The main theme

by Shannon
(New York)

Question: I really do like this site, as it is great food for thought! I am dealing with a few problems. I want to write fantasy (my writing style is a little unsettling and suspenseful, so I really am making my aspect of fantasy different from the classics.) I have many characters and am thinking of taking three of them and telling their story in a mini series style (two or three books in their pov.) The problem is that I am very unorganized, and I find making a story line that applies to all the books is challenging. I have the main settings, I have an idea of what I want to be included.

The main character of the first mini series was supposed to be sent to an psychiatric ward; but when her brother takes her away from her family, she follows his footsteps as an assassin. I'm not sure how to arch this into the series and I feel like there needs to be a bigger overlapping plot; but I can't come up with one. I am also creating a particular type of species that harness the power of illusion (this is the species of quite a few characters I have); but I feel as if I'm all over the place as far as the point of the whole plot. Thank you for your time.

Answer: When you have a large story world filled with many storylines, you need an equally big story goal that may not be apparent in the first book, or even the second, and maybe not until the end of the series.

For example, the big story goal of the entire Star Wars saga is to heal the imbalance in the force caused by the existence of the Sith order. The big goal in Tolkein's works is the passing of magic (good and bad) out of the world to make way for the rise of humankind. The big goal in The Godfather is for the family to find a new Don.

If you want more examples, many TV series these days have similar overarching plots.

It may help to ask yourself what the problem, the imbalance, or the "wound" in your fantasy world is that needs to be healed. Each of the stories/novels will be a step in the process that leads to the healing, the change, that will bring the story world into balance (assuming you want a happy ending to the series). Once this change occurs, the world your characters inhabit will never be the same.

In your case, you perhaps should consider if this unlikely assassin has something special about her that will eventually lead her to play a key role in achieving the series goal. The first book may be how she gets involved and discovers her unique abilities.

The same is true for your other potential POV characters and their books.

Fortunately, while you may give some hints regarding the overarching story in the first book, your main goal will be to make the first book good extraordinarily good on its own, otherwise no one will ever read the sequels. That means you don't have to have everything about the series planned out. You need to know enough details to understand why your first POV character is drawn into the story, but some aspects may not get nailed down until later (like after your publisher offers you a contract for a sequel).

The important thing is that knowing where you are going helps you to make consistent choices along the way so that your story makes sense in the end.

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