Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Series Writing

By Lucy Felthouse

Writing a series is something I put off for a while, because the idea scared me. I've been known to lose consistency in a short story, never mind a series of stories! But I knew I couldn't put it off forever, and now I'm writing two!

My first dabble at series writing started with my series of short stories based around two young men on their gap year before starting University. They were going to have lots of adventures and tumble into bed (or wherever!) with various different women. So I had a challenge on my hands, remember their likes and dislikes, personality quirks, as well as what they did with who and where. And so began my insane list. It's full of the above, and there's a list for each of my characters and the names of what women they slept with and where. It sounds pretty clinical, and I suppose it is, but it was the only way I could be sure that Ryan, the main character, didn't end up having sex with four Janes, two Emilys, three Roses, and so on. I've just finished the third book in the series and it's working for me so far, so fingers crossed it will continue to do so!

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I co-authored a novel with Lily Harlem, which was great fun. We very much just wrote and waited to see how it went. There was no planning, we literally just wrote and let the storyline and characters develop themselves. As a result, there are no notes or anything on that book. Which would have been okay... had we not decided it would be fab to write a series. We'd very much like to write about more characters from the same "world" as the first book, and so I'm currently in the process of reading through the first book and making lots of notes about the characters we're featuring in book two. Again, this is to make sure there are no inconsistencies, and so on. Also, the starting point for book two will actually be in a scene in book one, if that makes sense. Told from the new characters' perspectives, and so it's vital that any happenings and dialogue are exactly the same. It's proving fun, and I'm reacquainting myself with book one at the same time. Which is just as well, as we're hoping to see it released by the end of summer. Watch this space.

So I kind of muddled along when it came to series writing to begin with, but now I know what works for me I can continue doing it. Lots of lists and copious notes - my characters will not change hair colour in book three, honest! ;0)

*****

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over seventy publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include Best Bondage Erotica 2012 and 2013, and Best Women's Erotica 2013. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

8 comments:

  1. How do handle planning for series length, or do you plan for that? To me, that's one of the trickiest parts, since I've been known to plot a story, intend it to be X words, then write it to 2X words. I have yet to complete a series, though I have one going, too, but I fear a similar bloat...

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    1. I haven't worried about length, to be honest. I've tried to keep the stories the same length as one another, but as a whole, I don't mind, because with eBooks we don't have to stick to certain word counts, which I love :)

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    2. That e-book flexibility has certainly saved my skin more than once, though not my writing schedule...

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    3. I know the feeling. I'm too scared to make a writing schedule because then I'll panic when I see how much I have to do!

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  2. Hi, Lucy,

    Your post is very timely. I've been struggling with the idea of doing a series for a while. My publishers tell me that series sell much better than individual books. I don't have so much trouble with consistency - my problem is keeping my interest level up.

    Anyone who looks at my backlist can see that I tend to jump from genre to genre, world to world. That's definitely at least partly because I get bored!

    My M/M novel Quarantine ended with an obvious invitation for further books. The trouble is, the book hasn't sold all that well, so do I really want to invest the time and effort into another book in the same world?

    Sigh. I'm going to have to try it sooner or later. Because I'm running out of new genres and writing experiences! ;^)

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    1. Yes, I've heard that series sell better than individual books - I guess I'll be able to let you know in a few weeks' time, hopefully.

      Hmm, I know what you mean about interest level, but I haven't written any of mine one after the other, so that's probably why I haven't had an issue there. It's been a case of finishing something else, then thinking about writing the next book in the series. I suspect I would get bored if I was writing them back to back.

      Also agree with what you're saying about time and effort, but I can never work out why some of my books sell better than others, so I just keep writing and try not to worry about that because you can never predict what will sell, and what won't. You just need to catch someone's interest with a book in a series, it may be the third book, but then hopefully they'll go and read them from the beginning.

      Good luck!

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  3. I'm currently writing a series so this was a good article for me to read. It showed me I was doing things right by having lists, character sheets with complete bios and a world planning diagram.

    I began with a single story that evolved into multiple characters, each with their own stories to tell about how they got to where they are in the main story that happens later on. So, in a since, I'm building up to the main story from the tellings of the characters that will be in the last.

    For me, the world is the biggest part of the sci-fi romance series I'm writing. I had to develop it fully in order to know the characters within it. That is where all my notes come into play and character drivers are developed. I started without notes, guidelines or even a character list, letting everything just fall into place somehow.

    I have two completed and I'm into editing them now which is harder than writing them.

    Like what you did, my last chapter of my first book will throw you into the next main character of the second book, even though in the timeline, her story occurs first. Sort of the flashback of what she is telling the others from the first story.

    I really enjoyed reading about how you did yours. So different but similar in so many other ways. Thanks for posting this.

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  4. Hey Lucy - Let me introduce you to the coolest writing tool I found to help me track my series and much more. It's called Scrivener, and I can't tell you the countless hours it's saved me, never mind keeping me on track with character profile, lists, plot changes, etc. It's got the most wonderful searching tools and several other functions that will help you keep on top of your stories. And the best thing is that you can create templates - character profiles, etc. - and use them with each book in the series, and all that information is just a click away while you're writing. It's well worth checking out. http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php

    Happy writing!

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