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Chronicle, Series or Saga? What are you writing?

Writing a book with multiple installments is one of the best ways to gain a loyal readership. Not only that, series have the ability to generate serious revenue (especially if the characters and their journeys are intriguing). Readers will connect with your worlds and follow the story from Book One to the end; however, not all installments are the same. Some authors may write a series and others a chronicle, while some opt for a saga.

Here is how to distinguish between the three, as well as a couple of writing tips for each.

A Chronicle follows events in chronological order. They are typically objective (not interpretive) and tend to be lengthy. An example would be ‘The Chronicles of Narnia,’ which narrates the adventures of various children who play central roles in the unfolding history of the Narnian world. The original book, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, was written as a standalone, but due to popular demand, C.S. Lewis went on to chronicle the creation of the entire imaginary universe – it spans seven books, and as we have discussed, it flows in chronological order.

Generally, a chronicle is a historical account of facts and events in sequential order, but it doesn’t have to be. Chronicles are also used in nonfiction works, such as newspapers. The purpose of these documents is to report the facts. In fiction works, third-person narration is the POV of choice, while first-person works better for nonfiction.


1. The information must be presented in the order in which it occurs. Some advice suggests that the author start from the end and work back. Either way, for the work to be a true chronicle, Book One should start at the beginning of the event.

2. The style should be objective, not analytical. This is especially true for nonfiction. A Chronicle is not the medium which allows the author to put her or his interpretation on the events; rather, the author should report them, as they happened.

A Series is any set of two or more books with the same characters or the same setting, but they don’t necessarily have to flow in chronological order. These stories can even follow different characters who go on distinctive journeys, but the worlds still connect in some form or fashion. For example, in Brooklyn Knight’s series, The French Connection, the tale of one couple is followed from the meet-cute to their wedding day and captures all the drama in between. To make the series more enticing, the world shockingly collides with a paranormal universe, which involves wolf-shifters in search of their fated mates.


1. Writing a series takes a certain level of plotting ability. Pansters can do it but be prepared to experience frustration at some point along the journey.

2. Have a clear understanding of how the character will develop (or not develop) over the course of two or more books. It is gratifying for readers to begin a series with characters who are unaware of the complexity of their circumstances, only to experience a full revelation by the end. Make sure to use character sketches and story arcs to get the most out of your planning sessions.

A Saga is a narrative telling the adventures of a hero or a family. Typically, these stories take the form of medieval prose and discuss the heroic exploits of kings, their kingdoms and prominent families. Sagas are lengthy and come in several genres, including King, Icelandic, Contemporary and Chivalric Sagas. Perhaps the most famous Saga is , are a few. The Shell Seekers, by Rosamunde Pilcher, is an example of a family saga. These books tell the story of three generations of a modern British family, brought together again during a time of crisis, all of whom have been burned by love and must figure out how to move forward.


1. Have or develop a family, whose journey (the ups and downs of their existence) can be explored. What specific challenges will they face? How will they grow and conquer?

2. Determine the time period in which the family will exist. It is medieval or modern day?

Keep these facts in mind while penning your story! Respond to this post and let us know what you’re writing!

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