Tag: Harry Dresden

Casting the Dream – Dresden Files

Casting the Dream – Dresden Files

This is one that I’ve wanted to do for a while, but I haven’t been able to figure out who I want to cast as the main characters. I think that is actually taken care of now. Synopsis: The Dresden Files are a series that […]

Urban Fantasy

Urban Fantasy

Urban Fantasy, what is it? And how do you create good urban fantasy? I’ve mentioned Urban Fantasy before in some articles, but I wanted to delve deeper into it and provide some more examples beyond my normal one. Urban fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy in which the narrative has […]

A Series of Unfortunate Books

A Series of Unfortunate Books

First, let me say that I’m not knocking a Series of Unfortunate Events, I actually enjoyed that series when I read it in high school. The option of using that as a title was just too good.

What I am talking about is how series are crafted and issues that can be ran into when creating a series. Like most of these topics, it’s come about because I read a book, watched a show, heard something about a game, or something along those lines that I thought is important and could be done better than it is often or sometimes anyways. I also want to get out of the way, I don’t think this book, Arsenal (Full Metal Superhero Book 1) was a bad story and poorly written and not worth anyone’s time, I just have some issues with the fact that to get a full books worth of story, you’re going to have to continue the series, Arsenal felt like an opening act.

Image Credit: Amazon

Let’s start out this article with wondering if you should even be writing a series. I do think there are multiple reasons to write a series and I think there are some that do it fantastically. For example, Harry Potter, that makes perfect sense to be a series and not just tell Harry and Voldemort’s story in a single book. It would have felt rushed and there is a lot to explore in the world that Rowling does a good job doing in that series, no comments about the other stuff she’s doing now. She had a clear vision for each book and a clear story to tell in each book as well as clear elements of the over arcing story that she was telling. The Dresden Files does the same thing very well with clear stories but after the first book or so, a clear plot running through all of the books. Maybe you just have to have a main character named Harry who is a wizard to write good series (if there’s any piece of advice to take, this is it, I’m sure).

However, in Arsenal, it didn’t feel like that was the case. The first book was the opening act of a larger story with no real tension to the story. You had an idea of what the overall story for the series is going to be, but the first book fell flat on delivering it’s own contained story. One could argue that it’s Arsenal’s story of her joining the superhero team, but there isn’t tension surrounding that part of the story as it’s resolved quite quickly in the book and her probationary period doesn’t seem like a situation where she’s ever not going to become a full member of the team.

Image Source: Amazon

Beyond having a number of self contained stories, it could also be that your story is just too epic to tell in a single book. There’s a danger with telling a single epic story like this, though, you have to have some sort of plot to drive the story for each book in the series. Again, Harry Potter and The Dresden Files do a good job of that. That’s actually one of the non-trope based knocks I have on The Warded Man as the first book of the Demon Cycle. While there is some plot that drives the book throughout that seems like it is the main plot of the first book, it falls into the trap of not having much of a plot for the book and focusing only on series plot instead. I think that is some of why it had so much exposition and backstory for all the characters that felt like it was overdone.

I’ve already talked about it some, but when you’ve decided to do a series, trilogy or longer really, there is one huge thing that you have to do to make sure that each book feels like a complete book. This is the part I really want to drive home. Even though you have the most epic story for your series, each book in the series is going to have it’s own complete story as well. An obvious example of something that most people know about that fails to do this completely is Pirates of the Caribbean. Unfortunately, after a smashing success with the first movie, they planned on several more of them and decided with Dead Man’s Chest that they didn’t need tell a complete story because they were going to wrap it up in At World’s End. Viewed together, they make a good complete story, however, when you were spending money to get see Dead Man’s Chest in the theaters you felt like you were ripped off because you had to come and see the next one to fully get the whole story.

Image Source: IMDb

This is actually why I haven’t continued Arsenal (Full Metal Superhero) yet, because I don’t know that I want to spend Audible credits to continue a story that I know I might have to listen to all of them to get the full story. It’s the idea that I have to do something to really get the story and that there is a very specific amount that I have to spend on the story. If you were to stop after book three of Harry Potter, sure you wouldn’t have the full story of everything that happens in that magical world, but you’d have had a good experience with those stories. It’s the same with the Dresden Files, now obviously, you’ll get more out of reading the whole story, and the same was true with Pirates of the Caribbean, but as an creator, it isn’t your job to force people to give you money to get a whole story. They should be getting a whole story every time, because that’s what they’ve paid for. Then if you’ve written your story well, people are going to want to come back and people are going to recommend your story to others. While I am mentioning Arsenal and that might get some of you interested in reading it, I’m not going to recommend it, because it fails at this tenant of creating a good series and I can’t with good conscience recommend that people spend their money on the whole series to get a whole story.

So quick recap as this wraps up. Make sure that you actually need a series to tell your story. If the over arcing story isn’t so big that you need to, don’t draw it out. You’ll end up with a lot of filler that people don’t want to read and turn people away from your series. Also, and most key, make sure that every book has a self contained story to it. Every book should feel like it’s reached a conclusion and that the consumer got their money’s worth.  And finally, if all else fails, name a wizard character Harry and go from there to see what happens.

What are some of your favorite series, either movie, books, or anything else that you think does a very good job?


Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!

Email us at nerdologists@gmail.com
Follow us on Twitter at @NerdologistCast
Message me directly on Twitter at @TheScando
Visit us on Facebook here.

