Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Story and Series #MFRWauthor

Whether a series is planned or just happens, there's such a thing as a road map to follow. Having done a series where the map was present from the first word in the first story to having the series suddenly become a series either by reader request, author decision or editor suggestion. I've done them all.

While reading Writing The Fiction Series by Karen Wiesner I realized series somehow do have some kind of map. While this map may suddenly appear often times there are events in the story that have been placed there almost by magic and they call for another story and perhaps another and another.

Another thing to consider with series is the story a complete stand alone and yet part of the series or does each story end with some kind of cliff hanger that compels the reader to want the next book. That is a good question. Each story has a kind of map or what some writers call a story arc taking the story from beginning through the middle to the end. A series must have the same kind of map but the map may not have been discovered by the writer until the second or third book in the series.

My own Affinities series before I came upon each story plan had an over all series plan stumbled on in an odd way. While working as a nurse, I did little to no writing and every night had trouble falling asleep. I started to tell myself a story and the next day I would write out my bedtime story. Somewhere after nearly a hundred pages, I had the series map. Then I had to go back and break this into stories. I'd been aiming for a trilogy but ended up with four books.

The Katherine Miller cozy mysteries were a different sort of thing. I had fans and readers asking for another story. So each story is a completely stand along yet there are references through continuing characters to the previous stories. The stories also build a romance between Katherine and an old friend. He was barely mentioned in the first two stories but suddenly in book three there was a romance but this was seeded in the first two stories and triggered by my need to have the heroine leave the comfort zone of the Hudson River town where she lived.

The third kind of series for me came about when an editor wondered why the ending of the first story was kind of open ended. I really had no idea until the reason hit me. This was a trilogy in the making. Kind of jumped at me. The series map never managed to come, For me though some of the characters are present in the second book and all are present in the third book for me each was building on the story presented before.

So there are many ways of planning a series but at some point in the development as well as a story map, the writer needs a series map. Early or lately developed this is a must.


Unknown said...

I have no idea how writers do a series. This helped explain it, but I don't think I ready for that big of a challenge.

Louisa Bacio said...

My 1Night Stand series "With Death" is kind of interconnected -- same world, but all standalones. For The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf, I've thought the story was about over, but then more came to me, and the characters wanted THEIR story told.

Interesting words for thought!