Blog by Toby Welch

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Writing a Book Series

Julie Rowe is the author of the War Girls series. She shares her thoughts on how she approaches writing a series versus writing a stand-alone title, “In a single title you have one story arc. In a series you have multiple, interconnected story arcs. One overall story arc that encompasses the entire series (no matter how many books are in it) and a story arc for each book that fits inside and advances the overall arc. The “advance” part is crucial. While the story in each book must be resolved in an emotionally satisfying way, the stakes (conflict) in the overall story arc must be increased or raised with each book. With a single title, the process is simple and straightforward. One outline, one story. With a series, the process isn’t simple or straightforward. One outline, multiple stories. For the War Girls series I wrote the first story then adjusted the outlines of the next two. I wrote the second story then adjusted the outline of the last one. Wrote the last one then went back and revised here and there in all three books to be sure they meshed well. I didn’t propose the series to my publisher until I’d written them all.”

Rowe discloses an experience she had, “A few months ago I had coffee with Nalini Singh, a New York Times bestselling author who is writing books within two different series (one of which is pushing 11 books). I asked her how she keeps all the small details straight. Her answer was an Excel spread sheet. She also said she re-reads her own books. Frequently. To sum it up, the key difference between a series and a single book is the size of the story and keeping track of the details.”