Tuesday, May 12, 2009
One of the best things about blogging is reading other people's blogs. When I ran across Erica Orloff's blog, I hit a gold mine. She knows writing and she is a help to those of us who struggle to write. Her book Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass (written under the name Erica Kirov) left me waiting for the next two books. I want to know what happens!
Welcome to Erica Orloff.
The Series Question
Thanks to Joe for having me. I remember his dropping by my blog, and when I followed his link, I was fascinated by his book—which I have now read. The setting is one of those completely original places . . . the characters heroic and heart-breaking. Off-line, before gusting here, Joe and I talked about writing series . . . .
Every writer has a method. If you ask my family, they will say I have a method to my madness. After all, I have characters who wake me in the middle of the night to reveal plot points to me mid-dream. Sounds mad all right.
However, I have never been an outliner. I have a different “method.” Instead, I’ve thought of my stories as arcs. Each one has a “big picture.” A beginning, a middle, an end.
But recently, I started my first fantasy series. In the Magickeepers, the series as a whole has an arc—the characters at the start of book I, and where they will be at the final book. But then each book within the series has an arc—a trajectory of its own.
I know when writers dream of selling a series, it’s one of those things that are probably viewed as one of the best sales that can happen to an author. And believe me . . . I was delighted to sell a series. To know that, no matter what, I had at LEAST a three-book gig.
However, it has definitely been tricky. Each book has to stand alone—though in fantasy for middle-grade readers, I also need to include enough of the mythology in each book so new readers can catch up to what’s gone before. All that without just dumping back story . . . and without boring readers who have read the first one and have been anxiously awaiting the second. I think it’s a little different in a mystery series for adults where there’s an expectation that a sentence or two of back story for each main character will bring you up to speed.
It’s definitely a balancing act as I am up to my eyeballs in book II’s writing. And the only way I’ve even been able to approach it has been to have an overarching arc in my mind—an umbrella over the entire series.
Anyone else tackling a series? Dreamed of tackling one? Favorite series of any genre?