I have a crazy new idea for a book series. I’m not talking about the story or characters or anything (although they will be epic!). I’m talking about the structure of the series itself.
Here’s my idea. Ready?
So I was watching The Avengers a while back, and I thought the concept of having a handful of origin stories followed by an ensemble film, followed by more individual hero stories, followed by another ensemble film, etc. etc., was a really cool idea. And then I thought, “Has this been done with books? Could it be done with books? Why is cheesy popcorn so delicious, and yet none of my local theaters sells it?”
Existential popcorn question aside, I took this idea and have been running with it. What I currently have planned (everything is still in the outlining stage at this point), is a series of books which will be comprised of four “origin” stories, followed by an “ensemble” story, and then potentially splitting back off again to the individual characters for more adventures.
Here’s a terrible line-drawing of vaguely how the series would work:
Now, when I suggested this idea to the gentleman who critiqued Imminent Danger a few weeks ago, he said that the idea would never work. According to him, this sort of series has never been attempted because it just plain won’t sell. He suggested that instead I fit those four “origin” stories into one novel, and have the climax of that novel be whatever climax I was planning to use in the first ensemble story.
I think part of the reason it could actually work really well is because I would be self-publishing it. Meaning I could price the origin stories very low (or some of them, at least), in order to garner attention and gain fans. Or have free giveaways, set one of the origin stories permanently free, bundle them all up in an anthology once they’ve all been released, etc. etc. I’m more focused on writing them than marketing them at the moment, but still … important things to think about!
So … what’s everyone’s thoughts on this? Do you think a book series modeled in the “Avengers ensemble” style could possibly work? I’m hoping some of you will say “yes”, because I think it’s a really fun idea! But if you think it’s doomed to failure, don’t hesitate to tell me why. All information is good information!
Update: I thought you guys might be amused to know that the working title for this project is “SWAG RAVEN” — as in, a raven with lots of swag.
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