Understanding Short Term and Long Term Storytelling will better your ability to provide a more satisfying reader experience in the now while also laying the foundation for a more rewarding experience stretched across your series. Xlibris Publishing wants to provide some writing tips at applying Short and Long Term Storytelling.
If you plan to write a book series, one with a story spanning across multiple novels (duology, trilogy, or longer) it is important for you to understand Short and Long Term Storytelling and the differences between them. Knowing these two forms of storytelling and implementing them, will help you better shape your story and better interest your readers in the now and in the books to come.
Short Term Storytelling usually refers to what happens in a single book or novel. The events and plot that take place are immediately relevant within the story. Long Term Storytelling applies to the larger Meta-Narrative, events, plot, and elements whose full relevance and meaning are best understood when a series is taken as whole. Done right the short term and long term elements can play off the other, enabling you to build a deeper, richer story over the course of multiple books.
Short Term Storytelling
When referring to Short Term Storytelling, I am specifically referring to the plot, events, and character advancements that take place within a single book or novel. Specifically I refer to plot, events, and advancements which are introduced and concluded within a single book or story. If a conflict is introduced in a book, then the conflict is resolved within that same book, then this is a case of Short Term Storytelling.
Short Term Storytelling provides a relatively immediate and gratifying experience to the reader, initially investing them in characters. Concluding the immediate story arc gives closure to the reader in the present. Interestingly, while characters and concepts have a short term role within a single novel or story, if said characters or concepts remain relevant or can become relevant in a later story then they can be considered elements of Long Term storytelling.
Long Term Storytelling
Long Term Storytelling includes world-building and foreshadowing. One of basic yet important forms of long-term storytelling is that of world-building. World-building provides a framework within which your story takes place as well as providing references to elements and personages that can play a part in future stories. Thus, through world-building, you can lay seeds to more in-depth introduce characters and concepts without them seeming to come from nowhere.
Foreshadowing can be done by briefly introducing characters and concepts, or by keeping open the option for a character or concept to return. Perhaps in one novel your protagonist is immediately concerned with the current antagonist, while over the course of the story your protagonist becomes aware of an even more dangerous figure waiting in the wings.
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By Ian Smith