Series Writing by Keith Julius
There are definite advantages to writing a series of books. Once the characters are developed they aren’t abandoned. You have the opportunity to use them over and over again. This gives you a big start on your next story, as you can jump right in knowing what these people are capable of and what to expect from them in any situation. (Though sometimes characters seem to take on a life of their own, leading the story in a direction you never imagined at the beginning.)
Series are good for the reader as well. Once you’ve read one selection you generally have an idea of the genre of the book, be it suspense, mystery, action, drama, or whatever. And chances are if you liked the first book you’ll enjoy the second.
This is something the author depends on. If he (or she) does things right the reader won’t be disappointed.
There are, however, definite limitations in series writing. It’s difficult to kill off a character the readers have come to know and love. Especially a major character who takes a leading role in the story. Likewise, you find yourself committed to a certain type of story due to the original limitations you set up for yourself. An adventure hero isn’t going to make it through a book (and keep the audience hooked) unless he continues to have adventures.
I considered these advantages and disadvantages when I began writing my series “THE CASA CHRONICLES.” A CASA is a Court Appointed Special Advocate working through the juvenile court system, representing children in cases of child abuse and child neglect. With this broad background, I can reflect on a variety of social issues and problems, such as drug addiction, alcoholism, and similar topics that children and their families deal with every day.
And even though this is a series I have adopted what I feel is a twist to my stories. My cast of characters changes with each book. Some will return – maybe not right away, but several books later when the timing seems right. Some we will only see once. While others are minor characters that float in and out on a fairly regular basis, allowing the eagle-eyed reader to pick out who was in past novels.
This approach allows me to do things not often seen in a traditional series. It gives me a life-and-death approach, where the reader will never know who is going to make it until they reach the end of the book. My thinking is this will build some suspense and avoid the trite endings where everyone lives happily ever after.
Because life just doesn’t work that way, does it?
Please visit www.keithjulius.com to learn more about me and my writing. Here you’ll find links to buying my books as well as sample chapters of each of my novels.