Outlining a Series With the Snowflake Method: Step 2 One Paragraph Storyline- Original Example

Step 1: One Sentence Storyline|
Step 1-1/2: What Type of Series?
Step 2: One Paragraph Storyline- Exposition
Step 2: One Paragraph Storyline- In Practice

 

Now, we’ve finally come to the part of step 2 where we’re going to talk about how to build the One Paragraph Storyline from scratch. This one will also come with a Project Journal post because we’ll be brainstorming the overarching plot for the entirety of our series. So, just like with the Harry Potter example, The Dragon God’s Canticles is going to be a seven-book series, meaning it will be constructed with my slightly modified version of the snowflake method. This means that instead of three disasters and an ending, we’re going to have six disasters and an ending. We must also keep in mind that these disasters are going to be the basis for what we turn into the one sentence storylines for the next-ish step. So, let’s get started.

The Dragon God’s Canticles

One Sentence Storyline:

An unlikely team of heroes are gathered together to prevent the darkness of the demonic dragon god from spreading across the land.

Sounds like the tagline for the next Power Rangers TV show…

Anyway, aside from that, now is the point in time where I need to open up a new document and get to work on the disasters.

Note to self: It is also very important to remember that these disasters will be the climactic moments of the books, not the end of the book.

(And, now practically a week later I get to go back to working on this post.)

So, by the time this post goes up I’m sure you’ll have noticed the project journal for The Dragon God’s Canticles has gone up, and I have finally caught up on my homework, so I am now able to return to my attempt to entertain and enlighten.

The process of coming up with these disasters, is basically sitting down and thinking of the whole story as one work, then going slightly forward with that work. I tried to make the disasters as character based as I could, rather than specifically plot based, but when I’ve got so little information on my characters, as of right now, there’s not much to hinge on that. Particularly, I like the turn of Trizog from villain to returned paragon paladin king. It will certainly make for an interesting turn of events when the story reaches that point.

(Also, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this or not, but the genre and category I planned on placing this series in is YA Epic Fantasy.)

And, on with the disasters:

  1. Evelyn is captured during the final battle against the great blue dragon and is whisked away to Fiend-Fire Citadel by Trizog of Balfor.
  2. The cult of the Ligdo Drakko Nekro reveals that it is involved in Balfor’s war in a big way.
  3. Trizog reveals to Azariel and Evelyn that he is actually Tristram LaFeya, the lost king of Bertran.
  4. As though it were a miracle, King Tristram LaFeya and the knights he fought alongside are able to free themselves in the final battle of Balfor’s War, and with the apparent death of Trizog of Balfor they return Tristram to his throne.
  5. The kingdom of Bertran explodes into a civil war, as Tristram LaFeya and Richard LaFeya battle against one another to see who truly has the right to the throne.
  6. The Ligdo Drakko Nekro is out in the fields as the men are dying. It is resurrecting them and building an army with which to blot out the sun, it plans on using Richard LaFeya as its host body.
  7. The portal to the abyss is open, and dracodemons are pouring out of it like water from a cleft rock. Desperate and out of options, Evelyn and Azariel lead a strike team back to Fiend-Fire Strand to find some way to end this conflict once and for all.

 

And, now we can finally put together that One Paragraph Storyline:

An unlikely team of heroes are gathered together to prevent the darkness of the demonic dragon god from spreading across the land. Evelyn is captured during the final battle against the great blue dragon and is whisked away to Fiend-Fire Citadel by Trizog of Balfor. The cult of the Ligdo Drakko Nekro reveals that it is involved in Balfor’s war in a big way. Trizog reveals to Azariel and Evelyn that he is actually Tristram LaFeya, the lost king of Bertran. As though it were a miracle, King Tristram LaFeya and the knights he fought alongside are able to free themselves in the final battle of Balfor’s War, and with the apparent death of Trizog of Balfor they return Tristram to his throne. The kingdom of Bertran explodes into a civil war, as Tristram LaFeya and Richard LaFeya battle against one another to see who truly has the right to the throne. The Ligdo Drakko Nekro is out in the fields as the men are dying. It is resurrecting them and building an army with which to blot out the sun, it plans on using Richard LaFeya as its host body. The portal to the abyss is open, and dracodemons are pouring out of it like water from a cleft rock. Desperate and out of options, Evelyn and Azariel lead a strike team back to Fiend-Fire Strand to find some way to end this conflict once and for all.

