Writing a Series

Writing a series of books is incredibly popular right now. But it’s a whole different mindset to writing one, standalone novel and isn’t as easy as you might think.

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The characters and the setting are important in any book but in a series they take on added significance. Is the setting stand out enough to make readers want to come back for more? Are the characters interesting enough that you will want to spend a lot of time with them and so will the readers? Do they have enough depth to sustain a number of stories instead of just the usual one?

Can you come up with interesting ideas across a number of books because a pale carbon copy of what you did in book one won’t cut it?

If you are an indie author, have you thought about how you will brand the series so that each book looks as though it belongs to a group and yet is eye catching enough on its own?

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Are you going to have an overarching theme or thread that will link each book in turn? Do you know how the series will end?

These are all the questions I should have asked myself. Of course, I didn’t. Instead I plunged in and let the words flow, eager to see where they took me. It was only as the story started to develop that I could see the potential and that’s when I asked all the questions and was able, thankfully, to answer them positively.

You see, The Tregelian Hoard was not meant to be book one in a series. It was an idea I had had kicking about in my head for some time. I had always intended it to be a standalone novella but then Jonquil Jones started to work her magic on me and I wanted to know more about her world and her battles with Sebastian Ableyard – Sable. Suddenly, The Tregelian Hoard became book one in the Jonquil Jones Mystery Series and I was on to book two.


Will my foray into writing a series be a success? Who knows? I have never done anything like this before. All I can say is that I am enjoying the challenge and entertaining myself and sometimes, as writers, that is all we can ask for.




The Return of the Novella

The ebook has given rise to the return of the novella and these have proved very popular with indie authors who often produce a series of books featuring the same characters.   I have done just that with the release of The Tregelian Hoard. The first in a series of three books.

The novella came to prominence in the Renaissance and one of the earliest novellas was by the Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio. Called The Decameron it featured 100 tales told by ten people all fleeing the Black Death.

Some notable novellas which have made the bestseller lists include Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote and The Invisible Man by H G Wells.

The length of a novella varies. The only real criteria is that it should be longer than a short story but not as long as a novel. As a result the stories featured are usually not as complicated as those in novel.

In modern times the novella fell out of favour. Publishers weren’t keen. The novella was neither fish nor fowl i.e. not a short story and not a novel. While magazines thrived selling short stories, it became harder to find a market for novellas.

That all changed with the advent of the ereader. A game changer in so many ways, the ereader coupled with indie publishing allowed writers to experiment with other forms, those writers found readers and novellas enjoyed a resurgence.

Evolution of Readers by John Blyberg courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0

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In these days of fast paced life committing hours and hours to a long novel can be tricky. Consuming a novella across a few days is more manageable, particularly if you do most of your reading on the commute into work. It is on trains and planes where the novella coupled with the ereader has really come into its own.

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I am pleased this little gem has made a comeback. I am used to working to 100,000 words but I find writing novellas less stressful and more enjoyable.

If you are a reader, why not give a novella a try? And if you are a writer, why not try your hand at one? Either way a whole new world of opportunity will open up for you.