Thursday, April 16, 2015

Writing An Entire Series At Once, Or Am I Nuts For Doing This

Guest post by Jennifer Allis Provost...

A funny thing happened during NaNoWriMo 2014; okay, a few funny things happened.

Like many writers around the world, I look forward to participating in NaNo every November. (Don’t know what NaNoWriMo is? Learn more here.) In the past I’ve banged out full-length epic fantasies and short stories featuring everything from zombies to homicidal horses. I didn’t do anything like that for NaNo 2014.

I wrote a series.

Okay, so I didn’t finish the entire series by November 30. But I did finish book one, working title Changing Teams, in 19 days. In the remaining eleven I outlined the next three books and wrote a tie-in short story. Yeah, this series was happening in a big way.

I plunged ahead into book two, but when I was halfway in I decided it should be book three. Then I switched the protagonists for books two and four and added some backstory to book three, which meant that I needed to make some changes to book one. In essence, I was writing the entire series at once.

This was uncharted territory for me. I’ve written three series in the past—one epic fantasy, two urban fantasies—and I’ve always followed the same formula:

1.     Write book one (meaning the whole process including beta reading, editing, etc.)
2.     Check out the market, determine which agents and publishers are buying works similar to mine
3.     Write query letters, synopses, and submit away
4.     Commence nail biting
5.     If book one is picked up, consider series potential

This time around, instead of waiting for an agent or publisher to express interest in book one, I’ll have the entire series in my back pocket. If someone asks, “Hey, is there a sequel?” I can shoot it right over. If I decide to forgo traditional publishing and self-publish, I can release each title a month or two apart, and capitalize on series momentum. And, probably the best thing about writing the whole series at once is that I get to put in those little Easter eggs that fans love to find, and smooth out plot holes along the way.

Is writing an entire series simultaneously hard? You bet it is. But it’s a relatively simple trick from which I’m already reaping awards.

Bio: I'm Jennifer Allis Provost. I write books about faeries, orcs and elves. Zombies too. My latest release is Copper Ravens, book two of the Copper Legacy, in June 2014 from Spence City. Look for my next release, the epic fantasy Heir to the Sun, June 1 2015.
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