Writing a Series: Featuring Joseph Campbell's "The Hero's Journey" and Advice from
We have all considered writing a series of books once or twice (or, be honest, a thousand times) but have that moment of hesitation before even starting. The reason for many of us being trapped in the "considering stage" is because of how difficult it can be to keep organized when writing a series. How stand-alone does each book need to be so that last cliff-hanger is not too overwhelming? Where does one cut content into a triligoy, or four book project? Should one do a prequel? Can one's story even have a sequel? These questions can be enough for one to stumble and give up all together since organizing a series can prove to be overwhelming. Thankfully there are resources available for those who are adamant about getting their series written.
Earlier today, The Writer's Circle posted an incredibly helpful graph that frames book one of your novel series.
For those of you who may not know, "The Writer's Circle" is an exceedingly popular blog that offers writers resources on writing, publishing, online creative classes and much more! Presently you can find The Writer's Circle on Facebook, Tumblr, and their personal website: The Write'rs Circle.
Their mission is to help connect, encourage, and highlight writers around the world. So, since you and I all live in the world do not hesitate to visit their site for advice on just about anything a writer would need to get started, or enhance their writing.
If you are serious about writing a series of books, then you can not afford to miss out on Joseph Campbell's "The Hero's Journey." I should begin by explaining what this resource even is simply because when I first encountered the whole thing, I had absolutely no idea what kind of writing tool I had stumbled upon. "The Hero's Journey" is Joseph Campbell's mythic formula of how to structure your protagonist's journey from start to finish. The formula consists of a three act structer that in all consists of twelve total steps. This is put simply in a visual reprisentation of the formula I found online.
In both of these visual reprisentations of Campbell's fomula, the three act structure
and the twelve steps are demonstrated for the writer to use. All three acts, and the entirety of the twelve steps of the formula enable you to use and reuse its rules for each volume of your series. As the graph provided by "The Writer's Circle" states: each book should be stand alone with only a few loose ends left to tie up. Thankfully you can use "The Hero's Journey" the exact same way with much more of a "hand-holding" structure. Campbell's "Hero's Journey" is available in any book store for purchase, but many adaptations written by fellow authors exist online for free so I will provide links to my personal favorites here and here. You will see in either of the links provided that each step has been outlined in more detail, enabling you to write your story in easier to digest stages.
These formulas can also be applied to short story writing, as I learned from the exceedingly talented, Antonya Nelson. Whether you intend to use either of these formulas for a short story, or a series of books, I hope these resources prove helpful. I have been dedicatedly using these formulas for my own stories and can honestly say they are a godsend. A godsend that earns its place in any writer's toolbox.