A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!

Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Taking on the Series Challenge

Writing a series is a lot different than writing a stand-alone book. When an author sits down to plan out a series, it’s like writing multiple books at once. Each book has to have a singular plot, but all the books have to be working together toward a series finale. 

If this is a series that involves the same main character, then all additional main characters, their personalities, growth, issues and challenges all have to be mapped out in coordination with an overall series arc. A series requires a lot of foresight, planning and long-term character development. Plots should be at least lightly sketched out for a few books in advance. If you have an exact number of books planned for your series, then it's even easier. It’s helpful if you have a clear idea of where you want to go with your characters and how you want them to change over the course of the books.

It can all seem daunting, but it is also a lot fun. Personally, I love to revisit my characters in novel after novel. In many ways they have become like family to me. It's fun to plot their activities and watch their growth as people, lovers and friends.

Obviously, I like to write series. The latest book in my humorous, geek mystery series, NO TEST FOR THE WICKED, came out December 1. It’s the fifth book (actually the sixth because there is a novella in the mix) and Lexi Carmichael and her friends are back again for another adventure.

Lexi Carmichael, geek girl extraordinaire, is headed to high school. Again. Returning to high school is not something she ever wanted to do over—it was awful the first time around. So why do she have to go back as part of a new undercover assignment? Because the universe loves playing jokes on her, obviously.

She’s been ordered to go all 21 Jump Street and track down the students who are breaking into the computer system, changing grades, and causing all kinds of havoc. Although she’s not thrilled about her new gig, at least it gives her something to do other than worry over the fact that she now has a boyfriend. And no freaking idea what to get him for Christmas.

Or it did give her something else to worry about, until she stumbled across a more sinister threat. Lexi is shocked to find distinct traces of a group of international hackers inside the network. Why would dangerous cyber mercenaries be interested in a high school in the middle of Washington, D.C.? What exactly has she gotten herself into?

So, what do you think of series? Love them, prefer a stand-alone novel or a mixture of both?


Anne Marie Becker said...

Looks like a great series, Julie! I love reading connected books, but have trouble writing series with one character as the main character. More power to you! :)

Marcelle Dubé said...

OMG, Julie. If I'd known all that before writing the Mendenhall Mystery series, I wouldn't have started it. Of course, I didn't know when I wrote the first one that it was the beginning of a series. I guess that's just as well...

I love the premise of your series, Julie, and I hope you have many more stories in it. Congrats on your recent release.

Ana Barrons said...

I love a good series, the longer the better. I keep threatening to write one… ;)

Sandy Parks said...

I am drawn to writing series and love to read them. I do think once I get into a world I want to spend more time there. The characters are like a new family of friends and I like to hang out with them. Good luck on your series. I've read them all and can't wait to see what Lexi gets into next.

J Wachowski said...

I love a series, J! I'm with Sandy, I like to spend time in a world. Particularly if the author is as organized as you are--then you know you'll have some development from book to book.
Lexi is such a fun character, it'll be hard to read the series end!

jean harrington said...

I've enjoyed writing my own Murders by Design series and following--developing!--my heroine as she takes on life's challenges. I've also read many series that have been terrific: the Gabalon time-traveler stories, Evanovich's Stephanie Plum as she goes from adventure to adventure, and Silver's Gabriel Allon the Israeli spy/assassin. But I like block-buster stand-alones too.Best of luck, Julie, with your very enjoyable series. Lexi is great fun!

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