Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Seriously, a Series? (#pnr #eroticromance #series @authorlolawhite)

By Lola White (Guest Blogger)

Chances are, you’re reading a series. If not actively, right now, then you are waiting for the next book to come out, right? But what is a series?

How about this definition: A book series is group of stories that somewhere around three-quarters of the way through the author started wondering how, for the love of all that’s holy, she’s going to finish, and why, in the name of all the deities, she ever started in the first place and, what, for the sake of dear sweet Jesus, possessed her to write the damned thing without spreadsheets, graphs, time lines and genealogies to keep everything organized.

Or, to be ridiculously general, a series is simply a collection of stories with some common thread tying them all together.

I’m ashamed to admit that before I really started thinking about ‘actually making a career out of writing’ I never considered what an author went through in the creation of a series. How they have to fashion continuity, find acceptable consequences for a host of characters, and still leave a cushion at the end so the reader can imagine the story continuing beyond the page. My apologies to every single person (or writing team) that has, in fact, started a series and finished it. My hat’s off to you, because now I know what sorts of knots you tied yourself into.

Not that knowing the agony would have deterred me—I love series. Most of what I’ve written is part of a series. There is a range, though—with a common theme barely connecting my dark erotic trilogy or my western saga, or common characters connecting my psychic trilogy, or an overreaching storyline as in my Magic Matched series, my Tithe Collector series or my Garguiem series.

And that last commonality is the hard one, ladies and gentlemen. The author has to know every character’s goals and create acceptable outcomes. There is a larger problem that must be solved, in addition to a host of smaller ones. There are relationships to develop or destroy. And all these things must happen naturally and completely by the very last page, leaving the reader with a sense of accomplishment and resolution.

My first continuous series, Magic Matched is published through Totally Bound, and I am extremely appreciative of what they taught me. So appreciative that I’m about to pass on their advice, free of charge, to anyone who wants to write a series. It’s this:

Write a synopsis for the whole thing and also write a synopsis for every book in the series. It’s okay if it changes later, but see it now, and know that you have some idea of how to finish what you’ve started.

That’s GOLD people! Before they asked this of me, I was convinced I could wing it, but now I think this is literally the only way a series can be finished. You’ve got to have some end goal in mind before you begin, even if it takes thirty books to get there because you keep adding something extra into the story arc. (I can think of at least five authors who are definitely doing that.)

And why am I writing about this today? Well, I just finished the Magic Matched series (at the time of writing this post). Those of you who visit Lisabet’s blog regularly may know that last month I’d admitted to being overdue with the final book. There were rewards to dole out and punishments to administer…and even a redemption to write. I was close to being done, but there was so much I had to keep track of, so many loose ends I had to make certain were tied that I slowed down to make sure I’d accomplished what I wanted to.

You see, I’m not just an author—I’m a reader. I know the pain of getting to a certain point in a series and still having questions, or still wondering about a particular thing the author didn’t bring to resolution. I worked hard to make sure Magic Matched is as complete as I could make it without strangling the possibilities of what could be after the story is over. That’s also important to me as a reader—I want to be able to imagine the characters going on, living their lives and accomplishing new goals, so there has to be a little wiggle room, right?

It’s an emotional journey, writing a series to completion. Exhausting, too. Magic Matched is only four books, but the process has taken over two years and writing those last scenes left me teary-eyed. I was finished, and that’s both joyous and sad (like having your children go away to college). The Tithe Collector, the Garguiem, and a new series I’m not yet ready to reveal, are longer—they have to be in order to tell the story as fully as I need to, but Magic Matched was a great teaching tool, and the lessons of these four books have been permanently absorbed into my knowledge base.

And you can bet that, going forward, there will definitely be spreadsheets, time lines and graphs.

Magic Matched

Only magic and politics matter…until love comes into play

Silviu and Georgeanne must learn to open their hearts to each other in order to unlock their full magical potential. But with all that stands in their way—archaic traditions, murder plots, and a betrayal that threatens all they can be—they will need the group of allies they have built to help them navigate the dangerous world of witches, and succeed against the dark magic stalking them every step of the way.

Barnes & Noble

About Lola White

Delve into the emotions, dive into the erotic.

An extensive traveler who loves to incorporate various legends from around the world into her tales, Lola White likes to twist reality at its edges in her stories. She likes delving into the emotions of her characters, finding their strengths and weaknesses, and seeing (and showing) how they get themselves out of whatever trouble has found them—if they can.

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Thank you Lisabet!


Fiona McGier said...

I have written at least 2 books in 4 different series'. With me, it's because the supporting characters in the main story start to demand a chance to be the star of my next book. Just when I think I'm done, typing "the end," the best friend, or the brother/sister of the hero/heroine start to tell me their story in my head, and I'm off and writing again. I have never set out to write a series. It's just happened that way. And instead of a plot overview, I have crib sheets and notes on tiny scraps of paper, where I computed the ages of the characters and their children, if it's X number of years after the last story. I guess that makes me a "seat of my pants"-er. But it's worked for far.

Author Lola White said...

Fiona, I think you're amazing :) I can't structure too much because otherwise my creativity takes a dive, but I have to have some sort of outline, the path forward has to be mapped in some way. Everybody is different, and has different ways of writing their story, but I guess that's why there are so many good books in the world

Kiru Taye said...

Hi Lola, I've written 4 book series so far. I'm not onw who can plan my writing in advance. All I have when I start is the concept and some of the characters. The rest comes as the stories and series progress.

Author Lola White said...

Wow, Kiru, 4 book series? That's great!

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