I love reading a ‘good’ paranormal series ~ books carrying plot and character threads and elements from one book to the next all the while staying true and precise in every detail and nuance. For someone who has the memory of a stick that can be a huge task. (grins)
I’ve had some help along the way, so there will be name dropping in this post as well as workshop recommendations.
Before I even made the decision of writing my first series of books, I read a number of series, the last being Mary Abshire’s Soul Catcher Series (very good books I might add that kept me hanging until Jessie’s next adventure). I suggest you find and read a good book series in the genre you write before getting started.
FIRST – The idea – does my story merit more than one book? What is the common thread or element through my series – and it isn’t always the main characters.
In my current Lycan International Investigation Agency Series (LIIA), the agency is the common thread through my series. My MC’s (Main Characters) will be sharing the stage. They also switch around for each book, stepping down and finishing their personal story or adding to it as a separate running thread in the books that follow, while a new hero and heroine takes center stage.
SECOND – Establish the paranormal. I took an awesome workshop, Writing Paranormal by Susan and Harry Squires, through Savvy Authors – www.savvyauthors.com . If you get the chance to take this workshop (which I believe was eight weeks long), do it. Even if you don’t write paranormal, their lessons really “popped” with me for laying out plot, characters, and scenes. Good instructors and authors, I might add, and constant input throughout the course.
There’s a lot to consider when developing non-human main characters. In my story, my paranormal MC’s are Lycan (werewolves), but I wanted my own unique Lycan. Yes, they have some characteristics, abilities, and society structures that are traditionally known and accepted, but with a few additional as well, a blending of their own.
A few questions I considered in my Lycan development:
* What makes them different than humans? Abilities?
* Where will they live? Community?
* How will they interact with humans? Are they a secret society?
* What is their society structure – like territorial? Hierarchy? Birthright? An Elders Council?
* How do they procreate? Do they mate for life, many partners?
* What are the laws/rules of the pack? The Alpha?
THIRD – With the idea and paranormal aspects in place, I write up my MC sketches – the hero, heroine, and villain (protagonists and antagonists). I go a little more detailed with these, greater depth, especially if there will be a number of characters by the end of the series. I don’t want every hero and heroine sounding and acting the same. I’ve developed my own set of questions.
FOURTH – Meet in the Middle Plotting, Plot Your Novel in 15 Minutes! This is something I learned by Claudia Suzanne at a The Muse On-Line Writer’s Conference – www.themuseonlinewritersconference.com .
Before I took Claudia's workshop I flew by the seat of my pants for plotting or outlining. I can’t believe how simple and fast this is and how much time it has saved me while writing…keeping me on track in the long haul.
Quick instructions from Claudia: “Number a piece of paper from one to fifteen. Write a one-line blurb of where the story begins next to number one. Then jump down to the bottom and write the ending next to number fifteen. Now go back to the top and write a blurb for what happens after the opening next to number two. Scoot down to number fourteen to write what happened just before the story ends. Continue bouncing up and down from the top of the page to the bottom and in a matter of minutes – voila! Modify this basic outline of the entire novel with additional sequences, subplots, and character plots, motivations, actions, etc. to bring the story to life.”
For complete instruction on this wonderful writing tool – go to: http://claudiasuzanne.com/Meet_Middle.pdf
For more information about Claudia Suzanne, you may connect at any of these links:
Claudia Suzanne, Ghostwriting Expert
Join her on:
FIFTH – I wrote the first book, Staring into the Eyes of Chance, which took three to four months from first draft to the finished product. When the final draft was completed, I submitted it.
SIX - I printed a copy of my book. I went through each page with a highlighter and pen, making notes of thread lines, character elements, and anything I came across I wanted to carry into my following books. This part took me days completing, but I knew it was something I must finish before beginning the second book.
And now you have it, each book would be a repeat of these steps.
There are a couple other workshops I found helpful in my character and story development that I'd like to share.
Intensifying Emotion by Lauri Sanders - I actually took this one twice, the first time through Muse Online Writer’s Conference and the second time at Savvy Authors. It’s a lot of good, intense information for romance writers…or mystery, suspense, and thriller writers; great for making strong characters.
The Dark Hero by Misa Ramirez, Tonya Kappes, and Lee Lopez - I took at Savvy Authors. I found this one helpful with creating a hero where one misstep, one moment of weakness can throw him over to the dark side as a villain. I’m striving hard to make this hero happen in my work.
Writing Erotic Romance by Louisa Bacio - another great workshop I attended through Savvy Authors. This course gave awesome direction on what it takes for writing a good love/sex scene and all the emotions, plus the events leading up to it and following it. Louisa had some good input over and above her lessons.
May I add, there are many...many great workshops at The Muse On Line Writer's Conference, held on-line every year in October (actually going on this week). It's a week-long conference and well worth your time. There are excellent instructors, and workshops for any caliber of writer. They also have publishing houses in attendance ready to take your pitch.
I’m an ever evolving writer and appreciate learning new and better ways. Do you have a different way or a tip for writing a paranormal romance series? I’d love for you to share with a comment, helping each other along the way.
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Kay Dee Royal writes paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary erotic romance—maybe because it's also her favorite genres to read! She pens tales with wild, rugged heroes and strong, intelligent heroines. She'll give them both a few shadowy secrets, making her stories intriguing and fun. She resides in Southern Michigan with her family (her dog, her cats, her caged husband... you get the idea). You can find the latest on her titles from her publisher, MuseItHot.