The Perils of Writing a Series

Dear Readers,

Bless your hearts for being so patient with me. The holidays were a chaotic mess and the beginning of 2018 has me doubting my SuperMom abilities, but for you…I will carry on.

***Now the Supernatural theme, “Carry on my Wayward Son, is floating around my head. This is good. I can use it for inspiration as the Winchester brothers are certainly inspirational.***

When I first envisioned Greylyn the Guardian Angel, it was a series, very episodic like a television show. I imagined my heroine as a cross between kickass Buffy the Vampire Slayer & the ultimate guardian angel Jonathan Smith from Highway To Heaven (if you’re not familiar with the series, check out http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086730/). 

Supernatural started with the brothers facing off against various & sundry monsters every week. Greylyn could have a different guardian angel case every week, right?

So I started writing Greylyn episodes. Image may contain: 1 personAnd I researched the urban fantasy & paranormal romance genres and found episodes are not quite what the readers are yearning for. However, the readers do love one thing…a good series. Anywhere from 3 to 6 books in a series seemed popular. No more and no less.

In response, I went back to the drawing board. Cut the episodes and get to the meat of the story…Greylyn’s quest to save innocents from a specific evil (not just a new one every book) & the sexy dark guardian, Kael. Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

What I ended up with was a trilogy. Okay, originally it was 4 books, but I cut and cut until there were three. If Star Wars can work in trilogies, so can I.

Now I have 2 1/2 books complete. Was about to wrap the final scene of the third book, but something was amiss. I needed time & distance to see that I was lacking. Now I haven’t had time to implement the changes (but that’s a blog for another day).

Trouble is…when I started to query literary agents and publishers, I had the one complete book. Or at least I thought it was complete at the time. It’d been through countless edits, critiques, and reviews. It was READY!!!!! So that’s what I queried. But now that book 3 has me languishing in the wind, I know that book 1 needs some revisions to make it all connect.

It’s not that Book 1 wasn’t really ready. It was complete and nicely polished. But because this is a series, the books have to connect all the dots throughout.

Final analysis: I pre-queried. Honest mistake. Sometimes there is no way to know what you are going to write until you write it. If the books are in a series, a tidbit in book 3 has to mesh with the truth of the story and characters established in book 1.

Some writers plan out every word they write. Perhaps series aren’t a problem for them. For me…I plot in my head, write down what I have and then let my fingers do the walking & talking. Sometimes they go off the beaten (plotted and planned) path. But I know in my heart that my typing fingers will not lead me the wrong way. The most efficient way to write? Probably not. But it’s how I roll.

So series can be a pain in the tush to write. Readers love them though. And sometimes the story is just too big for one novel.

My take away from this experience, my lesson learned…do not try to query or independently publish a series without every book in the series complete and ready to go. If an agent or publisher had snatched up book 1 already, I’d be in quite the pickle now and constrained by the truths as they were presented in book 1, which would mar book 3 and the ultimate ending for my readers. That would’ve been a shame.

After this experience, I swore off writing a series again, but…never say never. There are a few (okay, a lot) of story ideas floating around in my noggin ripe for series potential.

My advice for other writers…if you’re going to write a series, either plot every aspect out and force yourself to stick with the plan; or wait until the series is written before ever querying or self-publishing. Your readers will thank you.

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