I am thrilled that best selling author, Della Galton has taken time out of her busy schedule to share some tips relating to writing a series of novels. How lucky I am to be able to share this advice with you now. Thank you for your article Della.
Series of Novels
Publishers love them. Readers love them. But what about the writers? Is it easier or harder to write a series of novels? Well, I’ve just published number four in my Bluebell Cliff series (which is called Sunrise Over Pebble Bay – as you’re asking!) So I’m becoming something of an expert, ho hum, or am I?!
The Best Bits
You know the characters, so you don’t need to start from scratch for every story. It’s brilliant to be able to develop the same characters over more than one book. You can get so much deeper.
When you really love a character – you don’t have to say goodbye for long.
Each story can (and should) still be complete in itself – readers won’t necessarily read the whole series. So you do feel as though you’re writing a ‘whole’ book.
The Most (er) Challenging Bits!
I’m one of those writers who doesn’t plot so I tend to put in throwaway lines and then find out why I wrote them later. Not the other way round. Why oh why did I mention that Mr B’s girlfriend had a pet python called Monty in book two of my series (Summer at Studland Bay)?
Continuity is a nightmare. I keep detailed character resumes on everyone, but it’s still really hard to make sure I don’t change someone’s eye colour, or contradict the fact that I once said they loved Marmite or had size eight feet. Don’t even get me started on ages and birthdays!
Once you’ve set a fact in stone – perhaps in an earlier book that’s already published – you can’t change it. So you have to work round it. This can be pretty er challenging.
My Top Tips
· Keep spreadsheets for the timeline. It’s much easier to keep track this way.
· Have a “photo” of your character as a visual prompt. I cut them out of magazines or junk mail that comes through the door. It’s an excellent use of junk mail!
· Alternatively pick a ‘character from a TV drama. This is brilliant for remembering gestures.
· I also keep information sheets for each character, which has things like, how many siblings they have (with names) the way they talk, (softly, loudly, not finishing sentences etc) and their favourite/most used words.
· I also have a note of each character’s date of birth as it’s much easier to change a timeline when you have this information, than if you just have their age.
· Never throw anything away that’s related to character. So if you cut a scene from your novel, keep it as information. You’ll still think of your character like this, even though the scene is no longer there.
To sum up…
So to return to the question I asked earlier – do writers love writing a series?
Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but this writer certainly does! I’ve enjoyed every minute. My novels are set in Dorset and are published by Boldwood Books. Here they are in the order I wrote them:
Summer at Studland Beach (formerly called Moonlight Over Studland Bay)
They can all be read as standalones and are available in paperback, digital, hardback, large print and audio.
Della Galton is the bestselling author of several romantic comedies set in beautiful Dorset, where she lives. Her stories feature quirky characters and very often a dog or two.
When she is not writing she enjoys walking her dogs around the beautiful Dorset countryside and beaches.
Find out more about Della Galton, her books, speaking engagements & workshops, on her website, www.dellagalton.co.uk