As we approach the New Year, many of us set ourselves up by establishing goals. On nearly every resolution list for the past few years, I’ve set a goal to write a book.
But once you have written one book, you might realize it has “series potential” or you might decide off the bat that your idea can exceed the bounds of a stand-alone novel.
This week, I’m excited to have guest author, Skye Horn, dive a little deeper on the topic of writing a series. Skye has plenty of experience writing series as an indie-author of the best-selling Kingdom of Faerie series, books 1-3 now available!
Now before you go on to plotting a series, ask yourself if it really needs to be a series. If you need help, consider Skye’s two reasons below:
Two reasons you might want to write a series instead of a stand-alone:
You’re not finished telling your story
It’s not good to leave your readers hanging. So rather than having a novel that is not only intimidating in page length, but also expensive to print, you can split your story into multiple books.
Marketing a series can be more profitable
There is a large reach for series versus stand-alone novels. If this is your first book, you want to show readers exactly who you are by putting out as much content as possible.
Rapid release (which is releasing multiple books of a series within a shorter timeframe) is often a successful approach when book marketing. Because you can deliver the series without keeping your audience waiting, you will keep your readership active and engaged.
Skye’s Three Tips for Writing a Series:
1. Each book needs to be able to stand on its own
You have an “A-Story” you must conclude, even if your series itself isn’t wrapped up yet. Ask yourself what your main character wants/needs at the beginning of each book. Did they succeed or fail at achieving that by the end? Does their character arc line up with your plot arc?
Remember there is a difference between a cliffhanger and a plot hole
2. Have a general idea of where your story arc is going
Even if you’re a pantser, you will want to have at least a general idea where the series is going. This can change, but it helps keep you on the right track.
3. Dive into your world & characters
It’s true that not every character will have a spotlight on them, but the more YOU know as an author about the way your world works and the characters who live in it, the more you’ll be able to convey that to your readers.
Keeping a series bible with this information in it is a simple way to organize.
Newbie to Novelist’s Three Tips:
1. Keep consecutive novels consistent
When writing subsequent books in a series uphold the promise you made to your reader in the first book by keeping the tone, genre, and theme consistent. The first book will set your reader’s expectations for the following books. This does not mean that you cannot change things such as point of view (POV) characters, time period, settings, etc.
It is also important to keep plot elements consistent. This includes character aspects such as motivations and voice
2. Don’t tell the same story over again
Every book should develop a character along an arc and they should move forward along their greater series arc. The main character shouldn’t regress to the same starting point as book one. While it is okay to have a similar plot structure, each book should demonstrate its own set of conflicts and challenges
3. Don’t leave your readers hanging
No one is a fan of getting hooked on a series only to have no idea if there will ever be another book or a finale (George RR Martin, I’m looking at you). If you plan on writing a series, actually write the full series and don’t drop off halfway.
More about Skye
She lives in the mountains of California with her husband and two fur-babies, and enjoys the beautiful, quiet mountain escape for writing. Skye is a co-founder of #TheWriterCommunity on Instagram (@skyehorn_author) and hopes to inspire a new generation of young writers to follow their dreams. The first three novels of her debut series are available now, and the fourth and final novel is set to release early 2021.
If you found this post useful, let me know in the comments below. Message me with any content you would like to see in the future!