The Different Types of Series You Could Write

The Different Types of Series You Could Write

In this post we look at different types of series you could write.

As Taika Waititi, New Zealand filmmaker, actor, and comedian says, “OOOH Reading! Yummy!”

Apart from writing, reading is one of the best, and most fun activities anyone can do. Giving a child a library card, and taking them to the library every Saturday morning, is a) the best gift you can give a child and b) one of the best rituals you can instil in said child.

Once you find a good book, and dwell within its pages for a while, you may find yourself wishing it would just carry on. It’s why some people read books over and over again.

This is why a series is often so popular. Series are also popular with writers. If you have an audience who likes your first book, you can pretty much count on them buying the other books in the series. Best of all, no matter what genre in which you prefer to write, there is a type of series to suit all readers.

The 4 Types Of Series That You Can Write

  1. The Extended Story

These are books that have one story told over a number of novels.

C.S. Lewis and the seven books in The Chronicles Of Narnia made their appearance between 1950 and 1956. They are still popular today. As is the shorter series, The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R.Tolkein.The most recent and best well-known example of this is J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. We meet Harry and his friends in book one, Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone. Here we discover the basic premise of Harry’s existence and learn that someone is not happy about it. We follow Harry’s adventures through to the end of book 7, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows.

Extended story series are not confined to high fantasy. For example:

  • Anne Of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
  • A Series Of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snickett
  • The Dark Tower by Stephen King
  • Barchester by Anthony Trollope
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon 

The extended story format is popular with writers of family sagas. Examples of this include Little Women, Good Wives, and Little Men by Louisa May Alcott.

  1. The Sequel Or Trilogy

One of the most famous trilogies is The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. And while these are, for the most part also an extended story, the series has a limit. Here are some more examples:

  • Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mocking Bird and Go Set A Watchman
  • Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies
  • Lewis Carol’s Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass
  • Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Francine Rivers’ The Mark Of The Lion series which includes A Voice In The Wind, Echo In The Darkness and As Sure As The Dawn
  1. Same Characters Different Stories

The most famous writer who wrote Same Character Different Story series is Agatha Christie. While she did write the odd stand-alone book, all three of her series have the same characters tackle different problems – Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and Tommy and Tuppence. Other examples include:

Dan Brown’s series featuring Robert Langdon, Harvard Professor of Religious Symbology.

Lee Child’s series featuring Jack Reacher, former major in the United States Army Military Police Corps.

Ian Fleming’s series featuring James Bond, British Secret Service Agent.

  1. Fan Fiction Sequels

There are books, like Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind that are stand alone books. When the author is unable to provide a sequel, usually because they have died, fans have stepped in and written their own sequels. In the case of Gone With The Wind, that was Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley.

Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice is one of the most popular books to have sequels written by fans. Some have even been made into movies:

  • Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding
  • Pride And Prejudice And Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
  • Death Comes To Pemberly by P.D. James

Writing A Sequel Or A Series Has Both Pros And Cons

The Pros include the fact that you have a ready and waiting audience, and if a new reader sees you have a series they may buy all the books. Instead of selling one book, you may sell the entire series at once. Best of all, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you write a new book.

The Cons include the fact that you have to keep writing. If you leave too long a gap between the books and you don’t have a massive budget for marketing, you may have lost readers who liked the first book. And…you can’t reinvent the wheel. Even Agatha Christie wanted to kill off Hercule Poirot because she was tired of writing him. So if you do want to write a series, make sure your main character is someone you enjoy writing about.

The Last Word

I hope this post has helped you when you’re thinking of different types of series to write.

Elaine Dodge

by Elaine Dodge. Elaine is the author of The Harcourts of Canada series. Elaine trained as a graphic designer, then worked in design, advertising, and broadcast television. She now creates content, mostly in written form, for clients across the globe, but would much rather be drafting her books and short stories.

More Posts From Elaine

  1. The Last Days Of NaNoWriMo
  2. 5 Ways Plotting & Character Development Is Like Playing Chess
  3. 5 Tools To Use When Writing A Historical Novel
  4. The Thing About Life And 5 Things To Consider When Killing Off A Character
  5. 4 Writing Challenges To Keep Your Writer’s Brain Alive That You May Not Have Thought Of Before
  6. Book Banning And Why It Matters
  7. How To Market Your Book After You’ve Written It
  8. How To Market Your Book Before You Start Writing It
  9. How Important Is Backstory In A Romance Novel?
  10. Setting & Description In A Romance Novel

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Posted on: 6th December 2022