The Complexities of Writing a Series – Snowball Effect

Hi everyone!

While the Sword of Dragons is not the first series I have ever written, it is by far the biggest, and I’m only a few books into it!  And the further I go, the more I’m beginning to realize the daunting task ahead of me.

Image Source - https://www.pinterest.com/pin/442197257133712811/
Image Source – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/442197257133712811/

Whether or not anyone else has used it before, I call it the snowball effect.  With each and every new story, there’s more material built up, and therefore more material I have to be intimately familiar with to ensure continuity.  (Because I hate continuity errors…as much as I love Star Trek, it was pretty bad about that in later series.)

Now with three books (2 published, plus the Orc War Campaigns which is as big as a novel), working on book 3 has required me to go back often and reference notes, thoughts, and actual pages from previous stories to ensure I’m getting all of the characters, locations, and plots straight.

Image Source - https://magisterscorner.wordpress.com/tag/mass-effect/
Image Source – https://magisterscorner.wordpress.com/tag/mass-effect/

I’m beginning to understand why the creators of the Mass Effect series did not want to take the story beyond the 3rd game.  For me it’s just one continual story I have to keep track.  For Mass Effect, in each game, the player gets to make a multitude of decisions that affect not only the outcome of the current game, but the games to follow.  Keeping track of and including all possibilities into each game must have been crazy difficult!!  And as far as I could tell from playing the trilogy, they did a great job!

I’m curious to see what they do with the new game, Andromeda…how much of player decisions can show through into Andromeda?  Or can players even load in their Mass Effect 3 play through to affect it?  We’ll find out soon enough :)

Star Trek Dragon – My First Series

stdragonThe first time I wrote a continual story was my fan fiction, Star Trek Dragon.  Spread across 7 season, 66 episodes of which were a part of the main seasonal run, and 4 more that weren’t part of the episode numbering, it was a pretty big story.  I never brought them all together to get a word count, but I can imagine it’s pretty massive.

There were many instances, especially in season’s 6 and 7, where I took things I had written in the earlier seasons and made them vital to where the story and characters went.  It was fun!

Started while I was at the tail end of Jr. High and finished in College, it wasn’t the most popular fan fiction out there, but it was well received by those who did read it, and I did have a small fan following near the end.

The Sword of Dragons – So Much More Complicated

Cover by Christian Michael
Cover by Christian Michael

So knowing that I successfully wrote 7 seasons and only created a couple of plot holes and inconsistencies, why does The Sword of Dragons feel so much more difficult?

When thinking about this question this morning, the answer seemed rather obvious: in Star Trek Dragon, I had copious amounts of references to look back on, plus I knew the Star Trek universe better than any other.  It was pre-established. And fans are really good at documenting what has happened in it.

With the Sword of Dragons, it’s an entirely made up Universe, one which I’ve built from the ground up and continue to build.  There’s no fan wiki out there (if only I had the time to build one…)  And unfortunately, I don’t have a team of editors helping me with continuity.  It’s just little ‘ol me taking on an entire Universe…

I also wonder how much of the difficulty writing book 3 is stemming from my flare-up of ADHD, because it seems like it’s been harder than it should be.  In any case, I’ll continue to work my hardest to keep it all straight, and will depend on my awesome beta readers (Nick, Natalie, you both rock!) to help keep me on the straight and narrow :)

Final Thought – The Star Wars EU

Image Source - http://www.vg247.com/2014/05/02/we/
Image Source – http://www.vg247.com/2014/05/02/we/

I was just about to finish this blog when I realized something: I think I understand now why Disney decided to split apart the Star Wars Expanded Universe and the Cinematic Universe.  There are literally hundreds of Star Wars EU novels out there: keeping track of everything and getting the continuity right, all while trying to come up with an original story for the new movies, is beyond daunting…

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

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