20 February 2018

Tuesday Talk: The Serial is in the Details by Loretta Livingstone

A few thoughts for old hands or new authors alike

Lorretta photo by Vanessa Champion
I just read a very good post on WordPress about ensuring you have all the relevant details for your fictional world written up before you start the first novel in a series.

This is excellent advice, and it would be all well and good except for one problem. I had no idea when I wrote my debut historical novel, Out of Time, that it was going  to become a series. My characters decided to pick up the ball and run with it. I have been puffing along after them ever since, just trying to keep up, as they merrily throw it on to the next catcher. [from Helen: Oh I know that feeling very well ... puff puff puff....]

The problem is, I have had to go along with some things that I would have done differently had I realised I was writing a series.

However, the moment I discovered they were getting out of hand, I wrote a description of each character including family trees with dates of birth and how they all interlinked. And thank goodness I did. Minor characters have suddenly decided they want their own books written. And none of them turned out the way I expected. I thought I was going to write a one-off novel about Robin Hood - but he never showed up. Instead, my MCs decided the story would be something else entirely.

I'm hoping to publish book three around June 2018 - the romance between one of the very first characters, Sir Giles, and his wife - and already the next character, a nun with a bit-part in book one, has been tugging at my sleeve and whispering her own story in my ear. Not to mention the abbess, who does have a story to tell, and Shannon/Rohese, who has no intention of being a one-story wonder. And her sister, who had an even smaller part but has suddenly realised she is missing out on something.

So, heed the warning. When you start your very first novel, build the world carefully, plan for future novels even if you don't have any intention of writing them just at the moment, and log very carefully things like eye colour, build, age - very important that, along with dates of birth - character quirks, and anything else which may be needed at a later date. And if, like me, you left it too late, go back over the first book and pull out everything before you go any further. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.


cover by www.avalongraphics.org

I recommend, also, that you read the following post for further good advice on the subject.

More about Loretta
Loretta in Costume
Loretta on Amazon
Out of Time

Have you any advice for potential serial writers? Please do share them below! 

< previous article  "What Pirates Needed Was A..."   next > 


Thank you for leaving a comment - it should appear soon, but Blogger sometimes chucks its teddies out of the cot and has a tantrum. My apologies if you leave a comment and I do not respond - blame it on Blogger Bloopers. If you are having problems, contact me on author AT helenhollick DOT net and I will post it for you. Sometimes a post will appear as anonymous instead of your name or avatar - I draw attention to this being another Blogger Blooper and NOT of MY doing... That said ...SPAMMERS or distasteful rudeness will be stamped on, squashed, composted and very possibly cursed - if you spam my blog, next time something nasty happens to you just remember that I DID warn you...