TL;DR – I've written a one off novel and short stories before, but I'm embarking on my first series now and I'm curious about the different things one needs to bear in mind with a series.
I finished the first draft of my first ever novel last year. It was a low fantasy, character-driven one off story, based around this idea I had of skyships – essentially hybrid pirate ships and dirigibile airships. Boy goes on adventure, boy discovers life is not just a happy adventure; violence, betrayal and heartbreak ensues.
It was fine. I'd say the first half is pretty good. The first two thirds are decent, but the last third is a mess. I was going to rewrite it but I haven't touched it for a year and I decided to put it aside for now and focus on other things.
I have a series idea, and it's currently in the brewing stage. I've started reading and researching and thinking about world building, I have a bunch of notes I've made on thoughts ideas characters etc.
But I'm a little worried because I don't know how exactly to go about writing a series, especially one that I'd like to be reasonably epic with overarching stories and foreshadowing etc.
Stephen King's "On Writing" was an essential part of me finishing the first draft of my novel last time. He taught me I don't need to plan shit out in every detail, I instead should see myself as an archaeologist, discovering what the story is as I write it and then going back to edit it.
I love writing like this, it's when I'm at my best i think – but I worry that it won't cut it for a series. How am I supposed to foreshadow and figure out how the overall story is going to work if I don't finish the entire series first without then going back to edit it?
I'm not a huge planner, so I don't like the idea of working everything out to the smallest detail and then filling in the gaps, that doesn't really suit my writing style – but is this the only way to write a series?
Does anyone have any good guides or resources that will help me figure out plotting story arcs over a series?
How much time do you guys spend on World building? How much detail do you go into? I don't intend to be creating a new language or anything since my story will be loosely based on South Indian history and mythology so I'll just be using a variation of my parents language more than anything.
I read stuff by Steven Erikson and I find myself so intimidated. He has some brilliant essays about dialogue and characterisation etc, but he also talks about how before writing the first Malazan book he had the entire world and religion and everything figured out. I had planned to figure that out as I went… Was i being naive?
Essentially, I'm a little bit lost and a little bit terrified about starting my series, even if I haven't got an over arching story yet (just a rough world and some characters really) and I am looking for advice on where to start because I don't want to sit here worrying forever, but I want to make sure I'm starting in the right place and putting my energy into the right things.