Blog by Toby Welch

<< back to article list

A Writer on Penning a Book Series

Anthony Bidulka has created two series - one follows the cases of Private Detective Russell Quant and the other details the adventures of Disaster Recovery Agent Adam Saint. Bidulka details the intricacies of writing series books, “In terms of writing series versus stand alones, I think there is a difference in terms of initial planning. When I began writing the Russell Quant series, and now as I prepare to launch the new Adam Saint series, I spent a lot of time preparing/developing the lives of the characters I was introducing, and the world they will live in. I then considered how they might fare beyond the first book. I thought about whether these are characters who can sustain long term interest and enjoyment from both the perspective of me as a writer and for my readers. ”

Bidulka continues, “All that being said, I believe it is of utmost importance to balance thoughts of future books with ensuring that I am giving all I’ve got to the book I’m writing right now. I don’t want to feel as if I’m withholding plot or character development or clever ideas with the plan that I’ll put it in the next one. I always try to write as if the book I’m currently working on might be the last one, so it should be the best one; if I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity to write another, I’ll do the same next time.”

“Once my initial planning for a new book is done, and I feel I’ve created a great story to work with, I then may consider planting seeds for development in future books. Especially with the early Russell Quant books, I did this quite often. A careful reader could look back at the first books in the series and find hints and clues, foreshadowing for themes or character development that only come to fruition later in the series. None of these seeds took anything away from the book in which they were planted.”

Bidulka leaves us with a final thought, “I can’t stress enough the idea of getting to know your characters extremely well while you are creating them for a potential series. You may end up spending years of your life with them. This doesn’t mean you need to like the character - sometimes quite the opposite - only that you find them interesting or challenging or entertaining, that they fulfill a longtime purpose in your storyline. There is nothing worse than a dull character - for both the reader and the writer. Or a character who does not fulfill a long-term purpose in the universe you’ve created.”