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Upcoming Series: Writing Series Novels

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Beginning next week, I’ll be starting a new series, so I want to collect as many questions as I can ahead of time to make sure I research all of the areas of interest.

Writing Series Novels: As a follow-up to the series I did on Endings, this series will go more deeply into how much to review in a sequel or a follow-up—is it backstory, flashback, or even necessary? How many threads can you leave hanging at the end vs. how much should be wrapped up? Can you introduce the POV of the main character of a second/spinoff novel if they’re not a POV character in the original? Etc.

Now, what haven’t I mentioned that y’all would like to see covered in this series?

  1. Tuesday, June 10, 2008 10:32 am

    I was just thinking about this. I’m reading a book that shares characters and setting with a prior book by the same author. Yet, it’s not considered a series. Why not? The main characters here are completely new. The prior main characters are secondary here, rarely seen.

    What makes a series a series?


  2. Tuesday, June 10, 2008 11:31 am

    I wrote my genre essay on series 😀 Well Children’s Series books. And it dealt with Syndicate series vs. Single author series. (Something I don’t think adults have when they talk about series–that is they don’t have syndicate series…at least I’m not aware of any) It also dealt more with qualities that make good children’s series. I love series. I like to invest in a character though and keep coming back to them, which is why I’ll take a TV show over a movie any day. Week after week I can return to my favorite character and watch them grow.


  3. Tuesday, June 10, 2008 11:38 am

    There are a few continuity series (what they’re called in adult fiction), such as GuidepostsBooks’ Grace Chapel Inn and Mysteries of Sparrow Island series—series in which the publisher came up with the characters/settings/storylines and they contract different (usually well-known) authors to write the titles.

    Barbour does something similar with some of their anthologies—four authors will write four novellas based on a central theme.


  4. Tuesday, June 10, 2008 2:04 pm

    I’d love to know how far to take each character in a series, per book. Is there a rule of thumb that seems to work well in general?


  5. Wednesday, June 11, 2008 8:34 am

    This sounds like a good one, too. It seems to me that in the romance genre, series requirements are very loose. They just need some minor relation to one or another of the previous books. That might even only be that the people reside in the same town or are a friend of one of the previous characters, mentioned minimally in the previous novel(s). Makes it so much easier to work with doesn’t it? But is that the best way to hook a reader to the series? I’d like to learn what is needed in the previous book to hook the reader to watch impatiently for the next book in the series.

    Are there different requirements set out for the different genres? ie. Is more required for suspense, women’s lit, etc.?


  6. Wednesday, June 11, 2008 3:54 pm

    Maybe something that discusses the differences between a trilogy and a series. The Epic is a trilogy, NOT a series and I’m always very clear on that point. But lots of people, some of my CP’s included, assume that trilogy and series are interchangeable.


  7. Sunday, August 2, 2009 12:39 am

    I guess my first question would be:
    When writing a series novel, or actually, just the first novel (obviously the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step) should the ‘Main Idea’ within your ‘intended series’ be given right away? In the middle? Or at the end?
    I will be very interested to know how you would have it play out.
    Assuming that the genre will be a work of ‘fantasy’* fiction and will consist of 4 books. (or more…it will always be open ended. reaching a conclusion within the 4th book….or will it?)

    *fantasy is in quotations because it will not contain any mythical creatures or unknown lands. I guess you could call it reality fiction, with a twist 😉 **

    **Can’t give away any of my secrets…yet! 🙂


    • Sunday, August 2, 2009 12:42 am

      V–be sure to visit the Writing Series Index page to see this series in its entirety. It’s near the bottom of the page.


  8. Sunday, August 2, 2009 12:47 am

    Also…when writing totally from a main characters POV.
    Do you believe it is better to write in a first person POV, as in, I AM this person. Or from a 3rd person POV?
    Twilight and Harry Potter, I notice, all did extremely well with a 1st POV…but no one likes a copycat 😛
    3rd allows you to zoom in and out of this or that character…where as in 1st, one might find one’s self…restrained to that character alone.
    OR…how to solve the problem of restraint in 1st POV? lol


    • Sunday, August 2, 2009 12:48 am

      For those questions, I’ll refer you to the series “Make POV Work for You,” also on the Writing Series Index page.


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