No one said it would be easy…

I should have realized writing a series wouldn’t be all wine and roses, but I didn’t expect to panic during the process.

There are several times I’ve had novels with characters I thought I could spin off into a series, but it never quite happened. Then I wrote a book and proposed a series to my publisher. That was something I’d never done before. Usually, I write a manuscript, and then submit it. This time I submitted one book and indicated I had ideas for two more. As a result I received my first three-book contract—complete with deadlines for two novels that were still in the “vague idea” stage.

Was I game? Uh, yeah—no-brainer. But, easy? Let’s just say I’ve been through a learning curve.

As an author, I normally start a book with character outlines for my main players, a sketchy outline of the primary plot and—in the case of my Point Pleasant series—a lot of research. Then I write and pants.

That doesn’t work so well with series writing, and honestly, I’m not sure I’ll ever attempt one again. At least not while working a full-time job. I think the cons may be outweighing the pros at this juncture, though I love the project and am committed to it. It’s just those %#@& deadlines, you know?

Let’s take a look at a few pros of series writing

Established Characters
These are great for both writer and reader. As the author, I know this group inside and out. I’m currently writing book three of the series (the last one) so we’ve had two previous novels to become acquainted. The same for my readers. When they pick up the second or third book, they’ll be rejoining characters they already know and are (hopefully) emotionally invested in. Kind of like getting together with old friends.

Open book with 3D objects on page...dog, woman with umbrella, walking down lane with grass on either sideEstablished Setting
My series is set in an actual town (Point Pleasant, West Virginia), so I already had established boundaries before I began writing. Even so, I’ve taken liberties with the town, adding my own fictional businesses and streets. By books 2 and 3, my characters are roaming around in places I introduced in book 1, so again the familiarity is there for both reader and writer. From the Parrish Hotel to Doreen Sue’s hair salon, Suzanne Preech’s Early Start eatery and the Riverside Café (among others) I’ve created my own little world. That part is fun. 🙂

Not Starting from Scratch
Backstories have been established in previous books, so by the time I sit down to write book three, I don’t have to think through a lot of hurdles. I’m not recreating the wheel, which (should) make everything work that much easier, and the process of writing that much quicker.

Now a few cons:  

Alarm clock with bell alarms ticking down to midnightDeadlines
The big one. This is where panic sets in thanks to that looming monolith smack in the middle of the path. Deadlines are relentless and seem to grow larger as the clock ticks down. If I didn’t work full-time I probably wouldn’t mind them so much, but facing them while juggling daily life and a career is a lot harder than I initially imagined. It’s easy to think “oh, I’ve got time.” But time has a habit of slipping away faster than expected.

Details
I don’t mind this one, but it’s something to be concerned with when writing a series. If I mention something trivial in book 1, then need to address it again in book 2 or 3, I better be certain of the accuracy.

I find myself jotting down the most mundane things….what was the name of the waitress at the Riverside Café in book one? What kind of car did I say Katie Lynch drives? What was the name of the street two blocks over from Eve’s house? What color hair did (insert name of random third-tier character) have? I find myself jotting notes constantly for it’s important to be consistent throughout.

The Siren Call of Other Projects
Don’t get me wrong. I love my characters and this series, but other projects are starting to whisper incessantly in my ear. Sometimes it’s hard to stay focused when being wooed by other ideas. I keep jotting notes on those. Keep thinking about “when I finish…” but the noise level is growing as those ideas funnel into a bottleneck. I’m in this for the duration, but I also like shiny new plots. For now I’m keeping a lid on those, but it’s distracting.

The Synopsis
I don’t know of any writer who actually enjoys writing a synopsis, but this one is a killer for me because it’s due in advance of the book. Given I proposed a series and got a contract, it should be easy, right? Not really. Because now I need to provide details of that “vague idea” that suddenly requires concrete shape. I always breathe a huge sigh of relief when I can put this one behind me.

How do you feel about a series? Have you ever written one? Do you think you ever would? Do you see them as confining as a writer or comforting by sinking into the familiar?