Yes, that paragraph is literally the disasters and one sentence storyline copy and pasted together. I do think I’ll try to tidy things up a bit. Maybe not so tidy as they’ll get when I turn the disasters into One Sentence Storylines, but I don’t really intend on doing that here. Anyway…

“Cleaner” One Paragraph Storyline:

An unlikely team of heroes from all walks are gathered together to prevent the darkness of the Ligdo Drakko Nekro from spreading across the land. Crown Princess Evelyn LaFeya is taken captive at the battle for the Solarian Tower and whisked away to the forbidden fortress of Fiend-Fire Citadel by the vile Trizog of Balfor. Trapped in the heart of Balfor, the princess finds a way to escape her captivity in time to learn of Trizog’s true reason for starting this war. Trizog holds a hidden hand though, one he reveals to Evelyn and Azariel; Trizog is really Tristram LaFeya, the lost king of Bertran and Evelyn’s father. Bertran’s war with Balfor comes to its climax with the apparent death of Trizog of Balfor and the escape of Tristram LaFeya and the knights who went missing with him nearly twenty years ago. Tristram returned from the dead means Richard’s claim to the throne has been invalidated, rather than surrendering to his brother, Richard and the Ligdo Drakko Nekro plunge Bertran into a civil war. Richard perishes in his quest for the crown, but his role in the grand play has yet to reach its end, the Ligdo Drakko Nekro intends to use his corpse as a host and lead an army of darkness greater than anything ever seen under the sun. With the portal open to the dracodemon’s hell dimension, the Ligdo Drakko Nekro is well on his way to eliminating all life, only Azariel, Evelyn, and company are left to stand in the way of the deranged god …and, they live happily ever after… (couldn’t resist).

Ryan S. Kinsgrove

RSK

Follow along with my peculiar brand of insanity:https://upscri.be/5a20f7/

The Dragon God’s Canticles Project Journal: Disasters

WARNING: THERE IS MATERIAL HERE THAT COULD POTENTIALLY SPOIL THE STORY ONCE IT’S WRITTEN. THAT BEING SAID: SPOILER WARNING

So, it’s time to sit down and think about disasters, and the overarching plot I want to have going on in The Dragon God’s Canticles series. Right now all I have is the first book ending with Evelyn’s capture. Book four (skipping there for some reason) is going to be one be of the major turning points of the story. Like the goblet of fire it will have Azog coming into his power wholly. By that I mean he’ll be taking the throne of Bertran. It’ll be revealed in the third or early in the fourth book, that Azog is actually a corrupted human paladin named Tristram LaFeya and the true king of Bertran. He is Evelyn’s father and is the oldest of the LaFeya sons and the first to be anointed a paladin of Sol. I think that might be part of the revelation in book 3. Yes, the disaster to book three will be the revelation that Azog of Balfor is really Tristram LaFeya the true king of the kingdom of Bertran. Book four’s disaster will be Azog dethroning Richard LaFeya. His little brother. Okay, so I’ve got the disaster for books 1, 3, and 4. But not 2. You’d think I’d need to come up with book 2 before I do 3 and 4. Eh, whatever works.

 

I’m also still short the disasters for books 5 and 6 and the ending in the form of book 7.

