Posted On January 12, 2018 by Print This Post

Seriously, Series by Laurie Schnebly Campbell

I do love reading series, and only wish the authors could somehow churn out one a month or so. =) But alas, writing a series is HARD WORK, but Laurie Schnebly Campbell is here to break it down for us in her post on Seriously, Series. Take it away Laurie!

Would you ever consider writing a series?

Seriously, it’s hard enough to write the first book — why on earth would you want to write two more? Or <gasp> five more? Or <clutch your chest and stagger> an open-ended series that lasts for 10, 25 or even 50 books? 

Well, there are people who do it and love it. Which is lucky for readers who love series…and that includes a lot of us!

THE BEST OF SERIES

Because, really, most of us have our own favorite series. More likely, we have our favorite six or eight series — of which some may be relatively obscure while others are followed by millions of readers. Even though the less celebrated ones can be fabulous, those ranked as favorites tend to become bestsellers simply from word-of-mouth.

After all, who HASN’T heard of Stephanie Plum? Katniss Everdeen? James Bond? Harry Potter? Eve Dallas & Roarke? Whether or not you’ve read their series, you very likely know something about ‘em…whether it’s just “yeah, I’ve seen those books” or “the next title is due out in __ weeks.”

What makes those series so popular?

There aren’t QUITE as many opinions as there are readers for each series, but most fans agree on at least some of what they especially like. The characters. The plots. The setting. The suspense. The humor. The drama. The voice.

Yet those are the same things readers love about stand-alone books, as well. So why do the series books tend to rank higher on the bestseller lists?

It’s because there’s strength in numbers. If a reader can choose one fabulous stand-alone title or one fabulous series of books, they’re more likely to choose what’ll offer them more hours of enjoyment. Same as choosing an exquisite piece of sushi or an exquisite five-course dinner:  when the quality is wonderful either way, most people tend to opt for quantity.

But does that mean you want to write a series?

Well, there are some advantages. And some disadvantages. Which speak more loudly to you?

WHY TO WRITE A SERIES 

  1. If you have a story that’s just too big to contain in a single book, a series gives you the freedom to provide all the fascinating details and plot twists and character development that you’d have to leave out if the story were confined to a shorter number of pages.
  1. We already know, readers love series. They’ll happily grab Book Three or Book Twelve as soon as it comes out, whereas before buying a stand-alone they might need more persuasion that this IS a book they’ll enjoy. Once they’ve committed to a series, they’re likely to stay on board.
  1. Setting and character development are easier when your series features the same characters in the same place. Sure, it’s the same amount of work up front establishing who & when & where these people are, but once you’ve figured that out you don’t need to repeat the entire amount of work for subsequent titles.

WHY TO AVOID A SERIES

 

  1. A series may take more time than you have (or want) to invest. If your schedule doesn’t allow many hours for writing, you might rather use those few you DO have to create a book that can stand alone and be enjoyed as is — without needing additional books to support the overall story arc.
  2. If you love the adventure of creating new people and new worlds and new situations with every book, you might feel too constrained by a series. Why commit to something that’ll leave you bored and frustrated while readers are demanding more of the same?
  1. Readers have higher expectations of a series. If the shop’s sign has changed color or the character’s motivation has suddenly shifted between Book Two and Book Three, they’ll complain about it. They want things to stay the same, but they don’t want TOO much repetition…which can be a tricky balance.

So, weighing the pros and cons, suppose you’re thinking about a series. That leads us right into:

WHAT TO CONSIDER 

Before you embark on a series of two to 200 books, there are several issues to address — besides the fundamental one of “do I really want to do this?”

* TYPE: What kind of series will this be? Is it suited for the genre you write?

* CHARACTER/S: If there’s a main character, will this person be static or dynamic? What about the secondaries?

* ARC: Along with the individual story arc for each book, what will your series arc be?

* EXPOSITION: How will you bring newcomers up to speed without boring your long-term readers? How will you keep them engaged?

* TIME: What kind of time can you commit to a series?

* STYLE: Will this be first or third-person? What will the books have in common? What will make each story different?

