Write Tip Wednesday: Four Lessons Learned from Writing a Series

Moonlight Romance is my first historical romance series. Some people are now referring to them as Midnight books since each title starts with Midnight. My latest release Midnight Kiss is the third book in the series. I’ve learned a lot in the process of writing this series. I’d like to share some of my lessons with you.

Cup Of Hot Black Coffee With Steam And Notebook

1. Building a strong setting and investing time in research up front pays dividends throughout the series.

Historical research took up a lot of time in book 1 and book 2, but by the time I sat down to write book 3 I did not have to do much research. I won’t say I didn’t have to do any because in a historical novel there is always something to double check or find out. However, because I knew the setting and had most of the big facts figured out already the writing was a lot faster.

2.  Develop your characters from day 1.

That might sound like silly advice at first. However, most series revolves around a group of characters that are all introduced in early books in the series. Are they all brothers in need of wives? Does the series take place in a small town where everyone knows everyone? It is important to develop side characters anyway, but if your side character will eventually star in a future book in the series it is doubly important. If you develop him/her in the beginning then you will have less work to do when it is time to write their story.

3. Have a good idea where the series is going and how they fit together

I know sometimes authors do not plan to write a series. They write one book and then later they get idea for more or their publisher/readers ask for more. If that happens then that is great! If you do plan out to write a series from the beginning know how the stories are going to fit together. If it follows the same character you will need a character arc for each book besides a plot. Harry Potter kept learning and growing with each book. If it is a series with new main characters each time do the previous main characters make an appearance? Or is the setting that ties them together? Perhaps a common experience like being haunted by a ghost or receiving a mysterious letter? If you know this before you write the first book then the series will flow a lot better!

 

4. The first book is important but it may not sell the series.

I don’t want this to be depressing information. This is actually a good thing, in my opinion. I was told by everyone that the first book should sell the series. While it is important to have a solidly written first book that you are proud of don’t despair if it doesn’t sell like hotcakes. Future books can just as easily sell the series. I have picked up a book in the middle of a series and gone back to read the beginning ones.

Have you written a series? What is a lesson you learned?

About Haley Whitehall

Haley Whitehall lives in Washington State where she enjoys all four seasons and the surrounding wildlife. She writes historicals set in the 19th century U.S. When she is not researching or writing, she plays with her cats, watches the Western and History Channels, and goes antiquing. She is hoping to build a time machine so she can go in search of her prince charming. A good book, a cup of coffee, and a view of the mountains make her happy.

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