Series Impact Character(s)

by Kyle
(Asheville, NC)

Hi! So glad I found your website. This might be the perfect place to turn to now and in the future.

I am writing a trilogy in the Dramatica software and I plan to make a series storyform as well as a storyform for each installment. I read on Dramatica's website that this approach is desirable and can cover a lot of ground.

I have three different Impact Characters planned for each of the three stories. My question is what do I do for the series storyform?

I have the series IC as a plural player with the three other characters' names. My overall vision is for the MC to be struggling with a Fixed Attitude over the course of the series. In each installment, the book's respective IC will be presenting the opposite Ideology. Each book will have its own MC/IC relationship with that character, but the overall series relationship is peppered in too, stretched out over the three books and ICs. Is there a better way to do this?

Answer: There's nothing wrong with how you envision the series so far, but here are some thoughts...

* Since each book will have its own storyform, in addition to the series storyform, you want to create the sense that the main plot is resolved in each of the first two books, and yet some things are left hanging (the series arcs). The Harry Potter books are a great example of how to do this. Each book has a complete story while advancing the series story as well.

One thing that can help is to have a separate IC for the series itself. Unlike the other ICs, this character's arc and relationship to the MC will be unresolved in the first two books. That way, the reader will want to keep reading the series to find out what happens with this character. (This works particularly well if the series IC is also the series antagonist.)

With that in mind, the other ICs can be used to explore other issues.

* Make sure
you know what the story goal for the series is, as well as the story goal for each installment. They can be quite different. I personally think the 8 elements are the best place to start when sketching a plot.

* You may find that the third book only needs to be about the series storyform. Or at least, the series story will be in the foreground in the third book, even though it has been more in the background in the first two books. By this point, you hope your reader should be anxious to see how the series will resolve.

* It's also helpful to plot out the drivers for the series. For instance, the first driver might be the prologue (perhaps told in flashback in the first book). The second driver might occur at the end of the first book, after that book's storyform has been resolved (sometimes as an epilogue). In this way, the second driver sets up the tension for the next book (what will happen as a result of this event?).

Of course, if you're a beginning novelist, you don't know if the first book will sell, so you may feel inclined to put the second driver at the start of the second book. (Another option these days is to stick the first chapter of the second book, featuring this driver, at the end of the first book as a way to tease readers, but you can only do this if you get a contract for the sequel.) Your editor may have some preferences here.

* Assuming you want your MC to be a change character (the change happening in the last book), that may imply he/she must be steadfast in the earlier books. If the MC changes, then he may not have the same appeal in the next book, so you risk disappointing some readers. For instance, if Katniss had given up her hard edge at the end of the first Hunger Games book, she would not have worked for the next two.

Best of luck.

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Jan 10, 2017
by: Kyle

Very helpful thoughts.

Now that you mention it, the third book really is just about wrapping up the series with the other two books hinting at things and setting them up.

Thanks for your help. I'm going to revisit the series and book plots with the 8 questions again.

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