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68 thoughts on “No one said it would be easy…

  1. Pingback: No one said it would be easy… — Story Empire | Arrowhead Freelance and Publishing

  2. Once upon a time (sorry, couldn’t help myself there) I had an idea for a short story (If It’s Easy) that was intended to be a stand alone. But the characters wouldn’t leave me alone once that story was finished. They whispered in my ear in the shower, when I was trying to sleep, on walks with the dog… They kept telling me about all the adventures they wanted to go on. So I started making notes, which led to an outline, which led to story boards on Pinterest which only helps me envision their world all the better. I’m not planning a series, but clearly my characters, Devi Aradesta and Coriander Wolf, are! You see, they’ve been hired to rescue/retrieve an expedition that went off in search of another home for humanity, because there’s a big asteroid coming… You can see the potential for a series here, right? Without giving too much away, I can clearly see at least three books and a rich website for their adventures. A story-bible has saved whatever sanity I have left, and it’s helped me keep the little details of their lives straight. Like Devi being born off-planet, for example.

    I’d like to be far more productive than I currently am, and when the novel-in-progress is complete (Infinite Worlds), I’m debating searching for an agent. Because as much as I currently enjoy the freedom of an Indie author, I am beginning to see the merit in having a professional team on my side.

    In the meantime, I’m having a lot of fun delving into the adventures of an alternate-world-hopping duo!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds like a great series with a lot of potential (BTW, I love the character names). I also love your idea of creating Pinterest boards during the planning stage. I might do that with my next book. It sounds like a great way to get the creativity flowing. And story bible is a must in a series!

      I’m a hybrid author who has published 3 indie titles but the rest of my releases are through a traditional publisher. I pitched without an agent, but I really need to take the time to find one as traditional seems to be the route I’ll likely stay with. The nice thing with indie is that when something doesn’t “fit” the traditional publishing vein, authors still have the ability to publish on their own.

      Thanks so much for sharing and commenting. And best of luck with that series. I have a feeling Devi and Coriander will be getting their way with having their stories told 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Archer's Aim and commented:

    These are excellent points about writing a series. I think details can be both a pro and a con with a series. You have many of them established but you need to remember them. I don’t worry about deadlines but I will focus more on finishing as much of a series before publishing it in the future. But yes, other projects to call for attention. Nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Uh-oh. Presales based on a deadline. Okay, now I’m feeling your pressure, LOL.
      I’ve got my fingers crossed it all works out for you. I know you have to be well acquainted with the pressures of writing a series. I feel like an amateur in that regard but I’m learning. Here’s hoping we both kick butt, LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fab post, and a really timely one for me as I’m embarking on my first proper series! In a way, my brain already works that way because I came to fiction from writing TV where a returnable series is like gold dust so it’s how I try to think about every story… but it’s still daunting to embark on all alone!! Congrats on the book deal – how thrilling!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Claire! Thanks for dropping in and checking out the post. Wow, you came from writing TV? I often wonder about the writers for television and how they can routinely produce story lines over and over again on such tight schedules. It sounds like you will have no problems in meeting deadlines with that experience behind you. Welcome to the world of fiction (novel) writing and congrats on taking the step!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel your pain, Mae. I have two deadlines looming and the pressure is on big time. Writing a series isn’t easy; with you there too. For Blessed Mayhem I had to stop writing to plan every scene in the novel to ensure it all works out like I’d planned. Marred’s sequel seems a bit easier to write for some reason. No idea why. But I do the same thing you do, and scribble notes while re-reading the first two books. I also have a third book, a standalone, which needs to be done by the end of the year (something exciting is brewing, but I don’t want to jinx myself). Needless to say, I’m stretched about as thin as I can get. Good luck with book three, Mae. I’m sure you’ll pull it off. Don’t forget to breathe!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue, the idea of juggling TWO series at the same time is well….mind-boggling! It’s so hard handling just one, the pressure of two must be horrible. I wish I could plan scenes ahead but sometimes I find myself stuck when I know what “has” to happen rather than “let’s see what happens.”
      Notes are great though, aren’t they? Where would we be without them, LOL.
      Looking forward to both of your upcoming releases, and also the stand alone. I’m not sure what’s brewing, but best of luck. I’m sure you’re on the cusp of something spectacular! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • OMG, Mae. It’s SO stressful, especially since I had a 10K-word story due for an anthology last week, which I hadn’t started till a few days before (met that deadline, thankfully) and I’m involved with a multi-author thriller due before the holidays. Yikes! I really need to learn how to say no. In the meantime, I’m losing hair by the second. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Wow, Sue. You’ve got a lot in the works. I contributed to a anthology that is pubbing in October but it was my only other distraction besides book 3. If I’ve got yours right, you’ve got two series going on, a stand-alone, an anthology and a multi-author thriller. Are you NUTS?!?!? LOL!
        Kidding, Sue. If anyone can pull it off, you can. You are dedicated, talented and determined. I look forward to discovering all your new releases. Congrats and best wishes on your many projects!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks so much for sharing this, Mae.
    I’m thinking about a series too. I have written a trilogy, and yeah, I’ve written the entire trilogy before starting fine tuning the first novel. I don’t even think I’d be able to do it any other way. Now I’m planning a series of novellas and I think I’d go the same way.
    It’s a lot of work in advance, it’s true, but I don’t think I’d be able to write a novel, revise it, polish it and then go on to the sequel. I’m probably not apt for working this with a publisher… so I’m going the self way.

