Friday, January 6, 2023

Writing a Series--If You're Called to Connected Stories, Some Important Tips

Every now and then in my classes, a writer would ask about series. it takes a dedicated soul to even consider a clutch of books and plan for their overarching purpose. Most of us have enough challenge with just one, right?

But the question is a good one. There are indeed certain tips or techniques for those who are tempted to try two or more books using the same topic or characters.

I wasn't going to be one of those, but the characters in my first novel wouldn't leave me in peace after it was published. One of them, the narrator's father, made it into a few short stories (notably the just-published "Breathing Room" which I mentioned last post). He was challenging and interesting to write, and I felt he had a lot more to say than just one novel, or as it turns out several short stories, allowed. The young narrator of Qualities of Light also intrigued me, and I was especially taken by her love interest. So I began to wonder: what might happen three or five years down the road with this family? How might they be same, different, tragic?

That's usually what launches a writer into series land.