There’s magic in threes, but writing a trilogy also requires magic of the practical kind. Author LAURA MOORE gives us the benefit of her experience in today’s post.
I’m currently writing the second book of my second series and perhaps it’s the lovely symmetry of the numbers, perhaps it’s the need to remind myself of hard lessons learned the first time around, but whatever the reason, I’ve decided to talk today about some of the things I learned creating my first series. Much of the advice I’m going to give you is very practical and none of my ideas are especially groundbreaking. Nor will they work for everyone. I am very much a believer in the individual process. What resonates for me may be utterly useless for you. Still, I hope some of things I say will prove helpful for those of you contemplating a series.
First, be honest with yourself. Your parents were right. Honesty is the best policy and never more so than when contemplating the following question; Do you have the stamina to undertake a story that isn’t merely four hundred pages (I write single title contemporaries, so that’s the page count in my head) but twelve hundred? If you’re just starting out as a writer, you might want to give yourself time to get used to the challenges of a stand-alone novel.
Fast on the heels of this question comes another: How quickly can you write? We all know how voracious we lovers of romance are. We will read a book until three a.m. because we have to know the end and ten minutes after we wake up, we’re already for the author’s next story. Are you sure you can get books two and three (and possibly numbers four, five, and six) delivered quickly?
In my experience, we romance writers are pretty much overachievers, so I’m thinking a lot of you are still with me, nodding and saying, “Sure! Bring it on!”
All right then (and really, I expected no less of you), here are some tips I have found to be extremely useful.
Plan and plot like there’s no tomorrow. Personally, this advice is an anathema. I’m by nature a ‘pantster’. While I like to have a general idea about where my story is going, I’m more than happy to make detours along the way in case I find a more pleasing route. But in this business there’s not a lot of extra time for pulling off the road to take a deep breath and contemplate the lay of the land and make sure the route you’ve chosen is really the best. A shame but true. So the more you can plot and flesh out your scenes, the less likely you are to get bogged down as you make your twelve hundred-page journey.
It also helps if you can already have the first book in your series finished and have started the second when you make your deal with your publisher. I read an interview here at Romance University with Christy Reece. She did just that with her first suspense series. Smart cookie that Christy Reece! Obviously, if you’re going to self-publish your series, you have far more autonomy. You can hold back on the first book’s publication until you’re satisfied you can meet your readers’ demands for the next titles.
Here’s my final tip for you: Make lists of characters. I have a master list for every book in a series. It includes all the characters’ names, ages, physical traits, and where they live. I’ll jot down any other pertinent information or singular quirks as well. It’s fairly easy to keep the characters straight in a four hundred-page. But a series can contain so many secondary characters, it can be a real headache to remember who a cowboy or shop owner was that you mentioned in Book One when you’re now on Book Three. Since I write a lot about horses, I also have a file for them. You don’t want a character riding a horse in book two that’s a palomino when in the first book he was black with four white stockings. I can only imagine the detailed lists an author like George Martin has to keep!
Oldest son Ward Knowles feels the sprawling California ranch in his blood. And now that the family business has expanded to include a popular resort, he’s working harder than ever. Silver Creek is his legacy and his life, which is fine for the ruggedly sexy ladies’ man and committed bachelor. Love and trust don’t come easily for Ward since he lost his heart to a gold digger—until he meets a shy, unpretentious beauty whose sweet grace is about to turn his jaded heart into a hungry one.
Tess Casari has found sanctuary at Silver Creek, working as an assistant to Ward’s mother, Adele. Grateful for her busy new life running the ranch’s spa and resort, Tess can escape the heartbreak, humiliation, and secret shame of her failed marriage. The last thing she needs is temptation—especially from a man who reminds her so much of the husband who shattered her faith in love. But passion and destiny are about to change the rules for two people who have stopped believing in the healing power of love.
What elements about writing a series do you find particularly daunting? Feel free to discuss!
Be sure to come back on Friday when best selling author KRISTAN HIGGINS joins us!
Award-winning contemporary romance author Laura Moore began writing while pursuing a graduate degree in art education. Her first story filled an entire notebook when she realized that she might actually have penned a love story that others would enjoy reading. Ride a Dark Horse, which was begun in a dog-eared, coffee-stained notebook, was published a year later.
An accomplished rider and horse lover, Laura lives in Providence, RI, with her husband, two children, and their black lab. Their cat Zevon keeps them all in line. One of her great thrills as a writer is to hear from readers. Please visit her at: www.lauramooreboooks.com
Or find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LauraMooreBooks