    You know? I’ve read so many times that we should write the synopsis ‘before’ we write the story… and I’ve always wondered, how do you even do that?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think some authors write the synopsis first, but it’s more like an outline of how they plan everything to unfold. As an author who for the most part goes the pantsing route on my novels, it’s hard to conceive of a synopsis in advance. I’m with you—heck, how can an author do that? The synopsis I wrote for book 2 in my series did not hold true to the completed book, but I did use some of it.

      I like the idea of having a trilogy completed in advance and then going back and reworking/polishing after the fact. I think you’ve made a smart move in choosing to work that way. You’ll also be able to release your books within a time frame that will hold the interest of your readers. Congrats on planning ahead!
      Many thanks for visiting and commenting 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Natalie! So great to see you here. Thanks for reading and commenting.
      I am definitely not going to go the series route again until I have more hours available in the day. I keep telling myself two down and one to go. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s a looooong tunnel, LOL!
      Thank you for the well wishes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent post on the pros and cons of series. I do think they are worth it. It’s just that the –argghhh– deadlines can bring on such unease and, as you say, panic. When my publisher liked my first book and asked me how many I had planned in the series of the Wytchfae world, I was new to writing and answered with my favorite number– 7. LOUD buzzer sounds for wrong answer Thus, I was tied up for two years with no time to explore the little jewels of diverse inspiration that pop up and was also in a constant state of deadline. However, I’m not sorry it happened that way. In retrospect I’m actually glad it happened because it forced me to produce and explore creativity within the focused world of Wytchfae. And I ended up with 7 books, so who could fault that? I wouldn’t say 7 again, but after all, my second favorite number is 3.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would be in deep trouble tossing out my favorite number of 12, LOL.
      Your Wytchfae series was a vividly realized realm, Flossie, and producing 7 books in two years was a ton of work, I’m sure. I like your reference to the “little jewels of diverse inspiration.” What a great way to describe all the new story ideas that come creeping along. Hmmm…maybe you need to start working on your next favorite number now with some of those jewels 🙂

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  8. I have an idea that I believe could be two. possibly three books. I too have a full time job and volunteer as an officer in my local church, leaving me little time to write as much as I would like. This is one of the many reasons that I hesitate writing a series–that and the many notes that must be kept to keep things consistent. I also have thoughts on stand alone books. Your post was very enlightening for those considering a book series.

    Liked by 1 person

    • HI, Michele. Glad you found the post enlightening. As a newbie to series writing the whole experience has been an eye-opener for me. Time and details are definitely critical components so I can understand your hesitation to venture down the series path when juggling so many other responsibilities. Although I probably won’t tackle anything like this again I’ll continue to gather notes for those years when retirement allows more freedom to write. Your ideas can always be saved for later. The nice thing about stories and characters is that they’re always there waiting for an author to give them life 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and commenting!

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  9. Haven’t written a series (yet), but have two more books in mind with my current WIP. I guess the good news for me is that I’ll self-publish them, so the only deadline I have is my own. Having said that, I want to publish the second book next year, and possibly book three. In the meantime, there are other story ideas with other characters I want to write about.

    I may be pulling my hair out when its over!