* EVOLUTION: How long should this series last? How can you keep each new book familiar but fresh for you AND your readers?

Those are just a few of the things to consider, and they lead into:

THE PRIZE QUESTION

What makes you think you DO or DON’T want to write a series? Or if you’re not a writer, what makes you decide you do or don’t want to READ a series?

Someone who answers will win free registration to my class on “Writing A Series,” which will be held from February 12-23 at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/WritingSeries/info and offer insights on all the issues above.

I can’t wait to see what you say!

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Join us next week Monday for more RU fun fun fun!!

***

Laurie’s Bio: Laurie Schnebly Campbell combines work for a Phoenix ad agency with teaching other novelists about the craft of writing. She’s also published half a dozen romances (including one that won “Best Special Edition of the Year” over Nora Roberts) and a how-to for fiction writers on creating believable characters. Check out her August workshop on blurbs — and more — at www.BookLaurie.com.

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82 Responses to “Seriously, Series by Laurie Schnebly Campbell”

  1. Hi Laurie. Ever since we started getting Netflix and Amazon TV in India I have become a huge fan of series (the TV kind). Though I’d love to write a TV series (as much as a book series) the trick is in making it compelling viewing/reading. Hopefully, someday I’ll have the writing chops to do that! 🙂

    Posted by Adite Banerjie | January 12, 2018, 2:20 am
  2. Hi Laurie! Great questions for weighing the pros and cons of writing a series. I’d love to tackle a series project one day but I have to admit the prospect is daunting. Handling the series arc and the character growth (over the course of the series as opposed to within a single story) would be two areas of challenge for me, I think.

    Posted by Angela Bissell | January 12, 2018, 4:51 am
  3. First, I have to address my deficiency…I have never heard of Eve Dallas & Roarke.

    This might be because I don’t tend to gravitate toward a series to read. It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s just that I don’t like a book ending with the feeling of (well, if you want to know what happens next,read book two or three…) I want to pick up a book and know that when I close it, I have closure. The series where books are dependent on reading the first ones to understand what’s happening in the next ones probably are not going to be on my list. A series where each book has closure for that plotline, I’m fine with. So, I guess for me, it’s all about closure. haha!

    Posted by Laurie Adams | January 12, 2018, 6:23 am
    • And I have no idea why I put that one phrase in parenthesis. And, to qualify the other characters listed…with all of those series, I either read only one or part of one of the books in the series.

      Posted by Laurie Adams | January 12, 2018, 6:26 am
    • Laurie, good point about closure — it IS frustrating when a book ends on a cliffhanger! (I’ve crossed a few such authors off my list so as not to be fooled twice.) Then there are those where each book stands alone, but you see the characters evolve over the series…more like your Atticus books. 🙂

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 6:30 am
  4. This laid out the pros and cons beautifully. I think it’s like ice skating: it looks so fun and easy when you watch the pros. But I’ve read too many series where the books get shorter and the print gets bigger, and we keep buying them even though we feel betrayed. Or the plots get tired. It’s like all the music Chicago played sounded like…Chicago. How does the author keep it fresh without changing too much? Off the top of my head, I can think of one series that didn’t go stale. And at least six that made me think the author liked the money too much to quit…

    Posted by Lisa Heidinger | January 12, 2018, 6:25 am
  5. I do love reading a series, and I enjoy writing them. In a stand-alone, as author, naturally, we get to know the characters and their environments, but I think in a series, that relationship becomes more intimate. The setting becomes so familiar that you can see yourself walking through the streets…and as you do that in your mind, you see characters you know strolling along as well. At least that’s how it is for me. 🙂

    As a reader, I love the ‘inside jokes’ that are amusing on their own but take on a whole new meaning to readers who’ve followed the series and have been in on that joke from the beginning.

    So…it’s the deeper connection to time, place and character that attracts me to a series. It’s like stopping home for a visit.

    Posted by Debora Dale | January 12, 2018, 7:02 am
  6. Debbie, what a great description of the appeal in a series — what’s not to love about a deeper connection, like stopping home for a visit? Especially when the visit can be intensely rich and dramatic, or lighthearted and fun, but either way you’ve got those deep roots. That’s such gorgeous imagery!

    Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 7:06 am
  7. Laurie, you raised some very good points for those considering writing series fiction. For me, I felt my character needed time to complete that arc. One book wasn’t enough for my Alli with all her abandonment and self-worth issues all while I’m having her focus on solving crimes. I love writing a series because you get to know your characters over time and the dialogue just flows. You KNOW how they talk, think, react. They’re my gang to hang with each day. To me, keeping a series fresh is really about the mysteries and plausible character change.

    Posted by Sharon Moore | January 12, 2018, 7:22 am
  8. Morning laurie!

    I love reading series, and am a huge fan of Roarke and Eve, Stephanie and her boys. =) I will admit there’s a book or two in each of the series that I felt fell flat, and while I didn’t give up on the author, I did buy paperback instead of hardcover for awhile. =) But the characters….I’d know Eve if I passed her on the street and Stephanie and I would be besties. I know them as well as the author- maybe. =) It’s like meeting up with old friends or having a family reunion every time I read the next book in the series.

    Great post Laurie – thanks as always!

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Peters | January 12, 2018, 8:27 am
    • Carrie, you’re the ideal series fan — switching from hardcover to paperback is a great way of showing support while also showing dissatisfaction: “I still like you, but not as much.” And it sounds like those authors who temporarily disappointed you are now back on your hardcover list, so maybe they took the hint! 🙂

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 8:30 am
  9. I like series. I’ve written mostly standalones, but have one series going with a writing partner. The series has an arc and we started by figuring out what had to happen in five books.

    Posted by Janis McCurry | January 12, 2018, 8:29 am
  10. I’m trying to do that right now–write a series. As a writer, what makes me want to write a series is my enthusiasm for the two characters I’ve created. I’d love to bring them from YA to NA to A. I’ve finished the outline for book one but still need to work on the series outline and the outlines for books two and three.

    As a reader, I enjoy a good series. I’m reading a trilogy right now, and finished another trilogy by the same author a few months ago.

    Posted by Mercy | January 12, 2018, 8:35 am
    • Mercy, what a cool idea to bring your series all the way from YA to A — your readers will enjoy watching the characters’ growth matching their own. And as a trilogy fan, you’re in great shape to follow the techniques you most appreciate while avoiding any you don’t.

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 9:13 am
  11. Hi Laurie! Great article. Like someone mentioned already, a series doesn’t give closure and I like closure.

    The kind of series I like to read(and write) are the ones that take place in the same location or extended family/friends so each story is stand alone but those earlier characters can pop in and do a cameo role in later books.

    Love your classes, Laurie!!

    Posted by Carrie Nichols | January 12, 2018, 8:48 am
  12. Am deep into writing a fantasy romance series & a huge fan of reading series. When a writer draws me into their world & characters, a series is like getting to visit a favorite place and people.

    Would love to hear you speak about opening the books after the first one & what you feel are the strongest elements needed.

    Posted by Morgyn Star | January 12, 2018, 8:50 am
    • Morgyn, isn’t it wonderful getting to visit (and re-visit) people and a place you’ve come to know and love? And there’ll be tips on Chapter One after the first on the second Wednesday of the class…but a short version is that while all the rules of opening a single-title apply to each book in a series, the series gives you a lot more opportunities to delight the reader.

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 9:20 am
  13. I’m a big fan of both stand-alone books and series – provided each book in the series gives me a ‘stand alone’ experience (i.e., I can get to know the characters and follow the story arc without having read any previous books in the series, and there’s a satisfying HEA at the end, so I’m not forced to pick up the next book to see how things turn out). I have just started writing a (three book) series of my own, about three childhood friends who are now all grown up and living separate but ‘connected’ lives. I plan to tell each of their stories individually, while tying their lives together throughout. It’s an exciting concept for me and one I hope to see through to the end (and, who knows, maybe these women will interact with others who have their own stories to tell as part of the series in the future). Thanks for an enlightening overview of the challenges of the process.

