Thursday, September 27, 2012

Writing Fiction In A Series - Part I

When I first began to write, each book was a single story. Since I wrote category romance and romantic suspense, the books were focused on a hero and heroine and their journey to committed love. In the case of suspense, the stories were split with half focused on their romantic journey as they solved a crime. In this case, crime resolution happens first followed by the exhortations of love and commitment.

Following numerous unconnected novels, I learned that both readers and editors like the author to write series books. For the editor, a series means better sales since readers who love the first book will purchase the next two or three in the series. Readers enjoy them because they are vested in the characters who have become real, and they want their stories to go on.

If you are considering writing a series, here are some things to think about. Author can digress from these suggestions if it benefits the book, but most readers prefer the following.

• Each novel has an ending that feels complete where the present mystery is solved, the romance journey ends with a happy ever after, and the family resolves their issues.

• Though the story is complete, a single thread—a foreshadowed plot event, theme or question —that goes unanswered and will be the arc that remains in each book and only answered or resolved in the final book of the series.

• The series may be connected by one or two factors that capture the readers interest, such as: characters, settings, or story theme.

• Consider having a story goal that connects each story. This could be forgiveness, good wins over evil, finding happiness or another broad topic that links the stories.

Series come in all genres: Speculative - Lord of the Rings, Twilight, Harry Potter, Mystery and Suspense - Stephanie Plum stories beginning with One for the Money, Sherlock Holmes mysteries, the old detective stories like Sam Spade, and Mrs Marple or the TV show, Murder She Wrote, Family Sagas - Andrew MGreeley’s O’Malley saga beginning with A Midwinter Tale, Karen Kingsbury’s Baxter Family, and Alex Haley’s novel Roots as a TV show, and Romance: again Twilight, Laura Ingles Wilder’s March family series Little House on the Prairie and Louisa May Alcott’s series beginning with Little Women. My last two series in romance are: Man’s Best Friend beginning with Dad In Training and Dreams Come True beginning with A Dad Of His Own. Read the series only if you enjoy romance.

Find series books that capture your interest and as your read, take notes on techniques and methods of keeping the readers interested. This will help you in considering your own series.

Next: Setting Up A Novel Series Part II and Methods and Techniques For A Series Part III

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