Why so … series?

 

Like so many creative writers, by the time I completed my first novel, Ten Days in Panama, I had grown to know my characters as if they were real people. A few of those people would be good to look at, and to have around, but like reality, others were not so endearing.

In my next big story, Beyond The Law: Formation, I had learned more about my craft and the characters became better developed much faster. I spent longer in their company, and each visit was like getting together with a few old friends.Novel - BTL - Formation - 220216

When I wrote my sequel, Beyond The Law: Retribution, I got back together with characters with whom I was well-acquainted, and I enjoyed the process of the story from the outset.

BTL RetributionIt was less frustrating when the storyline veered away from my intended direction. I was also forgiving of issues as they arose. I was still the puppeteer, but in some mysterious way I had been pulled into the scenes, conversations, and struggles.

I left those characters behind to get on with other projects, but I’ve been drawn back, so among other things, I’m presently working on the final story in the trilogy, Beyond The Law: Consequences.Novel - BTL 3 Consequences

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As with poetry when I started writing, I’ve come to realise I enjoy the familiar company of certain characters, and in recent times it occurred to me to take the series idea to a new level.

A Life of Choice - Part OneFor many years I’d worked on my autobiography, but it was never fully satisfying, so rewrite after rewrite left me feeling empty. There were too many anecdotes to include, because it made the story too big, but many which were so peculiar they refused to be excluded.

Apart from anything else, even if it was fact-based-fiction, which point of view would work best?

From this train of thought evolved A Life of Choice, a fact-based-fiction novel in five parts, but each part a generous size. I’m not interested in writing a handful of short books to top up my catalogue. To date, I have the first two parts published, and Part Three will arrive in the autumn.A Life of Choice - Part Two

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I dabbled in the writing of erotica and enjoyed it, so I wondered how best to continue. I compiled a collection of short stories which was well received, so I followed it with a novel. It too received positive feedback.

How could I achieve a hybrid, I wondered?

My foray into the novella length is how I’m heading. It will be a series of inter-related stories, each longer than a short story, but shorter than a novel. The novella series will start with Highland Games – 1. By mid-June I’ll be looking for beta readers for this first story.

Due to it being erotica, anyone who volunteers will remain anonymous if requested.

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The answer to the question in this blog post title, ‘Why so … series?’

By creating a series of three, five, or more stories which are interconnected – I can enjoy the company and emotions of characters I’ve come to know better than some of the real people in my life.Highland Games 1 - 150516

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I’ve learned during my reading and writing journey, in the case of some authors a series can be a method of continuing a story for the benefit of a readership. It can be a way of increasing sales by producing a series of extremely short stories, and I’m fine with either of those ideas. However, there are some series which are too short in quantity, and lacking in quality, but these are measures we find in every part of our lives.

Any books I produce as part of a series will be produced with the same care and attention to detail I devote to my other writing. I will strive to make every book a standalone, but without irritating anybody who’s read the earlier work. If I ever come up short, I can only hope it’s because a reader has a personal issue, and not because of the writing.

For me so far, writing about characters beyond a first story has produced the joy of writing about people I’ve become close to, and after the realities of life, my characters are great companions. They won’t let me down. If they do – I’ll kill them. 🙂

Thank you for reading.

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12 comments on “Why so … series?

    • Sincere thanks Patrick, for the visit and kind comments. I really have to take a few minutes from my latest, and get over your way again. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I too get so absorbed by characters and their stories that their worlds become far from fictional when I’m working on them. Although I have been asked whether I’ll write sequels, particularly for Strong as Death, so far it’s new characters who call the loudest. Your enthusiasm for writing really comes through in this post and I wish you much success with your next venture. There’s something compelling about developping characters in a sequence of scenarios.

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    • Hi Julia. Thank you for dropping by. I think you could do sequels for both Strong as Death and Selkie, but it’s your call, and you should only venture there if you feel it’s right.
      Thank you for the kind comments. 🙂

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    • Hi Damyanti and thank you for visiting. Yes, it’s fun creating characters, but I find it fulfilling to take them on more than one journey. I’ve already experimented with mentioning characters from one story in a different one, so in the future I’ll see how far I can take the idea.

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  2. “If they do, I’ll kill them!” 😀 😀 Brilliant, Tom! I share your point of you about the emotional connections that develop between the writer and the characters, wholly contingent on rate of occurrence and depth. It’s art mirrors life, of course. The longer the time spent “together”, the greater the familiarity, hence the increasing ease in continuing “their” stories and putting them on paper. One potential drawback is that once you relax too much into their familiar loving arms, it may conceivably prove difficult to become invested in the creation of new characters. But who knows? I’m of the opinion … whatever works 🙂 Great post indeed.

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    • Thank you for the visit as always Ramona, and for such insightful comments. You’ve hit the proverbial ‘nail on the head’ with regard to familiarity.
      Beyond The Law (Formation), was intended to be a standalone, and then I had requests to follow it, so I did, but my idea to make it a trilogy was as much to close the story as it was to write about some favourite characters again.
      I believe as writers we do have to move on, if for no other reason to prove our ability to ‘create’ more than a few memorable characters. 🙂

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