Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Writing a Series

Aubrie Dionne (author of Haven) has hijacked my blog to offer advice about writing a series.

What I learned from writing a series.

1.        Have the series arc planned before you start. I didn’t. I wrote Paradise 21 with reckless abandon and no idea if it would be a stand alone, a novella, a short story, or a novel. When I finished it, I knew more of the story had to be told, so I started writing other books. BUT, and this is a big but, it would have saved me time if I knew where I wanted the series to go. I spent countless hours thinking about this before writing Haven 6. I needed to tie in all the books and make the series arc epic, and it was hard- let me tell you. Next time, I’m writing the series arc BEFORE I start that first book. Even if it’s just a general direction or idea.

2.         Don’t include species or characters that you don’t like enough to keep around for two more books. I learned this the hard way, too.  In Paradise 21, I hatched a whole new race of flying bird creatures at the end thinking I’d never have to develop that thread. But, in Haven 6, I’m using the same planet hundreds of years later, so I had to come up with an evolved culture from those hatched on the planet in the first book. They weren’t my favorite race-I wrote them mainly to contrast with the reckless people on Old Earth-, so it took some thinking to figure out how to make them interesting in the flesh. 

3.        Stay consistent. If they refer to Earth as Old Earth in the first book, then it’s Old Earth for the next 300,000 words if you know what I mean. Make sure you know your word building and keep to it. I was constantly going back to the first book to make sure everything was called the same thing. Keep a list!

4.        Make sure the time line works. One of my CP’s pointed out that the arrival of the last ship was too early. They needed time for Aries to fly to Sahara 354, meet Striker, then find the wormhole to Refuge (otherwise known as Haven 6 to the people of the Heritage.) This particular colony ship set out at the same time as Aries’s ship, but it should take them longer to get to Haven 6 because they didn’t have the same wormhole Striker had found. When I think about it for too long, my head hurts.

Thanks again!

Aubrie Dionne
Romantic Science Fiction and Fantasy
Get Swept Away to Other Worlds...

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book blurb:

A product of an illegal pairing, Eridani is the only woman without a lifemate aboard the colonization ship, the Heritage, and she is determined her less than perfect DNA will not get in the way of finding love. As the ship nears it's final destination of Haven 6 after five hundred years of travel, images of the surface show evidence of intelligent life on a planet that's supposed to be uninhabited. Commander Grier assigns Eri to the exploratory team to spy on the alien society and return with information on how to defeat them.

When Eri's team lands, tribes of humans attack and Eri is saved by Striver, the descendant of a colonist and a pirate from Old Earth's colonization efforts in other parts of the galaxy. Striver helps Eri rescue her team and they are drawn to each other despite their different allegiances. While Striver battles with trusting Eri, Eri must decide whether to warn him and his people about the commander's intentions, or follow orders and complete her mission.


  1. Great tips on writing a series! My first attempt at a series ended up getting combined into one huge book because I hadn't made each of the three novels stand-alone enough. With a lot of editing and cutting, eventually it worked.

  2. Thanks Aubrie for the great tips on writing a series. Having the story arc in place sounds like a great idea. I know it's hard after book 1 because you've locked certain things in. Good luck with your book.

  3. I learned so much by reading this. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Theresa,

    Thanks for having me on your blog!

    Susan, I know what you mean about trying to to make each book stand alone! It's difficult!

    Natalie, You sure do lock things in after the first book.

    Shelly, thanks for reading!

  5. Thank you for the tips, Aubrie. I especially appreciate #1. I'm in the same boat as you were when you started: first book written, asked for a sequel, and now I have to find that road.

  6. Hey, I never planned beyond my first book! Fans prodded me to write another. Mine make twenty-year jumps from one to the next and I have to keep track of changes during that time.

  7. Hi, Aubrie!! Wow, I haven't "seen" you in forever. GREAT post! :-)

  8. SA Larsen, good luck with your sequel!

    Alex, good to know I'm not alone.

    Shannon, it's been a long time! I've been in the writing dungeon!

    Wow, Theresa, I always get great comments on your blog. Thanks so much (again) for hosting me!

  9. Awesome tips Aubrie! Perfect for me, since the book I've written is the first in a planned series :)


  10. In an ideal world, you'd have it all planned out in advance. Great tips.

  11. Interesting tips! Thanks for the advice! I've never written a series before, but this is good to keep in mind, just in case. And I agree with these tips, because I'm willing to be that vigilant readers of the series would be quick to point out any inconsistencies.

  12. Aubrie, thanks for the tips. I'm forwarding this link to one of my friends. We're were talking about this topic just the other day and I know she'll be fascinated to see what you have to say.


  13. Great tips for writing a series. It couldn't be more timely as that's what I find myself involved with these days LOL. Can't wait to check out your book :)

  14. awesome advice that might be overlooked! thanks!

  15. Fantastic tips! And you're welcome for the timeline catch. ;)

  16. Hi lovely Theresa! Thanks for letting Aubrie hijack your blog! Yay!!

    Love how you conquered all the consequences of not planning or not having an arc most creatively Aubrie!! Good for you! Take care

  17. Keep an alphabetical glossary/bible, so you don't have to reread earlier books to remember what was said. :D Your tips are great.

  18. A series! That's so impressive. I can't even imagine.

  19. Keeping those lists for consistency is one of the those really important things to do... I learned this the hard way ;)

  20. Thanks for hosting Aubrie, Theresa. Her book sounds wonderful, and her advice was great!

  21. Great tips...I've written my first book in a series, but I think it is different than the type of series you are writing. My stories are more like the Boxcar Children books. Each book will have another adventure with a core group of characters.

  22. That watching out for your timeline business is good advice, and it really does help so much to have friends cast their eyes over your work to catch the slips!
    Some Dark Romantic

  23. Yay, how fun to see Aubrie here!
    Thanks for the great tips, Aubrie. Series are always fun to reread - having more than one book in the same setting makes the worlds seem that much richer!