Sparks fly when Felicia and Joshua meet. Discovering her inner fire and unleashing unimaginable powers makes her realize that all her life, she has been hiding her true self. When buildings burn and people are in danger, the tempting game of playing with fire becomes serious. Will their love and desperate struggle for control save her life, or will the fire magic turn itself against its mistress?
Devika Fernando is a talented author from Sri Lanka whose Playing with Fire is the first book in a four-part series. I’m fascinated and amazed by authors who can plan and plot multiple-books in a long-running series. It’s difficult enough to do it for one book, but to keep the thread going for several more…the mind boggles! So, as part of The Book Club’s blog tour for Devika’s book I asked her to write a guest post on writing a series and she sweetly obliged. Thanks Devika for giving us your tips and good luck with your series!
What are the 3 top things to keep in mind while creating a multi-book series?
Thanks for this interesting question, Adite. I did think a lot before planning my paranormal romance series “4 Elements of Love”, so this is a topic close to my heart.
I think it’s very important to know beforehand whether you want each book to be a stand-alone with its own (happy) end, or whether you’ll end the books with a cliffhanger. I like to read and write both, but the methods have different effects.
If there is one bigger story, it might be a good idea to divide it into three or more parts and cut them off at a decisive / gripping moment. That way you can be sure that the readers just have to buy the other books because they’re dying to know what will happen next.
With my series “4 Elements of Love”, I decided to have four books that can be read as stand-alones, each with a different set of characters, and a conclusion. It’s because I want to focus on the four elements fire, water, earth and air, and they all revolve around different story ideas. That way I can write one book, release it and focus on the next one without having to first write all of them and releasing them at the same time.
It’s also crucial to have one common element that runs through all books. Often that will be one setting – a village, for example, or a hotel or company. It may also be a family saga or revolve around a group of people like siblings, friends or members of a team. That way, readers will find something they’re familiar with. If they fall in love with that common theme, they’ll want to read the other books too and feel like greeting an old friend.
The style needs to be the same. And I don’t just mean sticking to the genre. I mean the writing per se. Even if the books deal with different protagonists, settings and topics, they should be recognizable as part of the series. That’s why I don’t like it much if authors make the first or last book in a series a very short novella. Often things seem hurried or even unnecessary in that one, as if they’re just milking the potential of the series to have another book out. Because of the short length and less gripping story, this book often differs in style from the others.