One Universe – Endless Opportunities

This post was originally going to highlight how my current working universe started as a random short story tapped out on my phone and converted itself first into a “historical fiction” type book and then into a Gunpowder Fantasy.

Instead, I thought I would talk about how a single universe can be a wealth of opportunities for multiple story lines and independent series.

I was reading A Way with Worlds post on cultures, and it came to me that building out a detailed world is not only important for immersing your readers in your world, but can spawn new ideas. As I was putting down some background information for my supporting short stories when some of the background turned itself into the basis for a whole new series.

Now, writing two separate series in the same universe can be tricky. If you choose to have the two stories work closely together, you have to worry about writing both series simultaneously or risk revealing too much about one storyline.

If you choose to have the two more loosely related, as I intend to do with my Griffins & Gunpowder and Red Dragon’s War series, then you have to focus less on either story revealing too much and more on making sure that any interactions between the two series are consistent between the two.

One of the advantages of this approach,  however, is that your secondary and background world building is already done for you. You also have the ability to make your world more detailed. Where telling about a certain nation would be an info-dump in Series 1, in Series 2 you can go into great detail as part of the story.

What do you think about writing more than one series in a shared universe? What other challenges or advantages do you think would come with the territory?

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About Joshua K Johnson

Josh is the author of The Cerberus Rebellion and The Hydra Offensive, Gunpowder Fantasy novels set in the Griffins & Gunpowder universe. He is currently working on a new novel set in the same world as well as The Centaur Incursion, Book 3 in the existing series. He's married with a 5 yr old son and a 1 year old daughter, keeping him busy. He currently works and is a full-time student.

Posted on May 12, 2012, in writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Terry Pratchett does this remarkably well. The problem with choosing a single universe as the stage for many stories is that it limits the ability for your story to change the universe on a grand scale. There’d be little left to tell in Middle Earth after the defeat of Sauron, and the world he created was changed permanently and for the better. If your story is less apocalyptical, then it can lead to a wonderful consistency between your tales.

    • The Griffins & Gunpowder universe is actually ideal for a multi-series run as the current series is not an apocalyptic setting. I’m looking forward to expanding my universe through multiple storylines.

      I was actually tapping out some ideas earlier and Series 2 might be a string of novellas. I could make a novel out of it, but I’m going to keep that idea in my back pocket while I work on the current series. Which, now that I mention it, I need to decide on a series name for…

  2. Hey thanks for putting that link in! I hope you don’t mind if I reblog this post. It’s a point I do want to make on A Way with Worlds, but the blog is about creating worlds, so I was having trouble finding somewhere to work it in.
    I have about six series bouncing around in my head, one of them mostly written and three others extensively planned with several chapters typed out. I think it really depends on the ‘type’ of fantasy your going for. My fantasy is very much ‘historical fantasy’ style, so writing other stories in the same world is pretty similar to writing ‘other stories’ in our own world.

    I fully agree about the upshot. Setting extra stories in the same world gives you so much more legroom because your readership doesn’t need EVERYTHING explained over and over again. I can’t wait to be able to write a story without worrying about infodumps.

    I have to say I disagree with Satis on the point that there WOULD be a lot to tell about Middle Earth after the fall of Sauron. People still lived and died and strived to be good. Desperate acts of kindness and love and hatred were still committed behind closed doors. Tolkien, shortly before he died, started planning a new trilogy in which the population of Gondor begins falling to evil cults… personally I couldn’t be more thankful that it never got very far. Lord of the Rings was bad enough.

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