Web Blog of Connie Vines, author or multi-genre fiction. Awards: H.O.L.T. Medallion (Honoring Outstanding Literary Talent), Orange Rose, Award of Excellence--Contemporary Romance; Independent eBook Award, Dream Realm Award. National Book Award and Frankfurt Book Award, nominee--YA Historical Fiction. Blog includes guest bloggers and snippets of WIP.
Now that I’ve just
finished a series . . . I truly understand the lure . . . the thrill of a
trilogy.It’s an incredible opportunity
to truly get to know my characters.The
Tango of Death series was a very challenging book, because I wanted to start
the book with my three Gypsy sisters . . . and end it with my three Gypsy
sisters.The challenge here?It was 1943 in Germany and Poland during the
Holocaust. There was no guarantee all three sisters would survive the war.
There was satisfaction
in knowing you just finished writing three books that link . . . that carry on
the story of your characters.The fear
of course is ‘can you write two – three- four – or more – books that will
continue to grip and keep that reader interested – more than interested –
engaged, hooked, actually waiting for the next book to come out!One thing I did know – I wanted the next book
to be even better than the one before it.
Not all series are
handled the same way.What do I
mean?Well, some series are complete
stand-alone books.One isn’t necessary
without the other.They contain some of
the same characters, but don’t depend on each other.Take for instance The Hunger Games, Harry
Potter, or Twilight.
Some series are
continuing sagas from the previous book, and if you hadn’t read it (them) you
might be lost when reading out of sequence.As with the Tango of Death series, books one and two depended on book
three to be complete.
For an author a
successful series means a reliable paycheck and cumulative royalties.And don’t forget you don’t have to worry who
will be publishing each new book.But,
it’s a known fact that publishers would rather publish a stand-alone book and
see how it does before committing to a series.I actually submitted a series synopsis – showing the connections and
plan for the series. How do you write a stand-alone
book with series potential?
Book one is the
foundation – This first book will
be the ‘beginning’ and should be your highest priority to make sure your reader
cares so much about the characters they want more … and more … and more.Cultivate your strongest plot and write the
best book you can.Bear in mind not all
books can turn into series.Good advice
here - write this first book as if it will be the only one – a stand-alone. In
other words, don’t be closed minded and insist this book is a series,
therefore, sacrificing the story for the series. Support the series potential
in your proposal or synopsis.
Make your first book
expandable – If your first book is
completely solved (which it should be) then why would the reader want to read
the next book?Hmmm – it has to be
expandable – in other words we need to care what happens next.
Think about Magnum PI
. . . great . . . he solves his cases, but we sure want to experience his next
case.The Hunger Games . . . I can’t
wait to read the next book . . . and the next . . . and the next.I wish I had written them!!That’s when I know it’s a fabulous
series.Two and three book series are
hot on the market right now.But NEVER
write a series because it’s something you haven’t done – and it sounds
cool.Believe me – it’s scary to look at
that blank screen and know you are starting book two – book one is finished . .
. and you have to continue the story in a whole new, exciting way.But it has to be fresh and page-turning no
matter the genre.It must be better than
the last book!
A series needs more characters – Oh . . . I love minor characters . . . especially those with
unique personalities.A series allows
you to give them more presence in your story, and who knows - maybe they might
be the character that shoots off the next book!Things happen while writing and we the writer (as well as the reader)
fall in love with secondary characters all the time.Any one of them might have a problem or
situation that will turn into a full-blown story in your series.
Create continuity between books- There should be a
common theme that connects all the books in your series.Is there an unpredictable brother or
sister?Is there a jail-bate uncle or parent?Could it be every murder takes place at an archeology
dig site?You get the picture.
The hero has just
begun – You want your reader
to feel satisfied after the first ‘the end,’ yet you want the reader to hope
for another event, case, quest, etc.We
so love the character that we aren’t ready to part ways.The hero has more to give us – and we want to
be a part of it.
Foreshadowing future events
or incidents – This is so important in the series.We need to expect more – and foreshadowing is everything.Lay the groundwork and instill the need or
excitement of what is to come.Give that
linking series depth and texture that will smoothly transition into an
incredible series and will compel your reader to want more!