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Universe or sseries ?


I just created a universe, and I suspect it should have been a series.
It was the Brennans -- mostly Bob and Jeanette, but also some of their family.
What do people see as the difference?
(I can open up a universe, but definitely do not want to do so. "Does not play well with others.")

Replies:   John Demille

As a reader, I consider a series to be a string of stories that build one upon another and usually occur in a chronological order. That makes it harder for another author to write in it. A book might be set in the past to further explore a subject matter, but it still will further the complete story.

A universe on the other hand revolves around a central theme like the Swarm Cycle, Damsels in Distress or even the endless fanfics. These stories, for the most part, are stand alone stories.

John Demille


From the site's help pages:

What is a series?

A series is an organizational structure that allows you to organize a group of stories with a common theme or common main character.

Series can be ordered or un-ordered. Ordered series are for a series of stories that are best read or presented in a particular sequence. Un-ordered series is simply a collection of stories and are presented to the reader in alphabetical order.

For example two separate stories that have the same main character who is a detective. Two different cases, that makes two different stories, but it's one series of stories about the detective's exploits.

What is a Universe?

A universe is an organizational structure that allows you to organize stories and series that exist in a certain alternate reality that is in common between them.

For example two separate stories that have a common backdrop of a certain disaster, or set on a certain planet. The background is common, but the characters don't have to be in common at all.


I see a series as a collection of stories that continue a main storyline, whereas a universe is a collection of stories that have the same basic setting but outside of possible guest appearances have nothing to do with each other.

For instance a series might be a trilogy with three stories about a "Johnny Quarterback" first as he goes through high school, then college and finally in the NFL. A universe might have the above series and a story about "Peggy Ice Dancer" who goes to the same high school as Johnny but outside from occasionally seeing each other in the hall don't interact.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking


Peggy Ice Dancer

Anyone interested in a Damsels in Distress prompt? Not sure about Johnny Quarterback though - do girls play American Football? (I know they play rugby, I have no idea about Australian Rules.)


Crumbly Writer

And even if it is a universe, don't worry about it. There are public (open to other authors) and private (only open to the original author) universes, and in both sets, the original author creates the ground rules and no one is supposed to break those rules (the few times this has occurred has essentially shut down the every universe for everyone, so most authors know to not do it).

These rules include: staying away from the main characters, not jumping ahead of the main story, and sticking to the rules of the universe, while investigating the author's main characters. And if the original author decides that unicorn farts cure all ills, everyone has to agree to that stipulation.

Also, when you do invite others into a universe, you get to decide which authors are allowed in.

Dominions Son

@awnlee jawking

do girls play American Football?

That I am aware of, there have been no serious women's American football leagues. That said, there have been a few cases of girls playing with the boys at the high school level.

Geek of Ages

@awnlee jawking

do girls play American Football

Women have professionally: look up the LFL.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Geek of Ages

Women had professionally: look up the LFL.

It went bankrupt after only a few short years. Still, it was much more entertaining than traditional American football!


@awnlee jawking

The name I used - Johnny Quarterback came from this NFL player.

"Peggy" was in the same school he was in and ice skated. Their stories would fall under the same universe because of that connection.

Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

It went bankrupt after only a few short years.

Their website is trying to sell me tickets, so uh, I think it's still around:

(Also, regardless, "have" is perfectly correct there, in the same way I'd say "I've played baseball before.")


@Crumbly Writer

Geek of Ages is correct.

According to Wikipedia, they are still around. They've changed their name, although retaining the old initials, and have somewhat more sensible uniforms. And they aren't a Super Bowl half-time activity anymore, they have real league play. Which could be why you though they went belly up, not seeing them at the Super Bowl any longer.

They now have member leagues in the US, Canada and Australia, with plans for Europe.

The players have mixed feelings about the uniforms. Some point out that they really aren't any more revealing than those used in track and field, vollyball, etc., while others would really rather have better coverage to prevent abrasions when getting tackled, which isn't something that happens in the other sports mentioned. They have shifted from being so blatantly lingerie.

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