Please welcome today’s Indie Lights Book Parade Author (and mastermind behind the whole, incredible Indie Lights Book Parade extravaganza) Cheri Roman and her guest post, The Shoulda/Coulda/Woulda of Series Writing.
Fulfilling one’s destiny requires sacrifice…
Escaping a global catastrophe, angel-human hybrid, Shahara, lands safely in Babylon with her beloved Volot, an angel with a sacred mission. But the victory is a hollow one, for the world she knew has been obliterated. Battered by the loss of her family and the denial of her most cherished dreams, Shahara’s new life begins to disintegrate as she is lured by promises of power and fulfillment into the violent, blood-soaked ambitions of a ruthless enemy. With her marriage shattered and countless lives hanging in the balance, Shahara must make a devastating choice. Can she survive her decision, or will victory require the ultimate sacrifice? By turns romantic, suspenseful and terrifying, this epic fantasy treads the knife edge of human frailty and superhuman courage.
The Shoulda/Coulda/Woulda of Series Writing
The realization came to me, about half way through Descent, that the story I was writing couldn’t be contained inside one book. If I tried, the book was going to have to be opened with a forklift. So, I ended Descent with a sigh of satisfaction and started Quest.
By the time I finally finished Quest, all my other characters were giving me the silent treatment. I think it’s because I didn’t write their stories first. Characters can be touchy that way. Turns out they were right. I was writing the stories out of order. Now I’m finishing up Sacrifice, and I finally feel like I’m back on track. Not coincidentally, Quest will have to be completely rewritten, and another book, Illusions, has taken its place as third in the series.
So what could I have done differently from the outset that would have saved me from this dilemma?
I could have started out by deciding how many stories would be in the series and what issues would be addressed in each one. But the truth is I didn’t do that because I didn’t know that there would be more than one story.
I could have done single paragraph synopsis for each book. That way I would know what direction to take at the beginning of each tale. However, aside from reason number one, my plots have a habit of changing as the characters shape the story. So, plot synopsis might have been helpful, but not completely effective.
I could have drawn out a story arc for each character and a series arc or plot thread that connects all the books. I did, in fact, draw out a story arc for the first book. In the end though, this wasn’t as beneficial as I had hoped. Descent’s final draft looks nothing like my original arc. I am actually working on a connecting plot thread and am pretty happy with the results so far.
I could have chosen a different theme for each book in the series. (Again. See reason one.) I may still do that, but at the moment there is the whole silent treatment thing going on.
These are all good ways to start out on a series. I definitely should have used more of them, but as you might have noticed, I didn’t and it’s a little late now. So what am I going to do? Well, first I’m going to invite all my characters to tea and apologize for not writing their story first. (I’m not really sorry. Despite the drawbacks I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way and I’m a better writer for it. But, one makes certain sacrifices in the interests of diplomacy.) After apologizing, I’m going to ask them what happens next. And then I’m going to write it down.
Here’s where you can read more about Cheri Roman and her writing:
Cheri Roman is a writer, editor, teacher, wife, mother, grandmother and friend, in whatever order works best in the moment. Most days you can find her on her blog, The Brass Rag, or working on the next novel in her fantasy series, Rephaim. Cheri lives with her husband and Jack, the super Chihuahua.