The Wiz Kids – Concepts

The Wiz Kids – Concepts

This is something that I hadn’t really thought about writing an article on until right now. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about and this popped into my head though as something my wife and I have been talking about. How to work […]

Tell Me About Your World: An Article on a Concept

Tell Me About Your World: An Article on a Concept

I’m continuing my way through the Dresden Files series, and I was noticing something in Jim Butcher’s writing style that I really appreciate, and that got me thinking about other book series as well. That idea being, how much do you describe about the world you […]

Know Your Nerds: Peder’s Top 5 Books

Know Your Nerds: Peder’s Top 5 Books

Kristen and I have been writing on this blog for a while, so I’m sure you kind of feel like you know us because of what we’ve written about, what we write about often, and what we tweet about. But we wanted to give you some more to go on — so we’ve come up with a bunch of ideas for top 5 lists (Movies, Board Games, Video Games, Anime, Superheroes, TV Shows, and Books) that we wanted to do to give you more of an idea of our tastes and what we love!

I’m starting off with my Top 5 Books.

Now, I’m going to add a disclaimer — when I say books, I mean top 5 books or book series. Some series are just too good to split up into single books, and I expect that more often than not you’re going to see series on my list.

Let me say that creating this list was harder than I thought; getting criteria in my head as to what should make my list was tricky, and there’s always something nagging in the background like, “but there’s probably a book you’ve forgotten.” Hopefully I didn’t make a glaring miss on my list. When choosing, I thought about the number of times I’ve read the book, if I’d want to read it again, and how much I’ve enjoyed the book, and I think I’ve come up with a pretty solid list.

5. Lord of the Rings 

Products from Amazon.com

Starting off with a trilogy and a classic. Lord of the Rings is really the standard when it comes to epic fantasy. One of my favorite aspects is the journey from being silly Hobbits into more developed characters with depth in the case of Sam, Merry and Pippin. These stories inform all epic fantasy now as well, which I love. Plus, the story speaks so well to humanity and how sometimes it’s the least that can do the most and that it isn’t always about being the biggest hero; it’s about how, to quote Spider-Man, with great power comes great responsibility.

4. Swallows and Amazons 

Products from Amazon.com

This is definitely a lesser-known book series, but it was one that I grew up with. It takes place in 1930s and follows around a group of kids who have amazing adventures on the lake where they are summering. The kids call themselves the Swallows, as the Swallow is the name of the small sailing boat they use in their adventures.They find an island in the middle of the lake where they can camp, and the Swallows do, only to find out that there is another group of kids, the Amazons, who have already laid claim to the island. This is a wonderfully fun series and a fast one to read, as it’s targeted toward children. If you have kids or if you enjoy children’s and middle-grade fiction, you will enjoy these books. The kids get into tons of trouble and go off on tons of adventures, and generally it’s just a blast.

3. It 

Products from Amazon.com

I’m a big horror fan and a big Stephen King fan, so there was no way I was leaving this off the list. Often with Stephen King, I feel like his endings can be a bit rushed or a bit odd, but It doesn’t feel like that at all to me. The story paces out perfectly, and with the intertwined generational story giving you information as you need it, it makes it really interesting. For horror fans, if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. If you hate clowns, probably skip it, though.

2. Harry Potter 

Products from Amazon.com

This is another middle-grade/YA series, but one that everyone definitely knows. It’s just so much fun; it’s epic, it flows well, and it allows you to get lost in the fun of the story. It’s not without its faults, but the fact that I’ve read through the series three times means that I really do love it. Harry Potter really allows me to escape into a world that is wonderful, and as someone who loves the fantastical, it’s easy to imagine what it would be like to live in that world and what sort of amazing adventures could be had joining Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Now, I will say, for being #2 on my list, this almost didn’t make the list, as I have other very fantastical books that I love as well, but Harry Potter as a collection of fantasy/magical books is just too wonderful not to put on the list.

 1. Dresden Files 

Products from Amazon.com

This is another fantastical series that I really really love. I’m not done with the whole series yet (nor is Jim Butcher), but I love everything about it. It has that wonderful urban fantasy element to it that I really enjoy, as it makes it feel like supernatural things could be hiding just out of the corner of my eye in reality. Bringing in fey, vampires, werewolves, wizards, and so many more monsters, it’s fantastic while still being grounded. It is also interesting because Harry isn’t a great person for a main character. He has a lot of flaws — he’s stubborn, reckless, and has plenty more unsavory traits as well. But that makes the books better than a lot of other series, in my opinion, as you feel like you’re able to relate to him more than with some heroes, and that isn’t something that a lot of series do all that well. I’ve only read through the first eight books once, but after reading that far I know I want all the books, and I know I’ll want to read them again, which is a sign of a good series.

Some books that were close but didn’t quite make it are Inkheart by Caroline Funke, Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Stardust by Neil Gaiman, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

But what other books do you think I would enjoy? What are your five favorite books?


Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!

Email us at nerdologists@gmail.com
Follow us on Twitter at @NerdologistCast
Message me directly on Twitter at @TheScando
Visit us on Facebook here.

TableTopTakes: Dresden Files Card Game

TableTopTakes: Dresden Files Card Game

During my time between jobs, besides spending a lot of time doing mind numbing training in new programming languages, is go to Fantasy Flight Game Center and try out some different games than I’ve played before. And yesterday I went with a friend and played […]

Book ‘Em, Nerd-o: Storm Front (Dresden Files #1)

Book ‘Em, Nerd-o: Storm Front (Dresden Files #1)

We’re back in urban fantasy land today with Storm Front, the first installment of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. But while this series belongs to the same genre as Little (Grrl) Lost, the tone couldn’t be more different, and the stakes in these stories couldn’t be higher. It’s a […]