Similar to the issues brought up in Structuring a novel like a television or graphic novel series, I'm adjusting a saga I'd conceived as an animated TV series of ~42min episodes, 13 episodes per season. Each season is a self-contained arc of characters and locations within the longer saga.

Now I'm writing the script, and have scaled back the artwork to a more manageable "animated" graphic novel (my artwork with some interactive elements) aimed for web and tablet. I think there aren't really any publishing rules for this format, but the 42 minute episode is roughly analogous to a 48 page comic, so essentially the TV script adjusted to an animated comicbook.

Here's my problem: I have the original title of the big saga which also works as the title of the "pilot" episode. I never had official names for the individual seasons, and I'm not sure how to refer to them now (volumes?) or how to label the individual episodes (issues?).

I'm not trying to be post-modern and deliberately blur media conventions (calling my symphonies "architecture" and my comicbooks "TV shows"), or cute like George Lucas and announce I have a serialized saga prematurely. But I intend to stick to my structure: 13 sequential "episodes" for each story arc "book" in the series, however it's called.

How can I create a naming/numbering convention that is future-proof, and clearly communicates the nature of the volume/episode structure to the reader?

  • 2
    How are you publishing them? Each "episode" individually, or collected in volumes by "season"? Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 22:52
  • @MonicaCellio Individually…. Maybe someday as complete "books", but the idea is to be able to publish individual episodes before all 13 are finished. Each episode has an arc, like a TV episode should.
    – wetcircuit
    Commented Mar 3, 2018 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


Seems like almost any combination of {Season,Volume,Book}# - {Episode/Chapter/Issue}# is fine. You could choose to restart the smaller number or not. Even TV shows have a mix from what I've seen, though netflix appears to retcon all of them to Season X / Episode 1 (starting from 1 for each season).

I've at minimum seen television play with all of these. Some animated series have books instead of seasons (Avatar: Last Airbender primary among them; Or Stranger Things with chapters). As long as your target audience groks what you're throwing at them, I don't think it matters much. And it seems like you know enough about your structure to simply do the same thing everyone else does.

I'd recommend restarting episode/chapter counts for each season as it is simpler to talk about, which is probably what you want. But otherwise, pick your words for the mind space & tone they create if there isn't accepted terminology for your medium. If you're managing your own publishing, it won't matter and if you're doing the other thing then the publisher will likely handle this themselves.

  • 1
    "Whatever you want" was the answer I was afraid of… although it is the right answer, I was hoping to be pointed in a direction. "Trust the reader" is probably the best advice. Maybe I will go in the opposite direction and see if I can find words that evoke something of my world. Just learned Dickens used a music structure "staves" for A Christmas Carol…. I've seen "Program" and "Transmission" to evoke technology. I'll see if I can feature it, rather than go for generic utilitarian.
    – wetcircuit
    Commented Mar 3, 2018 at 16:29
  • Douglas Adams used "fit" in the original radio scripts for The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" - so Fit the First, Fit the Second and so on. Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 16:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.