    Liked by 2 people

    • LOL! I know that feeling, Joan. So many story ideas, so little time.
      It sounds like you’ve got a plan in place though and that’s part of the battle. Since I started writing my goal has been 2 books a year. A lot of times that’s a mix of traditional and indie publications but so far I’ve been able to stick with it. There’s been some hair-pulling along the way and there will probably be a lot more moving ahead, LOL.
      Even when not working with a traditional publisher, I think it’s good to set deadlines. As writers, it helps keep us focused and motivated. Although we rarely ever need an excuse to write 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Such fascinating reading Mae – you’ve gone the route I decided against and I’m glad I did!
    I wrote a fantasy novel I planned to be the first part of a trilogy, and secured a very enthusiastic agent, but then I got cold feet thinking of the pressure of deadlines on the other books, so decided to go the indie route instead of pursuing a traditional deal. I do have a couple of trad published non-fiction books, and I’ve written for several magazines for years, so I’m used to working to deadlines, but with a full time job I’m not willing to give up, I panicked at thought of having to be creative to order. Facts, I can manage, but pressure kills my creativity.
    I’m just about to self publish the second in the series, and I’m so relieved I’ve done it this way – it’s taken me 2 years to write, and I’ve ended up taking out one plot thread (it’s 150K words without the extra thread!), and turning that into a separate novella – not the sort of thing you can do with a trad publisher.
    On the writing front, I did start this one with trepidation, wondering if I could possibly make it as good, if not better, than the first, let alone raise the stakes. But if my beta readers are to be believed, I’ve done it, and I’m now raring to get to the rest of the series, with all the many threads in place for the grand finale. I keep an extensive set of notes on all the details of characters, places etc. so I don’t make any glaring booboos (I hope!), though I still keep those in a Word file.
    I do have Scrivener, and found its cork board tool wonderful for getting scenes into order easily – otherwise it would be sticky notes and a large board.
    I’m so used to working in Word I think I’d struggle to change over completely, but who knows, one day…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Deborah! You are absolutely right about the pressure of being creative on demand–it’s a huge struggle. If I had it to do over again, I’d probably still go the traditional publishing route because of the exposure the first book has received. For the future, however, I think I will avoid another series…at least traditionally pubbed. It sounds like you have a good system and a lot of experience. And it is so nice not to be restricted by word count when you’re publishing indie. Personally, when it comes to fantasy, I have no problem with those thick epic books. They’re the kind I actually prefer to read 🙂
      I love working in Word, too, but maybe I’m going to have to try mixing Scrivener in as well.

      And if The Prince’s Man is the fantasy novel you’re referring to, I’ve got that one on my Kindle and it’s climbing on my TBR. I’m looking forward to discovering the realm and characters you’ve created 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • 😀 I was also concerned after hearing so many published authors moaning about how their idea/plans for their subsequent books had to be changed at the order of their publishers. Even one poor guy who was instructed to combine books 2 and 3 into a single volume (and halve the word count), plus produce it within 6 months!
        The Prince’s Man is the first in my epic series, (hope you enjoy it when you get there), but its the second one, The Prince’s Son, that presented the big challenge. Embarking on your first attempt as writing a sequel is daunting, though now I’ve done it I feel thoroughly ready for the next. I had to learn so much about handling multiple story strands (and viewpoints) while remaining true to the first book, and pay close attention to story structure, which was a shock for a semi-pantser like me! That’s where the Scrivener cork board was a huge help. If I could discover how to export a Scrivener file back to Word to do my own formatting, I’d probably use it more too.

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  11. I don’t know if a trilogy counts as a series but yes it is a nerve killer. I had the deadline crunch and then my publisher decided to get interested in other things. (Basket weaving and such) I had the opportunity to get out of the contract and took it. So here I am with my own timetable and so that “con” has been removed. Interesting post, Mae Clar. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Terrific post, Mae, and it brings home to me how happy I am to be self-published. The only deadlines I have to meet are the ones I set for myself, and I can usually talk myself into moving them a bit, if necessary. So there’s one element of pressure I don’t have to worry about. Much.

    I didn’t start out to write a series, and yet, I’m now writing two. My first book was a bucket list thing, and when it started selling and garnering some good reviews, I decided to write another book, set here in Florida. (#1 is set in the Blue Ridge mountains.) The second one did well, too, and the next thing I knew, I was getting emails and calls for sequels for both. So here I am. A series writer.

