Monday, January 26, 2015

Writing a Series

I enjoy book series. As a reader, when I find a series I really enjoy, I want to be immersed in it in every way possible. I want to experience the characters’ lives in every way possible, and I don’t want it to ever end. EVER.

Writing a series can be a magical and wonderful experience. As a writer, I enjoy that the world is already set up and that the characters are already established. I don’t have to strain my brain coming up with new ideas, I can expand on ones that already exist.

As an author, I appreciate and enjoy that readers get lost in my series. I love that they are invested in my characters and can’t get enough of their adventures. It makes me happy that they anxiously await the next book.

But writing a series can also get incredibly exhausting. I have to spend a lot of time in this world and with these characters. I’m there for months or years, and I know waaaaay more about what happens than what is on the page. My brain is full of elaborate back stories. I know minute details about the characters’ lives and the history of the world. Sometimes these details are written down so they aren’t forgotten, but they aren’t ever part of the final story.

Keeping track of all this gets tough. And sometimes the characters don’t cooperate. Some days they don’t want to tell me their stories, or I get bored listening to them. Spending too much time with characters is like spending too much time with real people. We get tired of each other. There is some truth to the phrase “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” even with fictional people.

There’s also the added pressure of making sure the next book lives up to readers’ expectations. I want to make sure the details are just right, that I’m staying true to what was written before, and sometimes that means going back and rereading the previous books in the series. Thankfully, at the moment, I only have two others. I couldn’t imagine having five or more and needing to go back for details!

But at the same time, I feel the pressure to make sure the next book lives up to readers’ expectations. There’s a need to get it out in a timely fashion so that interest isn’t lost. Nerves get frazzled when I feel like I’m falling behind—even when I don’t have a deadline.  When this happens, it makes it hard to continue to write.  It becomes difficult to overcome the fear that I’m going to fail, that people are going to be angry with the book.

As an author, my goal is to make sure the reader enjoys their experience in the worlds I create. I want to give you my best. I strive to do that every time I put words on the page, but sometimes, self-doubt creeps in. Real life gets in the way. Mistakes happen. A book might take a little longer to get out than expected. Please don’t hold this against me.

The thing that (I hope) makes my series so wonderful is that I have fun writing it. I enjoy being in that world just like you do, but at times, it gets tedious. Sometimes it isn’t fun anymore. When this happens, I have to walk away. I have to work on something else. I have to take a break.

Trust me, if I don’t enjoy writing the story, it will come across on the page, and then you won’t enjoy reading it. But after a little time off, I can come back refreshed and ready to make it fun again. And that’s what it’s all about: having fun.

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