A is for Another

A-Z April 2015 Challenge Badge

I have accepted the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. Every day in April (except Sundays) I will be posting a blog, starting with A today, April 1st, and ending with Z on April 30th. Other writers have accepted the challenge. I hope you’ll visit a few of those blogs, too.

Now, for A.

 When I wrote The Crows, I had no idea there would be another book with the same characters. I thought The Crows would be a stand alone. All but two of my romances had been stand alones (the two that weren’t featured two sisters). Once The Crows was published, I was surprised when people asked when the next book featuring P.J. Benson, her Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, and Sheriff’s Detective Wade Kingsley would be out.

 Suddenly I was writing a series.

 The Crows led to As the Crow Flies. And when that book ended, I’ll admit, the last paragraph really did demand a third book in the series. Eat Crow and Die will be out in July. Will there be more? Hmm, I’m not sure. I am working on a short story that involves these characters, so it’s a possibility.

Three P.J. Benson Mysteries - so far

Three P.J. Benson Mysteries – so far

Not being prepared to write another in the series (which wasn’t a series until I did write another), I ran into a lot of trouble. Trust me. If you think there’s a possibility you may write another book using the same characters PLAN AHEAD. Series writers, I learned, usually create a “bible,” a notebook or file that has all of the important data that will “travel” from book to book. Little things as well as the big, such as: What are the hero’s parents’ names? Where do his parents live? Their ages? Info about the neighbors, coworkers, and so on.

I’m starting another book. It may be a stand alone, but just in case it turns into a series, I’m going to start a file (or maybe a notebook) with all of the information I need, not only about my protagonists and antagonists, but also about the secondary and tierce characters.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you’ll check out some of the other blogs in this challenge. Go to A-to-Z Blogging Challenge and scroll down for the list.

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22 Responses to A is for Another

  1. Very good advice, Maris. Planning ahead is always wise. Good luck with your blog hop, an ambitious undertaking to say the least!

  2. Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

    Thank you, Jacqueline. I tried to make each blog fairly short and on a topic of some interest (at least to me).

  3. Carrie-Anne says:

    I almost always write interlocking series books and family/town sagas. It’s how my brain is wired. I couldn’t plan so far ahead and know what’s happening without family trees, character lists, notes, outlines, etc.

  4. Stephen Tremp says:

    It took me a few years to write my trilogy and I needed a plan. Mainly so I would not ignore my family and health. Its too easy to get caught up in writing and let life slip away.

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Stephen, I would think a “bible” would be a necessity with long breaks between books in a trilogy. I know I forgot a lot of the little details from one book to the next.

  5. Karyn Good says:

    It always pays to be prepared says me, who wasn’t either. A story bible is a great idea and will save a lot time that I spend backtracking and looking details up!

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      You’re right, Karyn. Be prepared. By book three, I had a fairly decent “series bible” created, but it would have been nice to have had it from the start.

  6. Lucy Kubash says:

    Good advice for writing a series. I’m going to make a note of it, as I have two series in mind. Looking forward to reading the rest of your A-Z posts!

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Lucy. I now have all of the blogs written (unless I change my mind along the way), but for a week I was busy. I hope you enjoy the rest of the blogs, meanwhile, get working on that series idea.

  7. Good advice. I’m not sure if my WIP could evolve from a stand alone to a first book in a series. Your post made me consider the possibility and prepare for it by creating a series bible from my world-building notes. Thank you, Maris.

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Lana, as I said in the blog, I hadn’t considered the possibility initially, so it’s good that you’re creating a series bible. You never know.

  8. ann bennett says:

    I like the title “Eat Crow and Die”. Best wishes on the roll out of another book.

  9. Melissa Keir says:

    I love series books. It’s like a wonderful close friendship that you know you can count on! Congrats on your series!

  10. Cassie says:

    I so agree! So many times I have written a book, only to figure out later that there would be more… I really need to get better at this. Happy A-Z!

  11. Hi there!
    I’m stopping by during the A to Z Challenge. I enjoyed stopping by and hope you get the chance to check out my blog sometime during this month. I’m a children’s book author and I’m reviewing different books. Good luck with the challenge!
    Take care,
    Donna L Martin
    http://www.donnalmartin.com
    author THE STORY CATCHER
    coauthor CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: ANGELS AMONG

  12. Lyn says:

    Maris–

    Not only is it fun (or so I’ve heard) to write more books about the same characters, but it’s also a real crowd-pleasing plan. Thanks for noting some of the concerns about writing series books.

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Lyn, I agree with the “crowd-pleasing.” It’s my readers who talked me into writing the second book, and my fans who pushed me to hurry up and get the third book finished. I would have been a lot faster at writing the two follow-up books if I had originally created that “bible.”

  13. Diane Burton says:

    Best wishes on your release of Eat Crow & Die. Love that title. Oh, yeah, you need to keep a file on all the details. When I wrote The Pilot, I started the file with all the characters, world-building, etc. Then when I wrote the 2nd book, I copied that detail file and added all the new info. It really makes it easy to keep track.

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Okay, Diane. You are definitely more organized than I am (or was with THE CROWS). But you’re right. It does make it easier to keep track of those little details.