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    Series Writing

    Series writing has always been popular. Readers love getting cozy with a character and understanding their lives and their problems. It's what makes soap operas so popular!

    Writing a series is unlike any other kind of writing. Everything you do within the framework of your storyline, everything you think, has to be tracked and filed. Because a good series builds on itself, it's important to be able to trace where the main characters changed and how they remained the same.

    This is as true for writing romance as it is for writing mystery, science fiction, or any other genre. If youíre just starting out with an idea that you think would make a good series, ask yourself these questions:

    Is there enough material within the framework of your story to create more than one book? If so, how many books do you see in your series?

    This is an important consideration! Not all ideas are big enough to write more than one book. Of those that are, another group of ideas would drop off after two or three books. Rarely are ideas strong enough to spread over a lengthy series, five or more books, without diluting their original idea. Remember when you plan that you can always write another series! Don't make your material so thin that your readers begin to see holes in it after the first book!


    Are your characterizations strong enough to make it through a series of books? Obviously, character breakdown is a major series problem. If your series has replaceable characters, you don't have to worry about it. But most series are dependent on their characters. No one really believed Miss Marple could solve a mystery! But they loved to see her try! Make sure your characters are up to the task. If you're starting now, re-design them, if you have to, to give them endurance.


    Do you enjoy writing these characters and this storyline?

    How many of you have read that Agatha Christie left behind a manuscript that killed off her detective, Hercule Poirot? It's rumored that Ms. Christie hated the arrogant Belgian! Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes because he couldn't stand to write him anymore. Popular demand brought him back but the author was miserable writing him.

    Maybe it's not always possible to know what's going to appeal to you in twenty years. No matter what you do, you might end up hating your series characters or storyline. You can diminish the chances by writing something you really want to write.

    In our money driven writing industry, tha'ís not a piece of advice I give lightly. If you want to make a living, you have to write where the money is! But in this case, follow your heart! You never know when the series you've begun could last for twenty years. Try to make your characters and their environment something you think you'd like to work with for a while. Don't start out like a bad relationship, hoping you'll grow to love them!

    Next time: Revisions

    Copyright © 2001 Joyce Lavene

    Joyce Lavene, who writes with her husband/partner Jim, is the author of 40 novels including an award winning mystery series and a romance nominated for the Frankfurt EBook Award for 2000. She's also been published in sci-fi, fantasy, and non-fiction. When she isn't writing, Joyce paints in watercolors and is a practicing herbalist. She and her husband are graphic artists who have created many book covers and professional photographers. They are currently working on five separate series of novels, each for a different publishing house! Joyce is active with RWA and The Mystery Writers of America. She lives and works in North Carolina, USA, with her three children and two grandchildren. She and her husband welcome their readers to their homepage: http://www.joyceandjimlavene.com.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



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