Making a Great Series

There are so many cool things about writing a series: you get to work with familiar characters that you enjoy writing about, you can explore more than one plotline, you can add things and new characters that you felt were missing from the previous book(s)… the list goes on and on.

The first step to writing a great series is creating interesting, well-rounded characters. Giving your characters depth will not only make it more enjoyable for your readers, but it will help you perpetuate the series. You can give more details as you go, but you can give yourself opportunities for expansion while still being true to your characters.

Another thing you have to keep in mind is to provide yourself with multiple opportunities. If want your series to be about an athlete, make sure they are young enough at the start torealistically keep playing throughout the books. There’s a reason why so many murder mystery/thriller books have detectives or police officers as main characters: it’s much more believable for people in certain fields to come across dead bodies, after all.

Another thing that is incredibly important is for each book to have an ending. Certain plot points can continue throughout a series, of course, but wrap up something. This will avoid having readers feel cheated. If you do it well enough, your audience won’t feel like they just dropped good money on what is essentially a commercial for your next book and instead will be anticipating the next installment. You can bring up things from previous books as you go along to refresh the memory, but there will be readers who are picking up a book mid-series and you don’t want to lose them entirely by talking at length about old plotlines.

Pay close attention to the timeline. Be clear about how much time passes between the books. If it’s the next day, let readers know. If a year has passed, work that in somewhere. If you have kids in the books, be sure that they’re aging and moving up in school appropriately. You can use all kinds of little tricks, from adding the date to the chapter headings, to mentioning holidays, to outright mentioningthe amountof time in the first few chapters of the next tale. Whatever works for you.

Authors who write the best series have an end goal in mind the whole time, regardless of how vague it is. Think big as you’re writing the first book so that you have an overall direction you want to head in. Each book should bring you closer to that goal. If you start to feel like you can’t say anything new, end the series. You may disappoint a few readers but it will be better for you – and them – in the long run to move on to something new and better instead of regurgitating the same thing over and over.

Hope these suggestions help and inspire you!b