Writing a Dark Fantasy Series

The Bridge by Gate-to-Nowhere
Working on two (or three) novels at a time usually means you don't finish any of them, at least for me it does. I discovered though, for a Dark Fantasy series, you kinda have to work on all the books at once. Or, at the very least, have a firm grasp on your worlds and the overarching plot of the series.

Since I've started working on the second book, Isolated (working title), I've had to go back to the first one to change some details or add something- small things that would become important as the series progress or, world building details I discovered through writing Isolated.

Setting and powers, are the most difficult parts about writing a Dark Fantasy series, at least for me. The world keeps getting bigger and more complicated. I want the setting to be like our world but I don't want to get bogged down with being geographically correct. Don't know how I'm going to manage that.

On top of that, there is so much information you need to keep track of. Every now and then I'll be working on Isolated and realize I'd forgotten some important detail (or race of beings) I brought up in the first book.

My series' format is similar to Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles- each book is told from the perspective of a different cast. The characters from previous books make several guest appearances but they aren't the stars. This means my cast is slightly overwhelming. I have a little over 30 characters for this trilogy. To make things even more fun, the series encompasses three worlds.

I've told you about the world building board on my wall and my world building journal. They've really come in handy. Also, I'm writing a list of questions brought up by the novels to make sure the books answer them. When I edited the first book, I printed out pages containing details I wanted to remember for the second novel and stapled those pages into my world building journal.

I've talked before about Evernote. This tool is brilliant for organizing story notes. If you have a smartphone, you can access them anywhere through their app. This program is on my computer as well. When Evernote syncs, notes I've created on my laptop becomes available on my phone too. It's awesome.

I'm now playing with Adobe Photoshop to create layouts of the different villages cropping up in Isolated. Apparently, Photoshop is also good for creating world maps. I haven't tried it yet but I will.

The important thing is you find some way to remember all the information about your world(s), characters and plots of each book. These are not things you can hold in your head. Believe me, I've tried. It can drive you a little insane.


Unknown said…
Would love to see some art of your world. You should post some of your world when you've mastered Photoshop! :)
Kelly Hashway said…
I keep a cheat sheet when I know I'm writing a series. It saves me time. I keep track of all the important details in book one as I write and use that as a reference for book two.
Anonymous said…
Being consistent and true to the characters as you stated them in the first of the series is very important. Readers will know when something doesn't fit. Thanks for the guidance on the need to keep track. Its almost seems like the first book isn't finished until the second one is.
Ida said…
Great post! It's interesting to hear how you approach world building.
William Kendall said…
Though I write in a different genre, it'll still be bringing back the same characters. Even in the first, I've put in little Easter egg details that will turn up down the line in future books. It means keeping track of a lot.