 

Alright, so I’ve got some of my disasters figured out thus far. The first disaster is going to be Evelyn being captured by the dragon at the Battle of the Solarian Tower. The third disaster is going to be that Azog of Balfor is revealed to really be the corrupted form of Tristram LaFeya, the true king of Bertran. The fourth disaster is Tristram reclaiming his throne from his younger brother, Richard LaFeya. Maybe I should shift that though and have those be the disasters for books one-three. That way the second one is Azog being revealed as Tristram. And, this revelation doesn’t mean to the people at large, only the small group of heroes who come to save Evelyn. Maybe it will solely be a revelation to Evelyn. Or one to Evelyn and Azariel. I’m not sure where those thoughts are going.

 

Anyway, essentially what I want to do with that is kind of transition it so that Azog isn’t a total villain by the time he takes the throne back from Richard. Over the course of the first three books I want Richard to very much become as bad, if not worse than Azog, that way having Tristram reclaim the throne in the fourth book seems like the best thing to have happen.

 

At that point, I will also begin introducing the full final villain of the series. This villain will be set up in the first four books but won’t be a direct participant. It will be acting through its intermediary, Azog. The villain is going to be the Ligdo Drakko Nekro, the Little Dead Dragon, or the Dragon God of Death. Something is going to happen, during either the second or third book where Azog is going to decide to betray the Ligdo Drakko Nekro. I think Evelyn is going to be able to break through to his human heart during her stay in the Fiend-fire Citadel.

 

Anyway, Azog/Tristram is going to be playing both sides of the field for the middle three books, only revealing his true allegiance at the beginning of the seventh book, just before he dies. Azog is going to be playing both sides after the third book. I’m trying to work out how things will play out with the new villain. Azog is going to be a paragon character archetype. His particular brand of good is going to be open for interpretation though. Which isn’t really pertinent to the disasters, but… I dunno.

 

I’ve still only got books 1-3 set up. Though I still kind of like the idea of it being Book 1s disaster, skip 2, then have three and four. Four is sort of a pivotal point in the story as everybody will be looking to what happens in the next book. This still isn’t helping me get a disaster for book 2.

 

So, if I want it do that Evelyn is still being held by Azog in book 3, what can happen in book 2 that will get them closer to rescuing her. I don’t want her to stay damselled for two books. In book two she escapes, the group gets back together, and they’re in Balfor for the reveal in book 3, for whatever reason. So, what happens in book 2? Okay, Evelyn is going to escape the Fiend-fire Citadel on Fiend-fire Strand and come across the remains of a dracodemon nest unlike any other. This is the part where I’ll start building the Ligdo Drakko Nekro because the nest will hold trace amounts of the little dead dragon’s magic and influence. The influence of the Ligdo Drakko Nekro can be felt through the dracodemon hordes, and one flight of the dracodemons have been tainted by the little dead dragon and are wholly under his command. This flight takes off, away from Balfor and heads to attack Justifal. Okay, all of this boils down to the Ligdo Drakko Nekro revealing his involvement in the game at large. 1 Evelyn is kidnapped. 2 The Cult of the Ligdo Drakko Nekro reveals its involvement in Balfor’s war. 3 Azog of Balfor reveals himself as Tristram LaFeya, the rightful king of Bertran. 4 Azog/Tristram returns to Justifal to reclaim his throne.

 

 

Alright, so Pacifica’s being a pain in the ass, and I can’t get the journal section open. Eh, most of what I would have written there would end up over here anyway. The only thing that wouldn’t make it is the ooey gooey feel good shit. Because, yes, there is actually plenty of that. If I keep meditating like this I might actually become a happier person. I’m trying to watch for changes, and I’ve seen some, sure, but not the ones I’m looking for. Still, some change is better than none. It doesn’t help that the changes I’m looking for wont start cropping up until after I’ve found a way to make money off of the good feelings. And, really, to do that I need to keep my shit together as it is, and just keep swimming I guess. Anyway, that’s enough of that here. It’s time to move on to actually thinking about my disasters again. I’ve got 1-4 done now. Now it’s time for 5, 6 & 7. Well, 2 more disasters and an ending.

