Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Writing a series

As of today, I'm just over half-way through the first draft of BEHIND THE BIT, book 3 in the Canterwood Crest series. Half-way. Mmmm. Two magical words for writers! Now, I didn't say the draft was pretty, or anything, but it's down. Ahh.

So, I've been thinking a lot about how different writing a series is compared to a standalone book. I wonder how different the draft to publication process would have been for my first book if it had been on its own. Maybe not at all. I'm not sure.

I do know I've learned a lot about series writing. Let's see...

What I've learned:

* Keep a spreadsheet of vital information like character eye color, hair color, names of siblings, etc. You swear you'll remember everyone's shoe size, but as more characters come into play the easier it becomes to confuse them. Actually, I should do this with standalones, too....

* Remember that you're writing a series! I want people to read TAKE THE REINS and say, "OMG! I have to read CHASING BLUE to find out what happens!" Don't tie up everything in one book.

* Cliffhangers are your friends. (Thanks, K!) My cliffhangers have escalated with each book.

* Torture your characters. (K, that's from you again, lol) Well, not really. But I've recently began to embrace the "a book that's happy on every page is boring" manta. I've been putting Sasha, my MC, through some tough situations that heighten with each book.

* Love your series! Obviously. If you're going for a series instead of a standalone, you MUST love your plot and characters for a while. Otherwise, it shows.

* New characters are good. Sure, you've got your main characters, but adding new people here and there keeps things fresh.

Okay, anyone else have something to add?


Keri Mikulski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Keri Mikulski said...

Opps.. Sorry, Jessica.

Great advice. When I wrote the first SCREWBALL book, I wrote a basic spreadsheet/character sketch.. Then, when I sat down and wrote the second book, I had to flip through SCREWBALL so many times to check tiny details about characters and settings. For the third book, I have a complete index card collection ready to go.

Gotta love cliffhangers. :) And yes, I agree, you have to seriously adore your characters. :)

Heather Harper said...

I can't think of anything else to add. I'll keep all of your pointers in mind, though. I'm still debating if I am writing a series or not.

Unknown said...

Keep a realistic timeline. That's my current issue...

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