Writing a Young Adult Fantasy Series? What you need to know.

Book Cover of “The Mirror Sliver”

Legends of Green Isle is my baby.  Six books with the possibility of three additional ones which tell the back story of Green Isle, has been in the process since 2003.  I’m amazed at how people can generate books within a few short months.  I guess that’s why I’m blogging about Legends today, because it’s taking me quite a while to complete these.  I thought I could do the same thing, write them out in a few years, but reality set in as I was creating the outlines, the characters, the world, the story itself.  It’s not that easy.

Preparing this series, I realized that weaving the story throughout six books requires an in-depth examination of the tale as I completed the outlines themselves.  I was going to need to make sure that what I was writing in book two concurs with book one and also book six.  For example, a key that is silver in book one doesn’t turn into a gold one by book five. (Haha).    

I also got back the first word from my editor after I sent her the first fifteen chapters of Book Two – “The Mirror Sliver.” Our May release had to be pushed off as she requested that I rewrite and add some chapters in the beginning to make the story flow from book one to book two.

Outlining has been a difficult part of the process for me.  I’m not an outliner normally, I shoot from the hip.  Yet, with this series, I found that NOT creating an outline will lead me down a path I don’t wish to go, and that would be, forgetting some important detail from a previous book that needs to be brought out in one of the next books.  For example, a haunted portrait in book one, mentioned briefly, will have a dramatic effect in book three.  Can’t forget those types of detail, so an outline must be created.  (It was a most daunting task.) My boyfriend Kevin has to listen to me sometimes talk about the story, and is in amazement that I have all of it up in my head.  (I had a most horrid thought a while ago that if I perished before the series was done who would complete it since all of it was in my head.  Another reason I created the outlines and notes on characters. Perhaps one of my children would pick up the pieces and finish it.)

Creating an adventure that would appeal to young adults was also another hurtle.  I stopped reading all young adult books because I didn’t want my story to be influenced by any other author’s creative stories. (i.e. Harry Potter)  Music seemed to inspire me though, so I would listen to the Lord of the Rings albums.

Map of Green Isle

So what can you expect as an author wishing to create a long series of Young Adult Fantasy books?  Lots of outlining, pre-planning, character creation (write them down and address their personalities), the world in which they live (helpful is you design a map and the important places for your own viewpoint), and a good editor who can see where the story is supposed to go and get it there. (Thanks Jessica Keaton!)

I can honestly say, never hurry a great idea, it must be simmered and stirred.

10 thoughts on “Writing a Young Adult Fantasy Series? What you need to know.

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  1. As a fellow YA Fantasy writer I agree, with fantasy things need to be slower, almost methodical or silly mixups will ruin the breathtaking detail of an epic fantasy world. I’m just about ready to send my first one to agents, and it has been a long, but worthwhile road.

    Oh, some great writing music for fantasy writers is trailer music…try Two Steps from Hell, Future World Music, or The Immediate. xD See you on the bookshelves!


  2. There is nothing wrong with taking time on your work. I cannot finish a book in a few months either. I’ve worked on my manuscript for six years. I’m in the first editing stage. The writing is finished. Art takes time, especially when writing a work for YA. Mine is also YA.

    I’ve done something a little different. Two books I read recently are young adult. I also read other books while I’m reading one of the YA books. There is a way to keep from becoming too attached to a style of writing. Also, I have plenty of inspiration since I work during the school year with kids.

    Good luck with your books!


  3. Have to agree with you. While I had my original draft out in one year, it has taken many years of work to improve then start moving on to book 2. Okay, I do not have the time available to me that I did, and being a parent has also sidetracked me, but an outline is really necessary, I feel. I write both ‘from the seat of my pants’ partially and partly from a general outline, with lots of notes and backgrounding.


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