I mentioned in an earlier blog that I’ve been re-reading some of the books I consider ‘Bibles’ for writing and writers. One of them is Karen S. Wiesner’s book Writing The Fiction Series . In it, she sets forth the mechanisms you can use for writing a series of books. The series can be based on the characters that reappear in each book, they can revolve around a quest that threads through each book, whatever connects them all can be considered a continual series.
One of the questions she asks the author to think about when envisioning a series of books is whether they are character, plot or setting driven, and which format the author himself/herself uses. This got me thinking about they way I write my books. In the past I did mostly stand alones, or one and dones. The story ended on the last page. Once I started writing romance novels, I realized there were so many fun and wonderful characters drifting on the page that had their own stories, that I knew I needed to start writing them down. I currently have two separate series in production, both involving multi-member families and story lines. So, to answer the question are they character, plot or setting driven, I’d need to say character for the most part. Although all three facets must come into play for a cohesive and interesting book, most of the time when I write a romance I find my characters first and move through their development above all else.
The basic – and I mean BASIC – plot line of every romance novel is that the hero and heroine get together in the end, find that they love one another, and live happily ever after ( HEA ). Like I said: basic. Most romance plots are really much more than that, but if you start with that core nugget, you are golden. In both of the series I am currently working on, love and dependence on family is the central theme. Mixed into that theme are various subplots and topics dealing with stalking, cooking, television production, ice skating and veterinary medicine.
I know. But, it’s me, so remember that.
Family stories are great to write about because there are so many varied dynamics in each one. Birth order always plays a big role for me with my characters. Since I am an only and married a man with a clan, I love the idea of who is what in the family food chain. Which sib is the closer? Who is the baby – and it doesn’t necessarily mean the last to be born. Which kid is the pleaser? The go-between? The fighter? The people pleaser? And where do they fall in the order of their birth? With a large family, you can find so many different ways to tell each individual’s love story and how it effects the family as a whole unit.
For the next several blogs I’ll be breaking down each facet : character, plot and setting – for how to develop a book series, with some advice from Ms. Wiesner thrown in along the way.