Posts Tagged series writing
How to Write a Novel Series by Anni Rose
Posted by Sally Jenkins in Authors, Books, Writing on March 3, 2023
Series of novels are loved by both publishers and readers. On the commercial side they build brand loyalty and returning customers. For readers they offer the chance to spend longer with favourite characters and are a pain free way to choose books without gambling on a new author or standalone novel. Anni Rose is a master of series writing. Her latest book, Recipe for Mr Ideal, is book 4 in her Recipes for Life series and is published by ChocLit. It can also be read as a standalone novel. I’m delighted that Anni has agreed to share some of her writing wisdom with us today.
Thank you, Sally, for inviting me onto your blog today to give advice on something I really enjoy: writing a series of novels.
In my opinion, there are two areas that series writers need to be aware of before they get stuck in: organisation and characters.
I use Plottr software to help me plan a book. It has some really useful templates and I like being able to assign characters and places to as many books as I want and keep notes of important details. I remember reading a series of books by one author and being amazed by how often details changed. I am sure I don’t always get it right, but hopefully there are not too many inconsistencies.
However, I don’t find it easy to write in Plottr, so I export everything to Scrivener then Word. Word is the writing program I’m most used to, but when I’ve finished a section I post it into Scrivener as well, because I like being able to move scenes and chapters around and see, at a glance, different points of view etc. and how many words there are in each section or chapter. Scrivener keeps the technical side of my brain happy.
I like to include little details from a variety of sources. When I’m out and about I might hear or see something and must make a note of it there and then in case I forget, but this does mean my notes can be in more than one format and place, so once a week I try and sit down and sort them all out in various lists or link them to a character or place. If I don’t then months later, I come across maybe a sentence and can’t remember why it seemed important at the time.
What I love most about writing a series is getting to know the characters. Writing a series, you are developing long term relationships with them. Often you find someone you thought to be a minor character in one novel, has a much bigger story that you have to tell later on.
The hardest job for me is deciding on character names. I try to pick names which fit with the characters I’m writing about, because I have to feel comfortable with their name before I can begin to make them come alive. I use local towns as inspiration for surnames – an idea I stole from J K Rowling.
Pay attention to ages. If you’re writing a series, then it stands to reason it’s going to be over a period. Sadly, they will age. It happens to us all. How many times have you read a series and the main character stays at the same age for many books. I give my characters a date of birth rather than a specific age. That helps with music choices, events in their lives etc.
Having said all that my current work in progress has two of the minor characters who have appeared before in the series and have very similar names to two, who were minor characters in a more recent book but now feature quite heavily in this one – there was nothing else for it, I had to send them off on a cruise. They’re having a ball and will be back!
Thank you, Anni, for some great advice. Now let’s find out more about your latest release and you!
Recipe for Mr Ideal
Would you settle for Mr Less-Than-Ideal for a chance at happily-ever-after?
Registrar Maddie Winter has overseen enough weddings to know that marriage is not just for Christmas (or Valentine’s Day) – it’s for life, and regardless of whether the ceremony involves specially trained owls, dinosaurs or the police, it should be only the beginning of a story that will end in happily-ever-after.
Saying that, Maddie’s own married life is far from perfect – her husband, David, is more interested in his phone than in her, and when he suddenly walks out, Maddie’s long-held beliefs are put to the test.
Except Maddie knows David was never really her ‘Mr Ideal’; that was sweet, funny, motorbike-riding Josh Diamond – although obviously not that ideal, as he did dump her to move to the States. Even so, when Josh unexpectedly rides back into town, Maddie begins to wonder whether her happily-ever-after could still be to come …
Book 4 in the Recipes for Life series but can be read as a standalone novel. It is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Kobo and Google.
About Anni Rose
Born and raised in Berkshire, Anni emigrated to Wiltshire six years ago, where she lives with her husband, sister and two dogs.
As a child, she could usually be found either reading or writing fiction, producing reams of stories over the years.
On leaving school, the need to earn a living sort of got in the way and her writing was limited to financial reports or employees’ handbooks, but a local writing course and an encouraging group of writing friends re-ignited the fiction flame many years later and Anni went on to have several short stories published in various magazines.
Anni would describe her writing these days as mainly modern romantic stories with a healthy dollop of humour thrown in. Away from writing Anni can usually be found behind a camera, walking the dogs, enjoying one of her husband’s curries or one of her sister’s bakery treats.
You can catch up with Anni on her website www.anniroseauthor.co.uk, on
Twitter – @AnniRoseAuthor, or on her Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/anniroseauthor
Anni Rose, Choc Lit, Plottr, Recipes for Life, Scrivener, series writing
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