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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > May 2017 > A Series of INTERESTING EVENTS Part 2


Amy Sparkes investigates how to write a ‘closed’ series for children


Last month, we looked at creating an ‘open’ series for children’s fiction. Books like Famous Five are open series (the scene is set, then endless standalone adventures are possible). In contrast, books like Harry Potter and the Charlie Bone series by Jenny Nimmo are ‘closed’ series: a predestined number of books with a clear storytelling arc. Closed series are usually planned out before the first book is even written. However, each book should remain a satisfying and complete stand-alone story in itself.

The two crucial elements of good storytelling are plot and characters. When you are creating a closed series, you can use detailed planning to explore these two elements to maximum effect.


Your protagonist should develop through the series. The first book presents an initial problem, usually an internal and an external conflict. The external conflict is largely plot related (see below) but the internal conflict relates to the character’s personal desires and self-understanding. It helps us understand and identify with the protagonist and empathise with their situation. For example, it could be a question of identity, as in the Harry Potter series. The series is about him embracing a new, unexpected identity and standing firm in that truth to confront the Dark Lord Voldemort who murdered his parents. With each book, the character should have a mini-character arc – gaining some new selfunderstanding by the end of each story.

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About Writing Magazine

Want to make sure your readers are hooked from the start? In this month's Writing Magazine, learn how to grab your readers' attention and keep it all the way to the end. • Have you completed a first draft? We show you how to polish it to perfection. • Would your life make a good story? We show you how to transform your inspiring ideas into writing material. • Read how our star interview, Lisa McInerney, went from blogger to bestseller. • Find out about the latest writing opportunities and win £51,579 in writing prizes!

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