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The Writer's Compass » About Writing, Becoming A Writer, Featured » Writing Novel Serials

Writing Novel Serials

I just finished listening to 4 audiobooks by the same author. The author had written other books and over time 4 of her novels were about this character.

I had listened to the second one a couple of times and liked the character, and thought I liked the author. I pulled together these 4 to listen to consecutively. I could barely get through them. There was so much repetition it made me nuts. I think she took huge sections and just copied them into the next book to explain stuff that happened in the first book. Eventually, I just started forwarding through those sections.

I also couldn’t believe what a disappointment the character turned out to be. She became very illogical. She was a Superior Court judge, after years of being a prosecutor, and I kept thinking “How could she be this stupid? How could she keep making the same dumb mistakes?”

The final few paragraphs almost redeemed the books, almost. Overall, I felt the author was bored with the story and the character and thought the repetition was a quick way to turn out a new book.

Do’s and Don’ts

Even though there may be years of separation between novels about a character, DO NOT repeat the same material verbatim. At the very least figure out a new way to tell the incidents and add new information and insights.

Don’t give your character a high-profile job and then make her/his actions defy logic. It’s okay to be dumb if you don’t know the field, but don’t say how intelligent the character is to cover up the really stupid things he/she does. It’s okay for your character to have flaws, but make the flaws logical to who the character is and not to contrive obstacles.

Do take what works about your story and advance it to the next level with new problems and obstacles. You can build on the initial problems, but don’t make them the focus or your serial will quickly become stale.

Make sure your character is strong enough to stand up through a series and remain interesting and engaging. Show the reader how this character deals with this circumstance.

 

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