    I go about it very organically, though, since it was never my plan, and neither book was set up with a series in mind. When I got the idea for Book 2 in the first series, it introduced a character that appealed to so many readers, they wanted more of him, specifically. So now I do at least have an idea of where the next books will be going, and the mountain legends that will be involved. However, the Riverbend series will be about lots of different people in the little town of 6,000. So, there’s not going to be one story arc, though there will be plenty of overlapping characters popping up in each book. (Small town. They all know each other.)

    Either way, consistency is paramount. I find I lose minor character names as soon as I’ve left them behind, and when they pop up again, I have to refresh my memory. I now keep a reference sheet for each series, with every character I’ve written, in the order of appearance in each book. I include everything I can think of, including physical descriptions, D/O/B, jobs, habits, and anything else that might be important. No more skimming over my doc file, hunting for the scene where that person is introduced. I tried Scrivener, btw. Easy to learn, but I found I wasted far too much time messing around in it. Now I just keep a main folder for each WIP, and subfolders inside with images, research notes, URLs, and whatever else I need. For me, it’s actually a lot faster, though I know many people really love Scrivener. I think I’ve transferred my previous office experience from years ago to my folder system.

    Best of luck in meeting your deadlines! Like everything else about writing, and Life in general, it’s a live and learn experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your system sounds a lot like my current one, Marcia. I’ve got a main folder with subfolders underneath related to research, photos and characters. But then I also keep a three ring binder with charts, character worksheets and notes. That one is always on my desk when I write, so I can flip back through the content at a glance. I find it the most helpful of everything I have when I’m working.

      Isn’t it great how a character can just come along and demand more stories from you? I haven’t discovered your Riverbend series yet, but that one is high on my list. And consider me one of those readers who fell in love with the character of Rabbit in book 2 of the Wake-Robin Ridge series. I really like where you’re headed with that one. Now having read all three novels, I need to wait for the next to percolate with you and see the light of day 🙂

      I’ve done a few indie releases and I do love the fact there are no deadlines involved. I’m really struggling with the weight of this last one!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the kind words, Mae. It was a lucky day when Sarah “told” me I had to help this little boy alone in the wilderness. Rabbit has turned out to be something totally unexpected. SO glad you fell in love with him. 🙂

        I don’t take any notes by hand anymore, because I hate to write longhand. It’s way too slow and messy, and I end up with junk I can’t read. So I even keep my grocery and ToDo list on a digital notepad, and print them out. As you can imagine, my life comes to a screeching halt when my computer is down. Arrgghhh. But I think how we do it isn’t as important as finding a system that we’re comfortable with and will remember to use. As you say, readers WILL see those slips, and they don’t hesitate to mention them. Often in public. Eeep. (Speaking of which, the book I’m reading right now, which is part of a series I REALLY love, started off by saying the hero & heroine were camping in the Cascades, and then went on to talk about how much they loved it there in Virginia. Huh? I looked at the reviews to see if anyone had mentioned this, and saw nothing. Am I the only person in America who knows the Cascade mountain range is in the Northwest, nowhere near Virginia???) So see. Those kinds of things happen to everyone, if they aren’t very, very careful. Trying to be both accurate and consistent is hard work!

        Liked by 1 person

      • My immediate reaction was “huh” on that one too, Marcia, LOL!. I think readers will sometimes overlook things and not comment on them because overall, they enjoyed the work. I remember reading a book once that was great with the exception of a single scene (which had MAJOR problems). I didn’t comment on it in my review, and sure enough no one else did either. But it has left me scratching my head like “am I the only one who realized how glaringly wrong that scene was?” Oh well.

