Liza Shulyayeva

Making a series outline

I thought my first series of novellas would revolve around the same world, but otherwise stand alone from each other.

It didn’t work out that way. I couldn’t help but cross-reference events and characters from Book 1 in Book 2. And I already nearly wrote myself into a corner with mismatched hibernation timelines.

So I decided before I go any further down the tangly rabbit hole, I should create a series outline.

I decided to try Plottr for this. I’m on the 30 day free trial so far, but it’s been working pretty well. Here is a simplified view of events across each book in the series. Each colored square is a different book. These are not all of the events in the book of course, just those that were important enough to know for the rest of the series since they’d be referenced in some way. The blue square is Book 1, green is Book 2, and red is Book 3.

Screenshot Plottr outline view. Red, blue, and green dots signifying major events marked under designated months and years

Here is another view:

Screenshot Plottr timeline view in Small mode. Red, blue, and green dots signifying major events marked under designated months and years

Plottr has been great so far; I think I’ll buy it after the trial is done. It also comes with nice outline templates for individual books. This greatly helps to flesh out an outline in the genre you’re targeting using a story arc template that fits that genre.

Book 2 is releasing very soon. Book 3 outline is done (and it looks like it’ll be longer than both of the previous books). I started on the Book 3 cover draft. I’m pretty excited to get going on it this weekend.

Also considering trying dictation (again). I tried it with some of my earlier short stories, but the Google free dictation app on mobile wasn’t really very handy to use. Depending on how Book 2 does I might try some more advanced dictation software like Dragon.

Book 2?

I realized I’ve been saying “Book 1” and “Book 2” in blog posts as if this is the first thing I’ve published. While I am definitely a fiction noob, these are just the first longer stories I’ve published (and they’re not even full novels). I’ve been publishing short stories for about a year so far. I’m just now building up the length and honing in on my chosen niche. This is also the first time I am paying attention to things like newsletter building, reader magnets, etc. Before, I would just publish a story and see what happens. And that kind of worked, but required a lot of churn to keep the traffic coming. Longer works do better, as do works whose releases are actually somewhat planned. I have learned the importance of a mailing list, Advance Review Copies, etc. This is the first time that I’m dabbling in those things after a year of ignoring them.

© 2023 · Liza Shulyayeva · Top · RSS · privacy policy