I have an idea for a novel series that I want to write. I'm into the first one, and I've got a pretty good idea of all that I want to happen in it. I also have some ideas as to events that I want to eventually happen.

But that's the problem: unlike this first installment, I only have these specific, often unrelated events, events that I think would be the climax of a particular story arc, without a coherent way to chart a path between them while telling a good story.

Am I alone in this? Has anyone else struggled here? What helped you?

I read these threads that ask similar questions, but they aren't quite the same:

How can I create an inter-connected plot across a series?

How can I tell if a novel idea is made for a series or a stand-alone?

Should I start writing even if I'm not sure how the story will end?

Edit: clarifying statements.

  • 4
    Well the first step is to not think of it as 'filling' up anything. You're telling a story. If you have to add things just to make it a series, that's a big hint that it was never meant to be a series in the first place. Tell the story. If it ends up as a series, great. If not, don't try to make it something it was never meant to be. Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 18:07
  • I think the best advice I have heard so far is to make the first as good as you can, period. Don't worry about whether there is a series past it, because you will hurt your first book that way
    – SFWriter
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 18:11
  • I was using "fill up" for the purpose of brevity in the title; I guess it would be more correct to say that I have certain story arc climaxes (climaces?) in mind that would not make sense if they were contained in the first story.
    – John Doe
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 19:03
  • 1
    It sounds to me like you are looking for act II. Act II is the middle of the story, the part between the beginning and the end, where things get progressively worse and your character is locked into their goal further. Every story arc needs an act II. Is that what you are after? Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 20:44
  • Sort of. It's like I need a beginning and middle of Act II, but I know how Act II ends, if that makes sense.
    – John Doe
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 0:34

1 Answer 1


I think you could take this as a seat of the pants issue, and just be a discovery writer. Write your book. Keep your notes, as you have, disconnected or not. Do not focus on the future until your story is fully written. Not necessarily fully polished, but you have a coherent start, middle and ending.

THEN assess your world and your characters. Is there another story in this setting? Does it involve the same characters? Is there another quest that is at least equally important, either for them, or for a next generation or alternate set of heroes?

You will still have time to modify your current story to allow leeway for another story, you can tweak it that way, or hint at the next story in some scenes. Leave some unanswered questions that would be setup for the next book.

But concentrate first on writing the best story you can, so IT gets published, and then see where you finally are. Don't mess up your mind by trying to think of a whole series at once.

As far as the current story goes, I wouldn't save (or transform) the universe in book One, it leaves you few places to go for book Two, except saving the universe again. That's just me, not a blanket admonition. Buffy the Vampire Slayer got away with an excellent new apocalyptic threat every season for many seasons, but I personally would find doing that much more difficult in book form.

  • +1 for good content, but would've also +1 for well used Buffy reference. Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 19:58

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