So I had a conversation with my good friend/awesome author, Jennifer Anne Davis, recently about how we write series. It was a conversation we didn't get to finish due to hectic life schedules, but it really got me to thinking. Thus: a new blog post.
I am in awe of people who can produce an entire series by writing one book at a time.
I can't do that.
For me, when I set out to write a story, I'm writing the story. Not a book. Not a novel. When I first thought of making writing my career, I did my best to write books and novels. Do you know what I was lacking? The story. No matter what rules I followed or what planning and effort I put in, I knew those were the projects that would have to sit to the side for a time before I knew how to properly tell the story.
It's been many years since I gave up on writing novels. Now, I write stories. Sometimes, those stories end in twenty pages. Other times, they need four parts to wrap up. And that's okay. As long as I'm getting the story down, that's what matters.
Thats where our series conversation came in. Jennifer Anne Davis is incredible in that she can literally sit down and write just one book in a series. Just one. Then she can go off and start another series, before circling back around to continue the first one. To me, this is remarkable.
As I explained to her, I have to write the whole story first. Before I even think of editing or publication, the whole deal needs to be done.
When I began my Prideful Magick Collection, it happened that I began the first one, Ivy, in February, but put it aside for a couple of months to publish under a different name. I picked it up again around October of 2011 and finished it in a couple of months. The same thing occurred with Oleander. Right up until I wrote the ending to the last book on April 28, 2012. For one year, I set aside any grand ideas about what to do with this series and publishing and editing never crossed my mind. I had the simple goal of getting the stories of this one witch out of my head and onto paper.
Now, of course, I've entered into the world of editing and publishing with this series, but this isn't an isolated incident. The best stories, I have found, are the ones I write for myself, then leave to sit for a while, before I go back and try to make them decent enough to share with the rest of the world.
Right now, even as I'm working to begin editing on the third PMC book, I'm also writing Part 4 of my current WIP. I began it in November of 2015 (my NaNoWriMo novel, as it were) and have been writing on it ever since. (Okay, I took parts of March and all of April off for PMC work, including rewriting all of book 3 for Camp NaNoWriMo.) The point being, this started in November, and I've already finished 3 parts of this story and am on the last part.
That's how I write series. One right after the other. One, long, consecutive story that I share with a pair of Beta Readers. What will come of it in a few years? I have no idea. But something will come of it, as long as I have the story finished.
Until then, I have to get back to work.
So here's my question to everyone else: How do you write a series? Is it one book at a time? One long story broken into pieces? Or is it with the idea that you are writing a full series, but you know the arc of each book as you go? (I got lucky with the PMC on this one!) Let's discuss!