I’d like to invite my friend and fellow writer & author Katie Cross to the blog again. Her newest book is out today! Yay! Be sure to show some love by commenting! Without further ado… learn about writing a series from someone who has done it. :)
When it comes to dessert, I know my way around a bakery.
But writing in an organized manner . . . well . . . let’s just say I’m one teaspoon short of a full set. When I started writing The Network Series, I had the equivalent of an egg and a teaspoon. I learned the hard way that one egg does not make a cake. As a bonafide pantser, however, I didn’t really care. I knew that as I went along, I’d figure it out. And I did.
But let’s just say that my little cake took awhile to bake.
And now I’m wishing I’d read the directions.
Tips for Writing a Series.
1. Plan out the general reach/direction for your series from the beginning. If you can answer these questions, you’re on your way:
Note: these answers don’t have to be detailed or cemented, either. I’m a bonafide fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of author, so things can change in a second. But having this direction can give a structure and stability that can save a lot of time.
– How many books will be in the series?
– Will it all be from the same POV?
– Does it take place in the same world/time?
– How much time passes from the start of the series to the end?
– Is there a prequel?
– What is the final ending of the last book? Knowing this in advance can help a lot with early foreshadowing.
– What are some possible titles?
2. Figure out an overall arc for each individual book.
This doesn’t have to be very detailed for all those pantsers out there. (I’m the biggest pantser of all). Having a basic idea of what to expect in book three will help with consistency as you write book two, for example. This is also a big way to help foreshadow well. If you know the basic ending of the fourth book, then you can add little extra hints in the previous books.
3. Don’t be afraid to write more than one book at once.
This, of course, is personal preference. Some people can only have one project at a time, while others need many. I found that working on more than one book in my series has helped me keep things consistent and fresh.
(For me, I have one in the first draft stage, one in rewrites/revisions, and another with the editor at any given time.)
4. Be prepared to re-read your own books many times.
I try to reread the previous books in the series at least once before releasing another one, just to make sure the details are consistent. I also have roughed up copies with dog eared pages and notes for quick reference.
It’s amazing how fast I forget eye and hair color.
5. Find beta readers with good memories that can help you fact check.
What you don’t want is a series that is inconsistent. Whether it’s style, timing, hair color, events, or what type of tea your character always takes, you want it even from book to book.
6. If possible, maintain a consistent editing team.
This can also go a long way in helping you maintain character voice and style, as well as pick up on little details that you may have missed from before.
7. Decide the details early.
Writing character profiles and having them saved in an easily accessible place can help you remember little things like hair color, eye color, style, etc. Another great idea is to draw a map—especially if you’re writing fantasy—so you know where everything is and how far away.
In conclusion, writing a series can be tough work. There’s a lot of plot and character arcs to keep in mind, not to mention details, locations, and the overall story that spans the series. Have your cake and eat it too by planning ahead of time!
Today is the release day for the prequel to my YA fantasy series The Network Series! I, personally, plan on celebrating with cake. You should too.
*hands you cake*
Click on any of the links below to get your copy today, or visit the official website to learn more. Don’t forget to snag your free copy of my novella, The Isadora Interviews.
Katie Cross loves her dogs. A bit too much.
She also loves cake and any kind of sweet confection, which is why her chick lit story, Bon Bons to Yoga Pants currently ranks anywhere from #6-10 on Wattpad and is sponsored by Athenos yogurt. (Click here read for free!) If she’s not writing, she’s playing with her dogs in the mountains or getting ready to be a first time Mom.
Visit her at www.kcrosswriting.com