Harry Potter was big when I reached High School. My friends are HUGE Potter fans. They pushed and pushed me to begin reading the series so I could join in their obsession (even before the movies). I am not proud to say to this day I have never read JK Rowling’s novels. Well, I read 50 pages of the first book. Back then, I told my friends I hated series—too much of a commitment. I felt pressure to read them all and lacked time. Now I ruined the experience by watching the movies. I love experiencing the ride; not knowing the twists and turns or how the author will end a piece. If this is gone, I just can’t finish. I don’t re-read books for the same reason. So, while I loved the first 50 pages and will forever envy Rowling’s ability, I cannot take on this series.
Like most things in my writing/reading life, I began writing a series before ever reading one. The Curse of Atlantis was written as a one-book saga. I, silly girl, thought the story finished. Until it came out in print and readers harassed me about the ending. Some even suggest I had left it on a cliff hanger. I didn’t mind the idea of writing a sequel, but their insistence is what started the second book. Half way through, I finally understood the draw. I love these characters. I want to see their lives progress; watch them grow and develop. I want to see what types of situations they will face and how they can overcome it. So, now I am beginning the third of what I now have accepted is a series.
The parallels of life evolve because I have begun reading series. As I dive into the world of reading/writing series, I have discovered the challenge. How does an author keep track of the details? The characters are easy. But what about the description of the house? What about the back story of a character who was secondary and now has become front and center to the plot? What about all of the little details. Was the scar across his left eye or right? Did she have brown eyes or green? Have I had someone change into a hawk before because powers are supposed to be unique? I have seen authors with twenty books in their series and I wonder how they do it. Do they have huge charts and graphs at home? Do they keep paragraphs of details in a file? Do they outline their books? How do they keep it straight? As I answer questions, I can’t blow any off. There will be that fan who remembers every word on any given page eager to point out inconsistencies…I actually love these people and keep them as my before-print readers. Organization is key, the question is how to proceed.
As publishers push series, I am encouraged to solve these issues. After all, solving them is the joy of writing!