Sharon Ledwith is our featured author for March and her time travel series, The Last Timekeepers is ON SALE in our store until March 31st. Get $3.00 off the ebooks or the paperbacks with the promo code: TIME. Today Sharon Ledwith shares her secret recipe for writing a series. You don’t want to miss this!
Ever wonder how your favorite author came up with the idea to write a series? Many authors I know have written a series, and believe me when I say that it’s no small task. The most important thing to remember in creating a series for ANY genre is to connect the dots, create a common thread to tie your individual stories together into a nice, shiny bow at the series end. Sounds complicated? Not really. Here’s a peek at the process of how I’m developing my young adult time travel series, The Last Timekeepers:
First: I made sure that my adolescent characters had enough problems going on both individually and together in order to carry my series through the ten books (eleven if you include the prequel) I have planned. In essence, the entire series needs to get from A to B to Z dragging my characters along (sometimes kicking and screaming) until, by the end of the series he or she or they need to come out changed. They need to have shown growth, they need to have evolved through the course of their adventures.
Second: I didn’t put any elements into my first story that I didn’t want to live with through the entire series of books. It’s a long haul to drag unnecessary fillers such as a troublesome pet, a psychotic boyfriend or an ongoing health problem for the ride. Like they say, “Use it or lose it”.
Third: I didn’t solve the big mysteries or resolve all my characters’ problems in the first book. Too much, too soon. The idea is to hook readers with that first book, and get them begging for more. Characters should still have dreams and goals and ambitions to work toward through the length of the series. And while I do answer the burning questions and resolve the terrible conflicts, I will make sure that I replace them with additional—hopefully more serious—ones.
Fourth: It’s all about building relationships between my characters, and getting my readers to care about them. So I throw obstacles at my characters and create the necessary tension to get readers to care about, and sympathize with the characters. It’s all about the journey and how my cast of characters work together to resolve their problems. I want my readers to be as invested at the end of the series in how that relationship is working out as they were in the first book.
Fifth: I keep a series guidebook/bible stuffed with all the vital information on my main characters— and recurring side characters. The color of their hair and eyes, their brother’s or sister’s names, or any allergies is vital to log. Believe me readers know when something is amiss and will call you on it!
Sixth: When I first sat down to plan my tween time travel series, I made sure I was writing it for the right reason—because I loved my characters enough to tell their story over a period of years. And hopefully, if I’ve done a good job, then I will be lucky enough to engage many readers to follow my series for years to come.
Remember—the first book in a series is the most important, especially if you’re a debut author like I was. This book will be your hook, and the first glimpse readers have into the world and characters you’ve created. So, what are some of your favorite book series? We’d love to hear from you!