 

Tristram plans to execute Richard, but Evelyn slips into the dungeons and lets Richard go. She knows he’ll go round up an army to try and retake his throne, but she can’t bring herself to let Tristram kill him. So, the disaster for book 5. King Richard returns with an army backing him, intending on dethroning Tristram and executing the returned king. In the midst of the fighting the Ligdo Drakko Nekro makes its presence known by beginning to resurrect the fallen soldiers. The book does end with King Richards death, and subsequent resurrection at the hands of the little dead dragon.

 

Book 6, with the matter of the kingship handled things settle down for Bertran. They continue to get used to their new old king, but the spirits of the dracodemons slain at the conclusion of Azog’s war aren’t resting. The Ligdo Drakko Nekro and his new field commander go and awaken the remains of Azog’s army.

 

Book 7, the Ligdo Drakko Nekro has awoken the largest army of dracodemons ever to walk on the surface of AllHaven, and he opens a portal straight to the plane of hell the dracodemons are spawned on. Justifal is attacked en masse by the dracodemon army and within hours most of the city is engulfed in demonic fire. Tristram gives his life to save Evelyn’s, proving finally that he is wholly on their side. Azariel and Evelyn then make the most dangerous decision of all. They’re going to have to lead a small strike team into the heart of Balfor to close the portal and put an end to the dracodemon threat once and for all.

 

Now, as a way of specifically spelling the disasters and ending out:

 

  1. Evelyn is captured during the final battle against the great blue dragon and is whisked away to Fiend-Fire Citadel by Azog of Balfor.
  2. The cult of the Ligdo Drakko Nekro reveals that it is involved in Balfor’s war in a big way.
  3. Azog reveals to Azariel and Evelyn that he is actually Tristram LaFeya, the lost king of Bertran.
  4. As though it were a miracle, King Tristram LaFeya and the knights he fought alongside are able to free themselves in the final battle of Balfor’s War, and with the apparent death of Azog of Balfor they return Tristram to his throne.
  5. The kingdom of Bertran explodes into a civil war, as Tristram LaFeya and Richard LaFeya battle against one another to see who truly has the right to the throne.
  6. The Ligdo Drakko Nekro is out in the fields as the men are dying. It is resurrecting them and building an army with which to blot out the sun, it plans on using Richard LaFeya as its host body.
  7. The portal to the abyss is open, and dracodemons are pouring out of it like water from a cleft rock. Desperate and out of options, Evelyn and Azariel lead a strike team back to Fiend-Fire Strand to find some way to end this conflict once and for all.

I probably need to come up with another name for Azog. I really really like Azog, but I just realized it’s right in the story with Azariel, and that might get very confusing for the readers. Azog’s real name is Tristram… so, why not Trizog. I’m cool with it. Save Azog for some other character later on. And, I almost ran into that same issue with Terbor, but I’m going to shorten Terbor to Borb. Why? Because Bob didn’t go by Robert.

 

Anyway, this segment is completed. Now I can write the last-ish blog post in step two. Although what I’ll do is put them together in the One paragraph storyline and worry about distilling them down to one sentence storylines when it comes to the multi-paragraph/page synopsis for the series as a whole.

Outlining a Series With the Snowflake Method: Step 2- Exposition

Step 1: One Sentence Storyline
Step 1-1/2: What Type of Series?

Now, we can finally move on to step 2.

Well, we can sort of move on to step 2. I still never gave my final decision about how many books the series is going to be. I think I’ll take the simplest method with it though. The published series example I’m using for this story is a 7 book series, so I’ll aim for 7 books for my series as well. The odd number is also a new one for me, as I’ve pretty rigidly stuck to the snowflake method in the path. I’ve got a little bit of modification I’m going to do to the method, however, to make outlining a seven book series just a wee bit easier.

Now, step 2 is called the One Paragraph Storyline. When I sit down and do this step myself, I’ll typically do the step at the same time I do the first step. Why? Because, the brainstorming session for my one sentence storyline spills over into the second step right at the same time. A little of that spilled over in my previous project journal, but not nearly as much as I normally would have had. At the time I literally was just trying to get the basics together for my one sentence storyline.

