Writing A Series
by Sharon Sant
I’m not entirely sure I’m the right person to give out advice on writing a book series, as I’m probably the most disorganised, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants person you’re ever likely to meet. What I can tell you is how I did the Sky Song trilogy, and hope that, maybe, some of it is helpful.
The thing about the Sky Song trilogy is that it didn’t really start out as a trilogy. But even as Sky Song raced its way to the big showdown, it became clear that there was a lot more tale to tell – there were simply too many questions left unanswered. Despite this, it took me five years to start on the second book. After graduating from university with a BA in English and creative writing, I started a part time job as a fiction editor and was so busy with the books of other authors that, suddenly, all my spare time had been sucked into some hideously busy black hole of work and bed and my own writing projects got put to one side.
Fast forward to 2012 and after Sky Song had literally sat on my laptop doing nothing (I never even had time to submit it to a single agent or publisher) my editing job calmed down enough for me to get all excited about the prospect of self-publishing. I decided that Sky Song would be the perfect guinea pig to see if I could make it work for me. But I knew that Jacob’s story wasn’t over and that’s when I decided to finish it before I did anything else. I immediately figured out that two more books would tell it and, after re-reading the first one, I started to write the second. I have to say that the story almost told itself. I had a vague idea where the characters would be at the end of books two and three and at some points in between, and I fleshed everything out from there. It also seemed like a good idea to carry on telling the story as it was unfolding so easily in my head, so rather than release the books as they were finished, after the first draft of The Young Moon was done, I put it to one side and got on with writing Not of Our Sky. That way, the impetus of the story was still strong; it was also great for continuity as all the previous events were still very fresh in my mind and I still had a handle on all the characters. When I had done the first drafts I went back to Sky Song and started to read all three books back-to-back, to see how the overall story arc connected. I twiddled here and there, and when I was happy I started to edit. I got Sky Song out on Amazon, then edited The Young Moon and did the same, finally releasing Not of Our Sky five months after Sky Song had first been released. That was the other thing I liked about writing the whole series before I released any of them; readers would not have to wait long for the next instalment. As a reader, I hate to wait for the next book, particularly if there is a cliff-hanger in one. I’m not saying there is a cliff-hanger in any of the books. Although, there might be…
I can’t thank Sharon enough for writing this guest post. It was truly insightful, and gives us the rare glimpse into the mind of a writer. I read Sky Song earlier this year and reviewed it here. I will be looking forward to delving deeper into her trilogy soon. I’ve also read that the paperback version of Sky Song is in the pipeline. In the meantime, the eBook is available from:
Post 1 – What Exactly is a ‘Book Series’
Post 3 – Guest Post by Sharon Sant
Post 6 – Guest List
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