    Posted by Margo Karolyi | January 12, 2018, 9:01 am
    • Margo, it sounds like you’ve got a great setup for the kind of series you most enjoy reading — like Carrie mentioned, it’s a treat to see individual stories with their own happy endings peopled with characters we’ve seen before in settings we’ve come to enjoy. Plus, you’ve gotta love having room for expansion!

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 9:22 am
  14. I would love to–one day–attempt a series. To me, it would be fascinating to create a whole town/world and its characters, and keep track of how they interact and how events unfold. But with a full-time day job that sucks up way too much of my life as it is, I just don’t see how I could give a series of books the attention it deserves. Heck, I can’t even get one book finished right now! But it’s on the “one day” list, for sure.

    Posted by Linda Fletcher | January 12, 2018, 9:06 am
  15. Linda, you’re smart to recognize what’s feasible given the schedule you’re on — a series DOES take a bigger block of time than a stand-alone book. But, heck, it’s always nice to have something on the back burner for someday when life slows down a bit. 🙂

    Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 9:24 am
  16. What a great analysis of the eternal dilemma – I love reading series and keep trying to write them, but I tend to have very low interest in writing the “same thing” book after book. Clearly the “keeping it fresh” question is the big one for me!

    Posted by Vicky Loebel | January 12, 2018, 9:25 am
    • Vicky, “eternal dilemma” is a great description of the fresh-plus-familiar dichotomy. There are some tricks to make it easier, but no matter WHAT you do there’ll be readers who say (about every book) “that was too much like the others” or “that was too different from the others.” Sigh…

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 9:28 am
  17. Laurie,

    These are great questions to ask myself. I think the more I love the characters, the more I want to live with them for a long time. Thank you for all the wonderful insights.

    Nan

    Posted by Nan McNamara | January 12, 2018, 9:30 am
  18. Hi Laurie! As an author of a five book series with a main villain throughout, I recall the wise words of my editor. “Keep you villain fresh and don’t back him into a corner.” Keeping her advice in mind, I took my readers on an epic adventure where they were guessing his demise. He was never stale or boring. I ended my series a year ago, but to keep my readers happy (and myself) I’m writing future stories with the descendants and have managed to weave another story arc for future books. As a reader, I love series. I enjoy returning home to the “family” of characters.

    Posted by Mary Morgan | January 12, 2018, 9:40 am
    • Mary, talk about wonderful advice from your editor! And it’s great that you’re able to extend the series into a new generation by following the descendants…very smart to have set up that possibility in the original series, because that gives you all kinds of opportunities for the new one.

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 9:45 am
  19. I love reading a series of books. Sometimes I just can’t let characters go and want to know more after the HEA. Other times it’s because there were so many good characters in the first story I want them to have HEA. Of course we get glimpses into the past couples happiness too.

    Cheers Tracet

    Posted by Tracey Turner | January 12, 2018, 10:07 am
    • Tracey, it makes sense that after rooting for the couple’s HEA readers naturally want to see it sustained — and what better way of discovering that than seeing them still happy later in the series? And it’s even better when the other couples who appeared earlier are now in line for their own!

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 10:12 am
  20. Great article and I love the list of pros and cons. I love series books. The only series type I’ve considered writing are the ones where a secondary character from the first book gets there own story in the 2nd book, ect. The thought of a huge epip series (like Harry Potter) with the same main character is a little scary to me!

    Posted by LeAnne Bristow | January 12, 2018, 10:58 am
    • LeAnne, it’s wonderful how many ways there are to write a series! The huge epics with a sustained arc are one, but then there are also single-character series (usually a detective) that are open-ended, as well as “anthology” series featuring different (but familiar) characters in every book. All kinds of possibilities…

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 11:17 am
  21. I LOVE a series for the total immersion it allows me, especially when I read them back to back–which is my new favorite way to read. Also, collecting several books ahead of time helps prevent feeling burned by an author not finishing a planned trilogy. Such “problems”, I know…and realize there’s publishing decisions that often affect it (but darn! I was so caught up and wanted past the cliffhanger of book 2!)