(At this point I’m mainly going to be explaining the way the One Paragraph Storyline works in the normal snowflake method, and we’ll go from there into the actual meat and potatoes of the work in the next post.)

The One Paragraph Storyline is basically the precursor for the 3-act structure. It is built by creating 3 disasters for your characters to experience over the course of the story. In the 3-act structure each disaster is going to correspond to a major turning point in the story.

The first disaster will be the end of Act 1, crossing the threshold in the Hero’s Journey basically. At that point your characters are committed. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, our published example, there are two points I feel that could be the threshold and end to Act 1. Many people would point to the obvious trip to platform 9-3/4’s as this is when Harry is literally crossing the barrier into the magical world. Personally though, I believe the first disaster takes place after they’re already at school. I think the first disaster in the book is the encounter with the troll. Why? This is the point at which Harry, Ron, and Hermione cross the threshold into the true state of their friendship. They become the Power Trio (something that probably needs to be discussed at a later date in a post all its own, but if you want a bit of early reading on the subject check out TVTropes.org), and from that point forward the story really is moving them towards their ultimate destiny.

The second disaster is the midpoint of Act 2, I believe that’s the Belly of the Whale in the Hero’s Journey. In some interpretations, specifically going with the Hero’s Journey as an example, this is the darkest hour for the character. I think. Totally not an expert on the Hero’s Journey, so I could be talking out of my ass right now. Going back to Harry Potter I feel that this “disaster” would be the Mirror of Erised. It’s the first time Harry sees his parents, and has his first deep meaningful interaction with Dumbledoor.

The third disaster is the end of Act 2, and would be the climax of the Hero’s Journey (I think). With our example, I believe that the third disaster would be the quidditch match where Harry is thrown around on the broom. This clues the group into knowing something is up with Snape, and points them in the direction they need to go to find out about Professor Quirrell, where and how to get around the three headed dog, and speeds them on towards the ultimate climax of the story.

After this disaster you would come up with a suitable end for the story to cap off Act 3, the Return With The Elixir in the Hero’s Journey I believe. This segment in Harry’s first adventure would be the moment he defeats Voldemort, and gets the Sorcerer’s Stone from the mirror. I’ll leave out the unpleasant return to the Dursley’s. We’ll be talking about that more in the next post.

In constructing the actual One Paragraph Storyline the One Sentence Storyline will be the first sentence. The next three sentences will correspond to each of the disasters, and the final sentence will be the ending of the story. Now, let’s take a look at the story we’ve got laid out before us.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone One Paragraph Storyline:


(I also realized I did the One Sentence Storyline for the Harry Potter series as a whole, not just for the first book >.<)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone One Sentence Storyline:

A young boy learns he’s a wizard and travels to a school of magic where he begins to learn the bigger part he’ll play in the world. (It’s terrible I know.)

First Disaster:

Harry, Ron, and Hermione face off with a mountain troll that got into the school, and through the experience become the best of friends.

Second Disaster:

Harry discovers the Mirror of Erised, he sees his parents for the first time, and learns that the mirror would consume him if he were to continue looking into its depths; Dumbledoor has it moved for reasons unknown.

Third Disaster:

At the deciding game of the schools quidditch championship Snape appears to be attacking Harry, alerting the three friends to the ultimate badness that’s going on in the school.

End:

Harry is able to claim the Sorcerer’s Stone from the Mirror of Erised and defeat Voldemort once again, just in time for the end of year tests.

So, putting it all together.

One Paragraph Storyline:

A young boy learns he’s a wizard and travels to a school of magic where he begins to learn the bigger part he’ll play in the world. Harry, Ron, and Hermione face off with a mountain troll that got into the school, and through the experience become the best of friends. Harry discovers the Mirror of Erised, he sees his parents for the first time, and learns that the mirror would consume him if he were to continue looking into its depths; Dumbledoor has it moved for reasons unknown. At the deciding game of the schools quidditch championship Snape appears to be attacking Harry, alerting the three friends to the ultimate badness that’s going on in the school. Harry is able to claim the Sorcerer’s Stone from the Mirror of Erised and defeat Voldemort once again, just in time for the end of year tests.

