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  • Writer's pictureSarah Northwood

Writing a series was the worst thing I’ve ever done

Writing a series wasn’t one of my particular aspirations or goals in writing, so when I stumbled into writing a Young Adult Fantasy series, like a person searching for the elusive Unicorn, things went wrong. To start with my series isn’t finished yet, so there’s still plenty of room for more mistakes. Perhaps it’s brave to share this blog post now then.

As luck would have it most of my works have been single books, except for The Volunteer, where I wrote a prequel, The Unravelling, after publishing the main novel. I think it’s clear then there’s a pattern of not planning up front enough here. That’s mistake, I mean lesson number one!

Without further ado here are some more things you can do to write a brilliant series and avoid the errors of my ways.

1. I wrote the first book without much thought for what was to come afterwards. I didn’t even realise it would be a series until I got to the end and knew there was more story to tell. Make sure when you plan out a story to go over multiple books that the story arc will be big enough to sustain it.

2. This leads nicely on to my next learning event. Writing the second book in my series took a lot longer than I intended because I let my characters dictate their own lives in the book. They had all sorts of ideas about where to go and I didn’t know their story until I wrote it. As I see the third book on the horizon waiting to be written, I don’t know where the series will finish. I have only a glimpse of that elusive end. It’s foggy and hard to see clearly which is frustrating because it is incredibly important. Otherwise you might drag out a series endlessly because the characters demand to go on, or leave your readers unsatisfied with your conclusion. When writing a series make sure you will know when to call it quits.

3. I did not consider how time would factor into my books until strangely, time continued to pass. As I’m focussed on a young adult series this immediately causes issues. I don’t want to be writing about a much older character just because I didn’t consider that they would age. I am still figuring out how to deal with this one! So remember as your characters grow and change over the course of a plot, they also might age.

4. My final point here is probably the biggest reason I feel writing a series is a whole new entity to a one-off book. Details! These are so important. There were so many events that popped up in my complex storyline. With a new world known as The Shadow Realm there are a lot of those all-important details to remember. Keeping the rules of the magic involved, the societies and the personalities consistent is so important and something I did not keep organised enough. However you choose to keep track of these fine points, make sure you do it better than me!!

Despite the title of this blog post and sharing with you all the things I did wrong; I would not change my experience with my magical series for anything. But just perhaps if I choose to do it again, I will plan it out a little bit better.

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