    I read series for the character – they become book BFF’s. If I like the series I will buy them in hardcover. The best series end each book in a way that could end the series (mostly) IMO. I’m not a fan of cliffhangers either (see above). I *so* admire the authors that do this so well – IMO it’s harder to start fresh and create a new challenge than just respond to the previous cliffhanger. So the hardcover becomes auto-buy in appreciation.

    Posted by Kathleen McRae | January 12, 2018, 11:22 am
    • Kathleen, that’s a lovely way of rewarding authors who constantly deliver satisfying endings while keeping you eager for what’s coming next. And your collect-in-advance for a back-to-back read is a great idea; just like binge viewing with the added assurance you can repeat it anytime you want!

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 11:38 am
  22. I’ve done both, but leaned more toward series overall, because that’s just the way it happened. But only my YA has the same main character, and so far 4 books is my limit. Time will tell if it always is.

    I’ve found that after 24+ books, avoiding similar elements has become impossible, whether series or stand-alone. Like, I can’t tell you how many hospital scenes I’ve written. LOL

    Posted by Natalie J. Damschroder | January 12, 2018, 11:25 am
    • Natalie, you can tell your readers like hospital scenes because they keep coming back — it’s those similar-but-different-each-time elements that make readers return to favorite authors again and again. I like your “time will tell” philosophy…it’ll be fun seeing if (or maybe WHEN) the limit moves. 🙂

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 11:40 am
  23. I’ve thought of writing a series because it would be fun to dig into each of the character’s lives, one for each book-until I’d finished with all of them. I love Debbie Macomber’s series and Sherryl Woods and others.
    Maybe I will.
    Although, as you say, it’s fun to create a new world with each stand-alone book.

    Posted by Patricia Yager Delagrange | January 12, 2018, 11:42 am
  24. I do like reading series. For me, they’re the best, because I know I can trust the writer to give me exactly what I want from her throughout her series. (Sometimes even writers whose work I adore come out with books that simply aren’t my taste.) I’ve used the next book in a series as rewards for myself for completing long and demanding tasks – when I finished moving house, I got to read the final book in Jean Auel’s “Earth Children” series. Reading a series helps me remember that I don’t have to love everything about a person/place/thing to find it overall loveable.

    Posted by Meg Umans | January 12, 2018, 12:12 pm
    • Meg, what a cool idea to use the next book as a reward — I’m going to keep that in mind when I have a Big Job ahead. And your attitude about the UN-lobeable parts of a series is a great way to get past the elements you don’t like while enjoying the (presumably far more) ones you do.

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 12:19 pm
  25. I think I would enjoy writing a series, if I especially enjoyed my characters! This would give me the opportunity to get to know them even better.

    Posted by Charlotte | January 12, 2018, 12:30 pm
  26. Hello Laurie. Great post. I like to read series (as long as the author has written all the books in the series and they are up for sale. I recently read book one of a science fiction trilogy and when I went back to Amazon for the next two (Because I’d loved book 1) it was still being written!
    I wouldn’t have a clue how to write a series. I can cope with writing character arcs for a stand-alone book but have no idea how to plan a character arc over a series.

    Posted by Janet Ch | January 12, 2018, 1:05 pm
    • Janet, isn’t it disappointing to want another book and find it’s not available? There’s a lot to be said for waiting to begin a series until it’s completed (or at least well underway if it’s open-ended), but at the same time that runs the risk of hearing spoilers while waiting. Sigh…

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 2:17 pm
  27. What a great question, Laurie. Like many others, I like a great series if it is done well. Each book must stand alone and have closure. My current favorite series is The Everything Series by Kerry Lonsdale.

    Posted by JACQUOLYN MCMURRAY | January 12, 2018, 1:06 pm
  28. This via our email inbox today…

    Awesome and timely post. I am a debut author who is seriously writing a series. Your Points to Consider are perfect. Thank you. I’d truly love to participate in your online “Writing a Series” class.

