Friday, January 20, 2012

Series Novels or Standalones?

           I’ve often heard that serial novels sell well because people are already into the characters, writing style, and genre - like old friends to visit and revisit.
          For me? Definitely! Most of my favorite books are series novels, including Kim Harrison’s The Hollows and Dan Butcher’s Dresden Files. I’ve read them all more than once. On a yucky day when I need comfort, I settle in with some hot tea, a Snuggie, and old friends.
Writing them? A different story.
We’ve begun book 2 in our series, we’re on about page 24, and Larry wrote to me yesterday, “I'm not wild about our story so far. It's tame compared to the last one. I feel like I'm trying to steer it where I want it to go instead of writing stuff to throw you.”
And I agree.
Last time we were just writing for fun, deliberately throwing in cliff hangers and challenges for the other person to complete, creating new and interesting characters as we went along.
So the challenges for us are:
·       Interesting characters: will there be enough new characters to keep us interested in writing it? Creating characters is the most fun part for me.
·       Comedy/drama balance:  Drama is easy. Comedy is hard. I’m not saying we’re comic geniuses, but I think we’re funny. There just hasn’t been enough funny in this one.
·       Maintaining reasonable goals: Yes, we’ll try to make this one as good as or better than the last one. But we’re only on page 24, for heaven’s sake, we should just relax. It’ll come. Because, after all, we are comic geniuses. (Okay, fine, I’m saying it.)

I think it’ll take us a while to get our writing legs back. We’ve been beached reworking the old stuff so long that we’ve forgotten how to just let loose and have fun with it.


angelaparsonmyers said...

Dresden Files by Jim Butcher is one of my favorites. : - )

chm1880 said...

The first question you need to ask is where does the story arc go from this point? Then you could use the comedy to set the table.