Author Topic: Any Series writers out there?  (Read 21172 times)

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Offline Vijaya

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #30 on: June 19, 2004, 07:44 PM »
Thank you, Linda, for reminding me about reading.  I do.  But I'm light years behind.  Not having grown up in this country, I am discovering the amazing wealth of children's literature in the US.  Slowly, steadily, happily.
Vijaya -- who should have read the entire thread before posting her opinions and questions.
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Offline Alison

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #31 on: June 26, 2004, 05:07 PM »
I've had an idea for years for a series I want to write. But I didn't have any characters for it until recently.... I finally came up with a great character a couple of months ago, & may have come up with another yesterday, in addition to vague ideas for several other characters. But I'm still stuck on so many other elements of starting a series: at what point to start, whether each book should be told be the same character or different characters, whether each book should have one POV or multiple POVs, the general timeline for each book (how much time it should cover), etc. What I really have is a setting with a group of kids, but there are so many stories that could be set in this environment that I'm not at all sure how to approach it, and especially how to approach the very first book. And also how many characters one can reasonably follow. But since I have many other projects to finish before I can start this one, these questions are all kind of on the backburner for me now. (But I'd still welcome any discussion on it!)
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Offline Pam

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #32 on: June 27, 2004, 10:54 AM »
Gosh, Alison!  Those are A LOT of questions!  Tee hee!

For me, I start off with the characters, plot, and setting, plus something that sets it apart from what's already out there in the market.  So, thoughts on different characters or POV shifts never came into play.  I have other ideas for another series, too, but they are with specific characters in mind.  I'd start with the characters and write the first story--others would follow.  For chapter books, first person is more natural and kid friendly for the genre. But you may be thinking of mg novel series?  Fantasy maybe? 
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Offline Alison

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #33 on: June 27, 2004, 01:11 PM »
Pam, I am thinking of a MG series, but not fantasy. Let's take an example like The Babysitter's Club, though I have to admit I haven't read any of that series! But I do know there are several girls in the club, so my question when starting a series like that, would be whether to have one character's story in the first book, then another girl's story in the second, etc., and switch around like that, or whether to somehow include all of them in each book, or what. And while most series probably show a different episode in each book, a few show the same episode from the perspectives of different characters (at least one series I know of, anyway, called The Ring or something, where there are 4 books each showing the same day of school from a different friend's POV).

I also know of a couple of series about teen music groups, so if writing a series along those lines, I'd wonder whether to start with the formation of the music group and how each kid came to be in it in the first place, or start with it already formed. One of my problems is that I suspect my series should have alternating protagonists, with one main protagonist/POV character per book, instead of just having a series of books about the same character (like Junie B. Jones or whatever). But if I do that, it might feel weird if the first book is about how my group of kids comes together, but it's only told from the POV of one character, who wouldn't even be that important in later books from the other kids' POVs... Or, maybe I could have the first book tell the story from multiple POVs but then follow only one main character per book in the rest...? So, now you see why I haven't started this yet!  ;)
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Offline Jen

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #34 on: June 27, 2004, 01:46 PM »
I'd say whether or not to have multiple  POV's depends on how many characters you have that you really love and know... I've written/am writing several series... three are from a single point of view across all books.  One has alternating POV's, but this was primarily because each of the books was very obviously one of the character's stories, a different character each time.  It's really possible, though, to sustain a series with just one first person POV across all of the books.  The FEARLESS series did this, I think, and many others have as well. 

Offline Verla Kay

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #35 on: June 27, 2004, 08:46 PM »
Linda Joy's Regeneration series is about five kids.  She has them all in all the books (except one kid that the rest of the kids are trying to find in the first book or two?  It's been a long time since I've read them and they're all in storage.  Sigh....) But each book is from the viewpoint of a different kid, even though they are all in each book.  That way, you stay close to each character, and you get to know one of them much better in each book. It worked well enough to even keep my HUSBAND reading them -- and he almost NEVER reads novels.
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Offline Pam

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #36 on: June 28, 2004, 07:45 AM »
Ah, I see, Alison--

