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92 votes

How can I contact JK Rowling for permission to publish my sequel for the Harry Potter series?

I'm sorry, but the chances of JK Rowling letting an amateur, unpublished writer use her ideas is zero. She and her partners have billions of dollars riding on the HP franchise. If she is tired of ...
Amadeus's user avatar
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52 votes
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Should I end my book on a major cliffhanger?

I would personally not do this. First of all, not giving a satisfying ending to a story is almost always very, very irritating to readers. Leaving things unfinished after a large period of buildup and ...
Sciborg's user avatar
  • 8,742
50 votes

Can a successful book series let the bad guy win?

It is perfectly fine for your story to end with the "bad guy" winning. Consider for example George Orwell's 1984: He loved Big Brother Complete and utter defeat. 1984 is one of last century's ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
49 votes

How can I contact JK Rowling for permission to publish my sequel for the Harry Potter series?

In an interview, Stephen Fry (who has recorded the audio-book versions of the Harry Potter series from the start) recalled how, at a book-signing that J.K. Rowling was doing, there were ...
casual user's user avatar
35 votes
Accepted

Avoiding spectacle creep

There are more things you can do with stakes than escalate ad nauseam. First, you can vary the threat. For example, Buffy jokes more than once about "saving the world again". The difference comes ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
33 votes

How to Write a Colossal Cast of Characters

It is neither necessary nor desirable to fit everything you've generated for a story into the story In my reading I have encountered, broadly speaking, two different kinds of stories. There are ...
Jedediah's user avatar
  • 8,659
31 votes
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In a series, do the stakes have to be higher than in the book before?

There are two main mistakes that authors make when it comes to raising the stakes from one story to the next. The first is that they either raise the stakes too quickly, or simply don't know when to ...
F1Krazy's user avatar
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30 votes
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Is there a method to determining how many books long your series needs to be?

I would first point out that beginning writers with no commercial success will approximately never sell a multi-book series. The rule for a multiple-book story is relatively simple: The first book ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
28 votes

Avoiding spectacle creep

I'm sure many people here are familiar enough with episodes of Doctor Who from 2005 onwards to know they faced this problem. Here's my advice: do what the series did from 1963 to 1989 instead. In ...
J.G.'s user avatar
  • 9,567
27 votes

What keeps most authors writing after receiving multiple rejections?

Welcome to the world of writers. That isn't sarcasm, by the way, that's truth. Let me tell you about my own tale, with a novel (series) called Altar of Warlords. This story has gone through a dozen ...
Fayth85's user avatar
  • 5,421
23 votes

How can I Switch Protagonists Between Books?

...you decide to change to a new protagonist. The reason isn't important... I cannot let this pass. The reason is paramount. If your story is character-driven, switching protagonist probably makes ...
Lew's user avatar
  • 3,100
20 votes
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Can I write a different book before my sequel?

It's Probably a Good Idea! Having followed a number of your questions, I have to say that until you get a literary success with a series, you don't need to stress too much about producing a sequel. ...
DWKraus's user avatar
  • 13.7k
20 votes

How Do I Compress Multiple Novels' Worth of Plot, Characters, and Worldbuilding into One?

Write the First one, then see if it's really a problem: Before you start to panic, I'd actually sit down and start writing. As you do, figure out what the central theme of the story is, then ...
DWKraus's user avatar
  • 13.7k
19 votes
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Is there a method to estimating the length of a work before writing it?

The main problem with trying to estimate something like this is that, even if two writers used the same very detailed plot summary to write a novel, they might produce works that aren't close to being ...
J.G.'s user avatar
  • 9,567
19 votes
Accepted

Series: How can I get my reader to not expect any one genre?

Other than an explicit "disclaimer" in an author's note or something, I really don't think you can. If I buy five books set in a dystopian fantasy (I might), I will be disappointed if the sixth book ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
16 votes

In a series of books, what happens after the coming of age?

It's rare, but not unheard of for a series to shift genres as it progresses --with Harry Potter perhaps being the most notable example. As the protagonists grow up, the style and content of the books ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
16 votes

In a series, do the stakes have to be higher than in the book before?

This is often done, and it avoids later books having a sense of anti-climax. But it can feel artificial, and lead to later books being over-the-top. It also depends on how closely the books are tied. ...
David Siegel's user avatar
  • 4,347
15 votes

Avoiding spectacle creep

Alice: Do you remember how the villain from a month ago always said how he wanted to kill us? Bob: Hm-mm? Alice: Well, this new villain wants to kill us ... and murder our dog, too! A ...
Liquid's user avatar
  • 15.9k
13 votes
Accepted

What type of character should I write about first in a potential series of books?

I suggest you start with an Innocent (or an Outsider) — a Cabbagehead kind of character, someone who doesn't know anything about your world so the world has to be explained to and/or experienced by ...
Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum's user avatar
13 votes

Series: How can I get my reader to not expect any one genre?

It's hard to build a recognizable identity while genre-hopping. The more successful you are with any one style or genre, the more both readers and publishers are going to demand more of the same. ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
13 votes

What keeps most authors writing after receiving multiple rejections?

What keeps writers writing is the utter impossibility of not writing. Tolkien had no hope of ever publishing The Silmarillion, yet he kept writing and rewriting and editing and re-editing it ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
13 votes

Can a successful book series let the bad guy win?

Your girlfriend is correct that the bad guy winning at the end limits your audience, and will anger some readers. But it's important that you write your own book, not the book you think you should ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
12 votes

Would it be better to write a trilogy over a much longer series?

I feel like publishers would regard trilogies as a safer bet than a long-winded series. But then again, publishers regard works from well-known authors as a safer bet, too. To paraphrase Brandon ...
Liquid's user avatar
  • 15.9k
12 votes
Accepted

How Do I Compress Multiple Novels' Worth of Plot, Characters, and Worldbuilding into One?

First in, Last out A good rule of thumb is to resolve your major conflicts in reverse order that they are introduced. For example, if your story starts with a dragon attack, and while dealing with ...
Arcanist Lupus's user avatar
11 votes

Avoiding spectacle creep

I think this is a TV/Comic problem. What I mean by that is you're used to ingesting stories which are made for TV, probably broadcast; or comics where each issue must progress with the same cast and ...
Kirk's user avatar
  • 7,600
10 votes
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Term for a collection of novels divided into several series

The good news is that there's nobody policing this! You can call your series anything you want — just like naming your individual books, you're looking for whatever you think will best serve the ...
Cakebox's user avatar
  • 1,192
10 votes

How can I Switch Protagonists Between Books?

I think the question really boils down to: what/whose story are you trying to tell? And is it a single story? Look at Jim Butcher's Dresden Files stories, for example. Those are almost all centered ...
Kevin McKenzie's user avatar
10 votes

What keeps most authors writing after receiving multiple rejections?

There are three ways of answering your question: Professionalism: Some people recognize that frequent rejections are simply an intrinsic part of this particular job, and don't take them personally,...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
10 votes
Accepted

In a series of books, what happens after the coming of age?

In a series, I expect to find one of three approaches: a) One single plot that covers the entire series and which is divided into smaller parts in order to give each book some level of closure b) ...
SC for reinstatement of Monica's user avatar

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