        And yay, for systems! Although sometimes I think my system needs a system, LOL! 🙂

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  13. I’ve written a few series, and I really enjoy them, but you’re right. I have a mountain of notes for each of them. The more stories in the series, the more notes:) For urban fantasy, I tended to write with the same main characters, but they faced a different enemy in each book/story. I admire Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniel series, though, because she started her series with a story arc that covered all seven of her books, and then more, when needed. I never thought of that, but it makes each book even stronger. When I started writing a romance series, I had to switch it up and have a PLACE be the consistent theme in each book, with different main characters in each book–so that boy could meet girl, etc, Previous love interests became minor characters to keep the flow. In mysteries, a series dectective can go on for forever, but I’ve watched a few fizzle out. I think the writer just gets tired of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Judi! Great to see you here! I agree with writers getting tired of their characters or just wanting to try something different. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child have a best-selling series with their character Special Agent Pendergast, but a few years ago they decided to create a new series (while continuing the one with Pendergast). I think as writers they wanted to stretch their wings. They have written stand-alones indvidually, but the Gideon Crew books were the start of a new collaborative series for them. Me–typical fan–read book one and didn’t like it at all. I’m a Pendergast girl and that’s where I’ll stay, LOL. But after 15+ books I understand why they might be a little tired of Pendergast (although the very thought is mind-boggling for me! Tired of THAT man? NEVER!!) 🙂

      My Point Pleasant series is a bit like your romance series in that “place” is the consistent theme. Although my lead character in book one (Caden Flynn) has a main role in all three novels whereas some of the other characters move to minor roles when their turn in the spotlight is done. I’ve never read Ilona Andrews but I admire any author that had plot a story arc over multiple books. I would most certainly have to work with a detailed outline for something like that!

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  14. I have written a YA paranormal one that I wrote in advance and published the three books quickly (and that avoided some of the issues) and I’m writing another series of thrillers as I go along, and yes, I agree with the issues. Thanks so much and good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, and thanks so much for commenting! I like the idea of having the books done in advance and then publishing quickly. I’ve got a (trunk) fantasy series I could probably do that with at some point down the road. That would certainly lighten some of the burden and lessen up all those cons, LOL.

      BTW, I love thrillers. Sending you best wishes for your series writing, too! 🙂

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  15. What a lovely post, Mae. I love Scrivener for helping with notes and consistency! It is so useful for staying more organised, lols. So far, I’ve written all stand alones except for Elemental Earth, and I feel like I’m overdue for producing the sequel; so, I REALLY need to knuckle down, ha ha. As for having to write the synopsis in advance: Yikes! I find that difficult enough with a finished book to work from! Best of luck with everything 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scrivener is looking more and more like something I need to learn. Between your comments and those from Staci, it’s clear I’m missing out on a valuable program. I guess I need to buckle down and tackle the learning curve–after book 3 is finished, LOL.

      Thanks for the well wishes, and you’ll be glad to know I just submitted the synopsis on book 3 and now have that nasty hurdle behind me. Worth a Snoopy Dance AND a glass of wine! 😀

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  16. Great post, Mae! Nice to have a peek into what you’re dealing with. I’ve got a series (first book being queried, next three roughs finished), but I always knew the main characters needed more than one book. I’ve actually got the next book (mentally) outlined, but no plans to write it yet. Gotta get my WIP revised again. I like the idea of spending more time with beloved characters, and traveling through their stories. My WIP could be a series, but when I say “series”, I mean more episodic, like the Poirot or Miss Marple books, rather than epic like the Harry Potter series or Tolkein’s Fellowship of the Ring series. I think one has to really like working with the characters, but the characters also have to have enough going on in their lives to warrant more stories.

    And OMG, a synopsis before the draft?! I have a hard enough time writing one after the draft. Good luck with book 3. Can’t wait for Book 2!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, you’re busy, Julie! And such a great point about episodic books. I love the Pendergast novels by Preston and Child (which I think you know, LOL) and they fall more into the episodic category. I think when you hit on a character like that (or Poirot or Miss Marple) your fan base is going to stick with you and that’s a nice plus too. I love reading beloved characters, I’m just not so sure about writing them for a duration, LOL.

      As for the synopsis….talk about winging it! I just finished it for book 3 and am so glad its behind me. I’m with you on having a hard time writing one even after the draft is done. I’m looking at this whole experience as another step in my writer’s journey. I seem to remember a certain blogger discussing steps recently 🙂

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  17. This is a great post, Mae. There are several pros and cons with respect to series writing, and you nailed them, particularly the pro of familiar characters and settings and the con of keeping the details straight. I’ve written both standalones and series work, and of the two, I prefer to write series because I feel more invested in those lives. But I have to say, it’s become much easier for me to keep things straight since I switched from Word to Scrivener. It’s so convenient to have character and setting profiles right in the living document rather than in a different doc. If I can’t remember what vehicle a character drove in book one, I only have to open his character sheet to find it. (Assuming I was diligent enough to record that detail to begin with!… But that’s another post topic.)

