Today I’m happy to have Maggie Thom back to the blog today! She is the author of The Caspian Wine Series that expertly combines the suspense, thriller, and mystery genres. I recently reread Captured Lies (Book #1) and reviewed it on Goodreads. Today Maggie Thom is telling about what it takes to write a series. We’re in for a treat today! Here is Maggie:
Writing a series truly had never been in my plans but things don’t always go as planned. I love reading series and have read a lot of them. Every time I’d read one, I’d think, ‘wow this is a lot of work’. There is so much information the author has to carry over from one novel to another – characters, setting, situations, relationships, conflicts… The author has to know a lot of details to ensure that the story makes sense and follows some sort of familiar path as the reader goes from book to book.
So what does it take to write a series?
Some things that need to be considered for each additional book in a series:
- Who the characters are – are they new? Some from previous novels? The author has to know all their details from physical, to emotional, to career, etc. to ensure there is continuity between books (when characters are carried over)
- What is the story line? Where is book 2 going, does it follow any of book 1 or a whole new plot?
- How are the characters carrying over into each series?
- Do you have the same bad guy? Does s/he/it carry over at all?
- What are the roles of the characters from book one in book 2? book 3? if any?
- Are the main characters going to be secondary in additional series or stay as the main characters?
- Where is each book set? a new setting? or the same one? or with some changes?
- What is the time frame from book 1 to 2 to 3…?
- How much of the first story is carried over into the second? Third…?
- What details do you need to include so that the second book… third book… fourth book… is easily understood, even if someone hasn’t read book 1? 2? Or 3?
- What are the conflicts in each book?
- What are the problems that get carried forward?
- How do past events (from previous books) influence current events?
As you can see there are a lot of things to consider when writing a series and a lot of details that the author needs to know from each book. When an author does it right, the reader will feel like they are following the same people, or same town, or same situation. There is a familiarity that the reader is looking for.
It truly is a challenge to do that but I can say it is one that I am glad I stepped up to accept.
Many authors know when they have an idea for a series and they write out a plan for the three, four or five novels they plan to write. They keep the notes they need to make sure they have the information that will be necessary moving forward. Plus, they tend to write the stories one after the other. This is really the ideal way to write a series and makes it somewhat simpler. Continue reading