Today I want to talk about Series.
Speaking from my experience, when I first have an idea for a story, I don’t know straight away that it’s going to be a series; I just have an idea. So I go through the process of figuring out the plot and meeting the character and when I have an idea of how big the “event” is and what’s going on in the background, and how the story ends . . . Then I know how far the story stretches and how big the picture actually is. I know if it’s a series or not.
Now, all series start at a certain time in a characters life; mainly when something major – to them or in their world, or over someone they care about – kicks off, and we follow the characters right through to the end.
I know I’m stating the obvious here, but what I wanted to know is how much do you want to know about the characters? Are you interested in their past? Do you prefer their timeline to go straight from point A to Z? How much is too much in a series?
As a reader I have trilogies to series that have ten books or more. I have series that follows one character, and then series where we have different leads each book. I love the series so much I would buy any book linked to them, and I have despite if they are set all the way in the characters pasts or they are side stories about different characters.
As a writer of two series it’s harder to answer.
She-Wolf is a prequel and it was an unplanned novel. I intended it to be something short and offered for free and then it blew in to 75k. She-Wolf was possible because of the insane planning that went in to the book that follows.
Cranberry Blood - which is the first book in The Blood Series – is the first of 3 books – possibly 4 – all starring the same hero and heroine. That was the original plan, and it still is the plan, but when I was creating the history and meeting all the characters I fell in love with their stories.
I fell in love with Owen and Clare and when I really got stuck in to writing She-Wolf I figured out that I wanted to see them again. I wanted more of them. I wanted to give any of the characters who have a story to tell a chance to tell it, but that wasn’t the original plan. The plan was these four books and telling the heroine and heroes story.
So what do I do? Do I do what seems to make the most sense which is explore this world deeper, or do I behave? I definitely know asking all of you who have read She-Wolf what you would like, but that is a question I plan to ask after Cranberry Blood is published.
As it stands in my head, and will hopefully come to be, The Blood Series has four novels (including She-Wolf) and a possible novella. Naturally things change during edits so once Cranberry has been released I will have a better idea, but I also want to step backwards. I want to go in to the characters history.
One example is May. For anyone who has read She-Wolf you will remember that May was actually a victim of a Rogue attack. Luckily she survived her transformation is in one of only two female werewolves in The Pack. I would like to tell her story and how she and her husband John became bonded.
I had a story idea – nothing related to The Blood Series - and as always once I started planning I saw that there were stories within the characters past. But, the idea I had takes part at a certain point in the characters life. So, I sat there and thought do I write this book and finish it, publish it if it’s good – something my Beta Readers will have to help me decide. Or, do I make notes and hold off and go to an early point and begin there? Do I start at the beginning and work my way to the end? Or do I start where I have that idea, tie up the loose ends and then jump back to that different event in their life and tell that story?
Most writers don’t usually bring out prequels to series until the first book has been released, or at least it appears that way. Yet, She-Wolf is a prequel and it’s out there before book 1 in the series. I like things to flow in order, which is why I find myself stuck with that above project I was talking about.
I can’t make my mind up whether I would be insane to write two interlock books and publish them. If they’re good and people like them, maybe I would be forgiven if I decided to jump back in to the characters past and tell another story. Or should I just write, put those books to one side and jump back to the beginning.
How do you feel about flow in series? Or more to the point what do you enjoy about series? Do you like seeing characters and different moments of their lives, or do you find it annoying? Do you like seeing a variety of characters in the series world?