    Anyway, wonderful take on this topic. BTW, I’ve already pre-ordered book 2, and I can’t wait!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I really need to learn Scrivener. I keep saying “when I have time.” Looks like one of these days I’m going to have to make the time. I do have it on my computer, I even opened it once or twice but that’s as far as I’ve gotten. Right now my character sheets are all written by hand or keyed into a separate document in Word. Sounds like at least the detail aspects of series writing would be easier with Scrivener. It’s going back on my to-do list!

      Oh,and thanks for the pre-order. I like book 2 even better than book 1 🙂

      Like

  18. Pingback: Once upon a time… | From the Pen of Mae Clair

  19. Re: Details
    It’s bad enough reading inconsistencies in one book, it’s a nightmare reading glitches in a series. I’ve reviewed a couple where both authors made the silliest errors, referring to something in an earlier book and getting it totally wrong. Aaaaaagh! And, on the other side, as I’ve edited series, I know how difficult it is, flitting back and forth between the books, trying to carry more and more in your head or on paper, or usually, both.
    But good luck 🙂 Hopefully you are using the same editor/s. If not, make sure any new ones read book one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t it odd how those details become so glaringly obvious to a reader, but writers overlook them at times? I did have an editor change between books 1 and 2 (3 is with the same editor as 2) but my new editor went back and read book 1 before she started working with me.Good point about how important that is.

      And I’m constantly pulling up the early manuscripts to reference something I mentioned in the past (in addition to jotting all those notes). Even with that I noticed a slip I made in the name of a certain something. Agh! It was only once and I seriously doubt anyone will pick up on it but I did. Now I’m extra vigilant.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. Great to see you here! 🙂

      Like

      • Hi Mae. The first series I referred to was a trilogy and the error was in the details of an accident leading to a miscarriage. The accident changed and the woman was alone in one book and someone with her in the other. How can you get something like a miscarriage wrong? The second one, referred to a person who died in the first book, and the age and other details were inconsistent.
        Reading books you aren’t editing is time-consuming for an editor, but I think in a series, it is critical.
        I find paper notes more helpful with series. Write on a computer, take/make notes on paper. So easy to see at a glance.
        New site is looking good, best wishes for it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, those are glaring errors, especially the miscarriage! My goof was in calling a place the Riverside Cafe (correct) everywhere, but failing to catch a paragraph where I referred to it as the River Cafe. Er…a much small in scope error, I think. Even so I’ve learned that notes are my friend 🙂

        Thanks for the well wishes. They are much appreciated, as are your comments!

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Thank you for this post that is a, born from experience, guide on writing series!

    One of the main concerns we should have when planning and writing a series is consistency. But what does it mean to be consistent? It’s more than just keeping track of the character names, physical attributes, family trees, and locations; it’s about presenting the logical facts that we’ve established in a series in a consistent manner, from book to book. Why is this so important? Because even if we (or our editor) don’t notice our inconsistencies, the fans of our series most certainly will.
    Big sigh! You know how they say,”never say never.”
    It’s what happens to me. I’ve kept saying: “I will never write anything but standalone books. I will never write about vampires.” Wrong and wrong.
    As it turns out, my editor for Dracula’s Mistress suggested a book 2 ,and now I am in the final stage of the first draft, and. . . it has a vampire, too.
    I understand your predicament and am with you.
    Some of my most beloved works of fiction that have been series include Agatha Christie’s stories of the detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. And now waiting for your next books in Point Pleasant.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m in complete agreement on consistency, Carmen. And also that “never say never” thing, LOL. I didn’t expect to write a series when I started A Thousand Yesteryears. It was only as I worked toward the end of it that I realized there was enough material in the folklore of the town to produce more books. I think with series writing, we fall a little bit in love with the whole concept too….those familiar characters and settings. It’s nice to go back and visit them again.

      And it sounds like you are now doing the same with Dracula’s Mistress. Sometimes editors realize the potential for us, LOL. Looks like we can commiserate on the pros and cons of series writing together!

      Liked by 2 people

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