Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Series are an author’s best friend

I’ve written a number of series so far, four to be exact, and I love all of them. There are some that are more popular than others like the Gaian Story series which is science fiction romance about men who are looking for the woman that matches them to marry, and Hollywood After Dark, which is vampires and werewolves looking for their mates. But I’ve never been sorry to write a series.

The Girl In The Box - Free!
For one thing readers like series. If they like the world and the characters of a book, they want to read more about them. Even if the characters of the first book only show up as minor characters in a second one, I find that readers like to see how things are going for them. And sometimes a minor character in a book is so charismatic that they end up staring in a future book.

Why do I know this? Well, for one thing, I love to read series books myself. There are a number of authors whose books I read because I picked up a copy of one of them, and then proceeded to buy all of the books in the series before and after the book I read. I’ve also found that I tend to hear from readers about the books I write, particularly things like “when is so-and-so going to get their book?”
When you hear something like that, it is very hard to decide to write something else. After all, I want to make my readers happy.

However, there are some challenges to writing a series. For one thing when you are writing a series set in a particular world with continuing characters you have to keep the world constant. If you establish that someone is blond and blue-eyed in one book, they have to stay blond and blue-eyed in the next... unless you want to fit them with contacts and dye their hair. Age is harder to work around. A 100-year-old vampire can’t turn out to be 200 years old in the next book. This can lead to challenges when you have a series with as many books as I have. I bought a copy of Scrivener to see if I couldn’t keep track of things that way and in writing this last Gaian story it helped a lot. Now I have a common nomenclature for the electronic gismos in my world that I didn't have before.

How does everyone else track details of a world? Spreadsheets, word documents, or are there other writing tools people use? That’s a good topic for discussion. What do the other writers here use to keep their world details straight?

Janet Miller/Cricket Starr

1 comment:

Josie said...

I've thought about a series because my books are related. Perhaps I'll try to publish these altogether in the fall.