And, that’s pretty much the basics of Step 2. In the next post we’ll look at how Step 2 will be modified to work as a One Paragraph Storyline for the entirety of the series.

Ryan S. Kinsgrove

RSK

Follow along with my peculiar brand of insanity:https://upscri.be/5a20f7/

Outlining a Series With the Snowflake Method: Step 1-1/2

Step 1: One Sentence Storyline

I sat down to work on step 2 earlier today, and while I was working on it I realized something rather important. When you’re working on outlining a series you can’t immediately jump into step two once you finish step one; there needs to be a half step between the two. What is this half step composed of? Logistics. This is the point where we decide how many books our series is going to have. (Side note: this half step can also be completed before step one.)

The first major choice is what type of series you want to have.

But, Ryan, isn’t there only one type of series?

The short answer is no. There are a plethora of series types to choose from. As I see it there are five basic types of series. They are single narrative series; multiple story arc series, interconnected trilogies, minorly interconnected single entry series, and single entry series.

A single narrative series is a series of stories that follows a single narrative thread. These series often have books that are somewhat standalone, but become more and more interconnected as the later books in the series build on the former books. A good example of a single narrative series is the Harry Potter series. Probably the first three or four books in Harry Potter can be read as standalone books (the first book I read in the series was The Prisoner of Azkaban, and I didn’t have a problem catching onto what was going on, had I started at book five or six I would have been completely lost). The same could be said for Stephen King’s Dark Tower cycle, or Andy Peloquin’s Hero of Darkness series. The first couple of books are easy to slip into, but past that you really need to know what happened in the books before to understand the primary line of the story’s narrative. (I also believe this is nowhere more apparent than Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson’s Wheel of Time series, though I’ve not read through the whole series yet so I can’t be one hundred percent.) I would also consider George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire a single narrative series, but not one that can be easily picked up past the first novel. (Of course the first novel can’t be picked up easily either, at least for me it couldn’t.) As an example from my own stories, I’ll be using the story I’m outlining for this project, The Dragon God’s Canticles will be a singular narrative series, as well as a series I’ve been poking at for a while: The Elementalist’s Apprentice.

A multiple story arc series is a series of books where a certain number of books tell an almost self contained story arcs. They’re interconnected, and tell just enough of an overarching story not to be included in one of the other categories. I’m also defining a self contained story arc as a story arc that spans across a number of books, but not over the totality of the series. Most often, examples of this type of series would be a series of novels that are serialized. Each complete book of the serial might be part of a single entry series (think of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his series of novels focused on the character of Sherlock Holmes), but I would still consider them falling under this category because they share elements with the prior stories and do build on one another to a small extent. A more modern example of this sort of series would be Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mystery series. I find these books are broken into story arcs mainly due to the relationships the primary character has throughout X number of books. Like Sookie’s relationship with the vampire Bill Compton is the focus of the first three (maybe four, can’t remember) books, and after that her relationship with Eric Northman picks up, and so on and so fourth. The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas is a similar example with the first two books focused on the relationship arc between the main character, Celaena Sardothian, and one of the male love interests, Chaol Westfall, while books three through five focus on the relationship between Celaena and Rowan, a fey character introduced in the third book. (If you haven’t noticed, most of these arc related series are closely related to the romance genre.) An excellent example of this, in a fantasy context, is The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’m sure you’re all confused at this point, but yes, this is a series of novels that is broken into two separate story arcs. What are the story arcs? (If you’ve read the books you know what I’m talking about.) The story arcs are Frodo and Sam’s journey to Mordor and Mount Doom, and the story of Gimli, Legolas, Aragorn, et al., as they battle against the forces of Sarumon and Sauron. The books themselves are broken down into two book sections, with one book dealing with Sam and Frodo, and the other book dealing with the rest of the fellowship of the ring. One of the series I’ve been working on is going to fit this format, as it will basically be four novels serialized across several smaller volumes. The series is going to be titled The Raven Stone series (sign up for my mailing list[link to upscribe form] if you want to keep track of all my little bits of insanity) and will focus on a small group of misfits as they travel across an alternate history version of our earth.