    Sheridan Rondeau (aka Silver Ryan)

    Posted by Carrie Peters | January 12, 2018, 1:42 pm
    • Carrie, thanks for passing that along — and, Silver, if you get a chance to read replies here’s wishing you luck with your decision on whether or not to do a series. There are such convincing arguments for and against, it all comes down to your individual preference…so good luck making that choice. 🙂

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 2:20 pm
  29. I will write a series. I’m starting with connected books 29th heroes who are friends to explore my setting. I’ve got a rough idea for a series arc and your post has provided great questions to start.

    Posted by Laura Russell | January 12, 2018, 3:21 pm
  30. I love reading series (though there are exceptions where I think a series has run too long–I think there’s a sweet spot where series are concerned.) I’d love to write a series (as well as finish writing a book period!)–and my type would be the stand-alone books of a series, where there are romantic characters in this book, and the next book features secondary characters or characters from the same town/setting. I think this is efficient use of setting–and I’m lazy…plus when writing, it’s easy to get caught up with all the funny things that secondary characters say and you think, “Oh, you should have your own book!”–so there you go.

    Posted by Fran Colley | January 12, 2018, 3:28 pm
    • Fran, I never thought of the “laziness” aspect of using the same setting in sequential books, but it sure DOES save you time for devoting to other aspects of the story. And, heck, what’s not to love about making the storytelling process easier overall? 🙂

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 4:00 pm
  31. Laurie,
    Great post. I hadn’t thought about those pro and cons before. I LOVE writing series. I love having prior (characters pop in (yet with enough info that it can be read out if order) and the setting is embellished as time goes on.

    I don’t create cliffhangers, they make me mad as a reader, so I won’t do it to my fans. I have several different series and am embarking on a amateur sleuth series as we speak.

    Yep, I love writing and reading series books (with no cliff hangers.)
    Hugs, Leslie Ann aka L.A. Sartor

    Posted by L.A. Sartor | January 12, 2018, 3:49 pm
  32. L.A., good for you on doing for fans as you want writers to do for you. 🙂 And with several series to your credit, it’s all the more impressive that you’ve never taken that easy way out of a tough plot situation — delivering a satisfactory conclusion in every book is SO much kinder!

    Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 4:03 pm
  33. If a writer I already love writes a series with cliffhangers (Erin Watt’s Royals comes to mind), I might give a series a try (or wait until they’re all released and read them one right after the other), but cliffhangers are a harder sell for me because I adore reading (and writing!) my HEAs. Connected standalones, however, are my bread and butter.
    ~Laurel

    Posted by Laurel Greer | January 12, 2018, 7:25 pm
    • Laurel, I like your description of “connected standalone” — those are sometimes called an anthology series, but your phrase is clearer. And your idea of waiting until the entire series is released and then binging is all kinds of fun…isn’t it a treat to just WALLOW in a good series? Like, hmm, yours? 🙂

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 7:57 pm
  34. Hi, Laurie.
    As a writer, I write series when the characters call me back.
    As a reader, I guess it’s the same thing. If I fall in love with the characters and writing, I’ll auto buy the next book. Thanks for an informative blog.
    Steph

    Posted by Steph Bochenek | January 12, 2018, 7:30 pm
    • Steph, good call on liking the same things as a writer AND a reader — it makes sense that characters have to call you back in order to classify a series as worth pursuing, on either side of the keyboard. And your technique of visiting different series at different times is a sure way of never getting bored!

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 8:00 pm
  35. I love reading series! I also love writing them – and I’m so delighted that you’re teaching a class on this. Great way to start off a new year.

    Posted by Lois Dyer | January 12, 2018, 8:46 pm
    • Lois, as a series veteran you can really appreciate everything that makes them so delightful…and, sometimes, so difficult. It sure IS fun starting the year with a new class; I love getting to meet new writers as well as those (like you!) I’ve known and enjoyed for…gosh, is it “decades” now? 🙂

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 8:51 pm
      • I think we’re getting very, very close to two decades, Laurie – wow, how time flies, eh? 🙂 I’ve never written a series longer than 4 books and am so in awe of folks who can keep a series going for multi-books. Two of my favorite authors – Anne Bishop and Ilona Andrews – are ending multi-book series that I’ve been hooked on for several years and I’m so bummed. I think I’m going through withdrawal.
        Will your class address the creation of a series-bible? (I’m terrible at ruthlessly doing this – lots of my notes are scribbled on post-its.)

