Apparently, I am in a list mood, because here’s another one. As some of you know, I am currently writing an Atlantis series. The first two were a breeze. Now, I have come to admire those who have a double digit book series. Writing one is harder than I thought because there are a lot of things to consider from book to book. Here are some things I have learned and am still learning through this process.
1. Characters change. Some may change more than others (Pandora has gone from a child to an adult, major character arc there). But, if done right, the characters are not the same people they were when the story began, otherwise the plot is a dead in the water. Which means I, as their author, must acknowledge this reality. I need to let go of who they used to be and deal only with who they are. It’s kind of like any real relationship. If we keep thinking of someone as their current self, then present relationships will not survive.
2. Forget the backstory. This book especially, a lot has happened to my characters (two books worth). While I value it all (I spent a year of my life on each), not all of it is valuable to the current plot. It is important to sift through what is important and what is not. As hard as it is for me to say (because everything is so personal to me), I must let go of the stories that no longer matter. I think this goes back to driving the plot, which is the only thing that matters. Therefore, only the information that pushes the current plot along makes it in. I find it funny I had to discover this because, as a reader, I hate when authors do too much backstory. I tend to skip it. If I skip it as a reader (and still follow along), then I guess it’s not important to put down as a writer.
3. Don’t repeat the same story. I discovered this in a recent series I tried to read, and have since dropped. As a reader, I am impatient. I don’t want to return to the same plot. I don’t care if the author added a slightly new twist. If it rehashes prior concerns, then why do I want to devote my time to see if it ends differently. Maybe it’s just me. But this kills any type of series for me (whether it be on TV or in book form). Find a new plot a new twist. Even in a book like Harry Potter. The plot may not really end until book 7, but they also don’t revisit the same issues. They expand and grow, encountering new challenges. The characters have to make progress in the story because the reader requires it.
I am by no means an expert on series. But I am having fun with the new challenge of writing one.