The third category is interconnected trilogies. These are series that are based primarily on the trilogy structure. That means the characters and settings are basically the same between each trilogy, but the stories are contained wholly in that trilogy with only tiny elements of it following along into the other stories. This is the way ninety percent of the Star Wars Legends stories are structured. It’s a perfect example, with only minor elements (a character here, a setting there, that sort of thing) following from one trilogy into the next. Another factor that relates to this is that all of these stories are considered canon (in the case of Star Wars Legends they were considered canon at the time they were written) and therefore are an important part when other stories are being written about this world. Another example of interconnected trilogies are shared world series (these pretty much function the same way Star Wars Legends did). (A short definition of a “shared world series” is a fantasy or science fiction setting that multiple authors contribute too.)

The next type of series is the minorly interconnected single entry series. This is a sort of series where some elements of the story (characters, locations, and such) are held over from story to story, but the main characters and the primary story are almost entirely separate from the other entries in the series. A narrative arc might be constructed, but if it is this arc will come from the interaction of secondary and tertiary characters. It won’t be a quick to resolve story arc, and there might be multiple entries in the series where the story arc isn’t mentioned at all. The series will build on itself, after a fashion, by taking the main characters from the earlier entries and turning them into secondary and tertiary characters in the later additions to the series. And the aforementioned narrative arc will almost always culminate in an entry where some of the primary secondary or tertiary characters are finally getting their time as the main characters of the story. This is the way I’ve seen a couple of paranormal romance series structured, and the first example that jumps to mind is Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series. This series could almost cross classify as a multiple story arc series, as the way Mrs. Kenyon has structured her series is that the secondary and tertiary characters will slowly build a story arc over five to ten books, before the “main” character among the secondary and tertiary characters will get their story told, thus ending that story arc. This book will also serve as the starting point for the next slow to build story arc. (I think this type of series is almost completely unique to the romance genre as one of the most important tropes in the romance genre is the Happily Ever After moment, and in a traditional series it is hard to get that Happily Ever After moment, and the bastard cousin of the Happily Ever After moment, the Happy For Now moment, only works so many times before the fans become very disgruntled with the author of the work and start to lose interest in the series.)

Now, the final series type is the single entry series. This type of series is almost singularly unique in the fact that the books DO NOT form a cohesive story. They don’t build on themselves, and the main character (who is typically the same character from entry to entry) always feels like the reset button on their character development got hit when the new story starts. The mystery and thriller genres are the most frequent perpetrators of this series type. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes falls under this category (being cross classified from the entry above), as does Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot character and the mysteries he solves. James Bond, by Ian Fleming, is another culprit. Along with Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt novels, Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger series, and Lawrence Block’s Matthew Scudder and Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery series all fall under this classification. If I tried I’m sure I could find about a hundred more examples (honestly it probably numbers in the thousands). These books may occasionally touch on story elements from other entries in the series, but it is far from typical for that to happen.

And, where does that leave us at the end of this half step. I’m pretty sure I answered that question when discussing the first type of series. I’ll be aiming for writing a single narrative series when it comes to The Dragon God’s Canticles. This is also the type of series outline I’ll be using for The Elementalist’s Apprentice series when I finally find my way around to working on the rest of the first draft of the first book, all before I completely invalidate what I wrote by writing out the outline after I wrote the first book. And, I’ve got two other examples I can point at too, while we’re discussing the other ways to work the Snowflake Method for this outline. That would be The Adventures of Gallan Lancaster series, which is going to be outlined with the interconnected trilogy model, and The Raven Stone series, which will be using the multiple story arc model. As of right now, I don’t have anything planned for the other two series types. Give me some time though, and I’m sure I can come up with something.