        Posted by Lois Dyer | January 12, 2018, 9:11 pm
        • Lois, I’m sorry, I just now saw that your post came in right after my conclusion last night — and, shoot, I can sure sympathize with your going through withdrawal on two favorite series! No fun, drat it. There’ll be a bible discussion on the second Thursday of the class, although the good news is that if post-its WORK for you nobody will ever say you need to change. 🙂

          Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 13, 2018, 6:11 pm
  36. Thanks to everybody who contributed their thoughts on the pros & cons of writing / reading books in a series — all kinds of intriguing things to consider.

    I’m looking forward to seeing those of you who’ve already mentioned being in the class, plus whoever comes aboard between now and February 12…and also want to congratulate random-dot-org’s pick of commenter #12: Margo Karolyi. Margo, just email me at Book Laurie gmail etc and I’ll get you set up.

    And I’ll check back during the weekend for any more thoughts, because it’s always a treat seeing what writers and readers think about ANYTHING having to do with books!

    Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 12, 2018, 9:09 pm
  37. Hi Laurie! I love reading a good series -the characters, the series arc, but especially the setting. To become familiar with a small town (one of my favorites) and get to know the shops on main street, is the best! I’m always so impressed when an author successfully writes a series where each book feels familiar but new and exciting.

    Posted by Lisa Page | January 12, 2018, 10:41 pm
  38. I’ll be there in February!! Thanks, this post reminded me I need to register 😀

    Posted by Karen Johnson (KJ) | January 13, 2018, 8:07 am
  39. I enjoy reading series because I enjoy complexity that goes beyond one story, exactly as you said. I appreciate the authors who see that vision, and weave in details. When I re-read, I catch more of the setup in earlier books and love that feeling. As a writer, unpublished, the characters in my second novel and third novel both have series potential. Book three, My thief Angela, desperate to break a curse because of its price, has to balance that against what will still come for those she loves after she’s broken the curse and has no power….

    Posted by Shari Heinrich | January 13, 2018, 2:38 pm
    • Shari, I like how you spotted the fun of catching setup upon re-reading…that’s always a delight, when an author has built in things that nobody would catch on the first read-through. And it sounds like you’re already thinking about ways of doing that in a series of your own, which means you’ll make readers VERY happy.

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 13, 2018, 6:03 pm
      • Hi, Laurie! As my arc for the series comes into focus, yep, I’m looking for what I can add that won’t feel clunky, glaring, add a tiny bit of mystery, and prepare for what’s coming in other books.

        I’m looking forward to reading more of your columns. Thanks for sharing your writing knowledge.

        Posted by Shari Heinrich | January 13, 2018, 7:08 pm
  40. I absolutely love reading series and am always on the look out for new authors. My biggest gripe as a reader is when the story line clearly wasn’t meant to be drawn out into a series or that the characters were never developed to a point where I really wanted to know more. It’s also really important and sometimes overlooked is how important the building of the community/location is in series. The authors I always lean toward are the ones that build a vivid scene where I feel as though I could close my eyes and walk the streets

    Posted by Margie Hall | January 13, 2018, 4:11 pm
    • Margie, you’re SO right about the frustration of a drawn-out series that wasn’t developed enough…isn’t that a disappointment? And the setting is a much bigger deal when every book returns to it than in a stand-alone where we won’t be going back again and again. It’s gotta resonate for a long time to come!

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 13, 2018, 6:06 pm
  41. This is a great post, Laurie. Your points are spot-on and very well thought out. I love both reading and writing series. For Harlequin, I get to write miniseries, so there are six books to mine right now but I love the idea of staying with the same characters over 10 or 20 books.

    Posted by Barb Han | January 13, 2018, 4:18 pm
    • Barb, I can sure picture you sustaining your characters for a good long series — that’s tricky to do, but you’ve sure got the skill to make it work. And just think how happy the readers who’ve enjoyed the first six books will be at finding more, and more, and more…

      Posted by Laurie Schnebly Campbell | January 13, 2018, 6:08 pm

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