some of the chapters. All of your work goes into the drain then.

Finally, remember, writing is expressing what could have been said in shorter words, but was expanded. I highly doubt any of you understood that better than I understand the daily Haiku, so let me give an example.

Let's say that your story is about a thief, going to steal something. Now, one way you can write is this:

Rema looked like a yellow Aisha, but she was actually a thief.

You could rewrite it like this:

Rema, a yellow Aisha, walked calmly down the street, after all, no one would suspect her, with her normal Lost Desert clothing, that she was going to steal the Desert Orb. After all, how could anyone see the dagger so cleverly hidden in her boot? Or that she had stashed several Thick Smoke Bombs to release should there be danger?

That, was much better, wasn't it? Really, in a series you don't have to really worry about length, so you're free to get really into the plot, theme, and characters.

Last of all, have fun!

4. After You're Done

Now, you've spent a good few hours writing your story, and now you're ready to submit!

First of all, use the normal spell check program to see that every thing's spelt right. Then, read it again. Even if there's no errors that your program can check for, there are other ones. For example, writing 'write' instead of 'right'.

After you've read it, you can have someone else read it, usually I would advise a friend. Most don't prefer the boards, as it's easy for someone to steal your series.

Anyway, as long as YOU think your story's okay, that's fine. Actually, that's the thing that really counts, that above all, you should like what you write.

Now, go to the The Neopian Times, and submit your series. Remember, you have to break it up, if you haven't saved it as parts. Next, give it a suitable title. It's not really necessary to over think the title. Just give something that you find is okay.

Now, all that's left is to wait. Soon, you should get a neomail. If you've gotten in, congratulations! If not, if you've been rejected, look at what the neomail says. If something specific is given, like it had bad grammar, or you used a story that has been used a lot, then change it.

However, if you've got the message 'we had too many good entries', it means that there were simply to many entries and they couldn't fit in yours. In that case, you could re-read your work, and make a few changes. You don't really have to make any major changes, I've received this message several times, and all I did was change a few sentences and re-submitted. After a few more attempts, I got in.

The last thing I'm going to say is, don't give away your story. If someone neomails you saying that they really liked your story, and only a few parts have been published, don't give any hints about the rest of the story. It kills the excitement and suspense of series, which is really an essential part.

So, there you have it. A complete guide for writing a series. So, what are you waiting for? Get your Battle Quills ready!

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