Anywho, see you tomorrow with the official Step Two post.

Ryan S. Kinsgrove

Follow along with my peculiar brand of insanity: https://upscri.be/5a20f7/

RSK

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The Dragon God’s Canticles Project Journal: Snowflake Outline- One Sentence Storyline Brainstorm

Okay, as an example in my series on outlining a series using the Snowflake Method, I want to build the outline for a new series during this process. This means brainstorming.

I do have a series I’ve been meaning to get around to outlining. I had a partial outline for the first book, but it went missing shortly after I got through step three, and that was probably about five or six years ago. I’ve even come up with a title for this series. It’s a working title, and will probably change a time or two before I’m ready to publish the story. The Dragon God’s Canticles is the title I’ve got right now, and each book is going to have a subtitle labeling which canticle the book is. Such as the first book being labeled: The Dragon God’s Canticles: XXX XXX (I don’t have a working title yet): The First Canticle.

A canticle is a song, or hymn, with a divine context typically used in a church service. I might try to include a poem/sonnet/something at the beginning of each book that would represent some of the events that happen in the story and as a direct reference to the title being involved with the word canticle. Just a thematic thing to stick with. This, however, is not helping me come up with a one sentence storyline for the series, or even giving me any idea as to what the series will be about.

I’ve had the idea for a while, and now I can dust a little bit of it off to try and get an idea about what’s going on. One of the main characters is a YA elf named Azariel Athendash, he is on a personal quest to find some connection between his family and the rulers of the ancient Taratulian Empire. But this quest really doesn’t have too much to do with the primary story. The primary story focuses on the ruling family of the Kingdom of Bertran. The ruling family is the Lafeya house, lead by King Richard Lafeya. His “daughter” (who really turns out to be his niece)… I had a name for her, that was a perfect name for her, but I can’t friggin remember it >.< Arrgh, I don’t even have it written down anywhere else, except for on the original outline >.< That might not be true, I think I might have made a list of the characters of interest in the Kingdom of Bertran before. Not entirely sure about that. Will have to check when I get home (presently at work with no access to my creative writing folder, I didn’t expect to be doing this tonight or I would have been prepared). It also follows Adolphus Meridan IV and Thok as they fight to save the kingdom.

Book One is also the book I’m going to be dedicating to Bob, as well as having the character named Terbor Eel Eversh Jr., which is basically Bob’s name backwards. I’m pretty sure its junior on his name and not a number. I might be able to play it off as II, but if junior is actually his name then that’s what I should go with. Of course this still isn’t helping get me any closer towards getting a one sentence storyline going for the totality of the series.

The central (I think the princess’s name might have been Evelyn…yes, completely random thought) thrust of the plot is going to be Azog of Balfor’s attack on the kingdom of Bertran as he is trying to get revenge for a reason I’m not going to discuss in a public forum. It’ll ruin the surprise, and I don’t want to give out any spoilers. Azog also happens to be a half fiend/half dragon with a humanoid base, when it comes to D&D rules. He’s a really nasty piece of work all told.

So, right now we’ve got an unlikely team of heroes gathered together to battle against the forces of evil. Wow that’s kind of cliche. Meh, its a common trope. (All we need now is a chosen one [probably shouldn’t say that because there probably will be one] although the chosen one is a common trope for YA. If I’m going for YA I should probably also write the bulk of it from the princess/Evelyn’s point of view.) All of the comments in the parenthesis will be addressed later on, when I’ve got a better idea of what’s going on in the series. (The princess’s name is EVELYN!!! HAHAHAHA, I found it. Screw you negative thoughts.) Anyway, I need a one sentence storyline for the totality of The Dragon God’s Canticles. One sentence storyline: An unlikely team of heroes are gathered together to prevent the darkness of the demonic dragon god from spreading across the land. (22 words)

Follow along with my peculiar brand of insanity: https://upscri.be/5a20f7/

RSK