Style consistency over a series

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Rebeccaej
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Style consistency over a series

Post by Rebeccaej » 29 May 2017, 20:08

I'm nearing the end of the second draft of my first novel, and starting to think about what else is going on in this universe. There are definitely other stories worth telling in the world I've been building, and I think it would work well in a trilogy.

My concern is that the first book, and the prequel that I want to write next will have incredibly different styles.

The story in writing now is in 1st person, from the pov's of two different characters. It takes place in a world of very insular little city states, where what happens in one city has almost no effect on anything else. As a result, it has a very small cast of characters, pretty linear story-building and not a lot of subplots.

The prequel takes place a few centuries earlier, in a sprawling, diverse, politically unstable world. The background story is about a revolution and how that entire empire fell. I would need to juggle a lot more subplots and characters, and have more perspective changes. It would probably work best in 3rd person.

It seems strange to me to write two books with such wildly different styles, and treat them as part of a series. It's what would be necessary to tell the stories, but I worry that a reader would be thrown off when the prequel turned out to be a very different book than they were expecting.

Does anybody know of another series that does something like this? Would it bother you to read a series like that?
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KS Crooks
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Post by KS Crooks » 02 Jun 2017, 21:33

What do you mean by "style". Are you referring to choice of words you commonly use and the way you phrase sentences. Or only the point of view, the tone of the story. The tone often varies between books in a series as some novels are darker or lighter than others or the experiences the characters have had have changed them. The point of view might change when the number of main characters differs or if the initial main character dies. I would be totally fine with any of these changes if I enjoy the characters and the story.

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Rebeccaej
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Post by Rebeccaej » 03 Jun 2017, 09:23

KS Crooks wrote:What do you mean by "style". Are you referring to choice of words you commonly use and the way you phrase sentences. Or only the point of view, the tone of the story. The tone often varies between books in a series as some novels are darker or lighter than others or the experiences the characters have had have changed them. The point of view might change when the number of main characters differs or if the initial main character dies. I would be totally fine with any of these changes if I enjoy the characters and the story.
Hmm...to start with, the prequel takes place 300 years before the first book. The first one makes occasional references to a revolution that dramatically changed the social social structure, and one character reads a lot about it to try to understand the history of her species.

The prequel takes place during the revolution, so it includes none of the original characters, except for a few that the protagonist read about.

I think what's concerning me most is the switch from 1st person in the original story, to 3rd person in the prequel, along with the complete change of cast, and the switch from a very small, intimate story to a very broad story.

I'm figuring out ways to make the prequel more intimate, but it still feels a bit like following up Anne of Green Gables with Game of Throne.
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Post by Sushan » 19 Jun 2018, 12:04

I don't think that the style has to be consistent throughout the series. Yet, if the time periods are not much changed, has to be careful with the language, especially the speaking language because significant change of that will be an impact on the flow
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Post by H0LD0Nthere » 21 Aug 2018, 20:37

Rebeccaej, I am having this exact same problem! I really really hope you are still visiting these forums so you can tell me how it went and bestow your wisdom on me.

My first novel was told in first-person POV by an ensemble cast of characters. Each chapter gives the name of the character who will be narrating it. This was necessary partly to allow the readers to see the philosophical problems each character faced, and partly because one of the characters didn't share a language with the others, so first person POV was the only way we could know what everyone was thinking at the time we needed to know it.

However, that first novel included an epilogue written in the 3rd person which introduced the next generation. When writing about them, 3rd person just seemed more natural.

Hence, when I began novel 2, about the second generation, I began it in 3rd person. And not just 3rd person ... 3rd omniscient! I feel that it is working well, but I do wonder if it will be jarring for readers, or that editors / agents will feel that a series has to have a consistent approach to POV.
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