Animorphs series does this.  It has different characters for each book in the series.  So does Babysitters Club but it will focus on one girl with each book.  (We have them lying around here but I tried to read one and had to put it down...)  It would probably be good to read a few series that you think would help you make your decision.  I've read a bunch of my favorite series when I was preparing to write one.  L. J.'s Regeneration series might be good for you to look at--you can get them from amazon--she also has a sixth one in e-book form.  They run from $0.25 to $1.25--a great investment for you!  Here's the first one and you can get the other ones, too:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/042517302X/ref=lpr_g_1/104-5532620-2826347?v=glance&s=books

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Offline Hannah

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #37 on: August 18, 2004, 09:53 AM »
Wow, this is such a cool topic.  I remember seeing my sister the ghost at the library when I was younger, but I think by the time I noticed it, I was too old to read it.  But it's funny that so many o fyou mention writing for Sweet Valley, because that means I've probably read all of your books.  lol.  funny, funny.  I love this board.
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Offline LindaJoy

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #38 on: August 18, 2004, 01:23 PM »
Spicy--Glad you're enjoying this topic! 

The Sweet Valley Twin I wrote was #59, BARNYARD BATTLE.  I had three editors back then and one of them is now a hugely successful YA author, Ann Brashares (SISTERHOOD OF TRAVELING PANTS). 

I'm happy to write my own series and am working on #3 for STRANGE ENCOUNTERS.  LJS www.LindaJoySingleton.com
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Offline Hannah

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #39 on: August 18, 2004, 01:50 PM »
Aha!  I have read some of your books, Linda Joy!  I used to love Almost Twins and I read it lots of times!!

And now I remember why My Sister, the Ghost sounded so familiar.  Because I loved that series, did in fact read it, and was mad when my library didn't seem to be acquiring any new topics.

But that's enough of me straying off topic.  Just wanted to shout out!  lol.  I'm planning out a series, too, but it's coming slowly, because right now I'm working on a book with Charise Harper.  sort of.
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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #40 on: November 09, 2005, 02:12 PM »
I love series books, and I'm starting book II of my own yet-to-be-published book, SWAMP SPELLS.
Kelsey
« Last Edit: April 28, 2006, 09:32 AM by Kelsey »

Offline LindaJoy

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #41 on: November 09, 2005, 06:29 PM »
Great title, Kelsey!  Good luck with your books! 
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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #42 on: November 10, 2005, 03:30 AM »
Last year when we did Finish Your Book Month here, I wrote a book about psychic teenagers fighting a force of darkness. I shared it with a few of my special education students (I was working as a teacher's aide) and it inspired two of them to write their own "sequels", which earned them language arts grades. They told me if they were writing sequels, I had to write one too. Next thing I knew, my one book had grown to a series of ten, and the ten was an arbitrarily enforced limit because I didn't want to spend the rest of my life writing about those characters. Guess what. I'm now on book 8 of a related series. (Different characters, same overall concept. Actually the characters are the teenage versions of the parents of a couple of characters in the original series.) A publisher requested the manuscript of the first book in the original series, after one of my beta readers rather sneakily sent a query on my behalf, and I'm waiting to hear back from them.

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #43 on: November 10, 2005, 08:57 PM »
Wow, Kim, thank that beta reader! :D
Kelsey

P.S. Thanks, Linda! :D

Carole

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #44 on: January 15, 2006, 04:30 PM »
Questions for Linda Joy, Jeff, and Verla

I have a series and was ready to submit, until I read this thread.  Now I have questions about my query.  I'm submitting the first three books as a series, because they are and they're all ready to go.  They are a combination of what each of you said "constitutes" a series.   I even have an overall arch -- I know where Karah will be in the end, what she's doing in the last line of the final page of the final book in my series, and what she says (writes down).  It's what was intended all along - her destiny and why all the things happened to her that brought her to where she rests in the end.  Karah's life was for a reason.  That's what kids find out - that it was all for a reason - the good with the bad.  It's a huge lesson to them - that everything happens for a reason. 

But that information is NOT in my query  Should it be?  I now think I could miss out on being successful with an Agent because I'm omitting a huge "wow-factor"  I thought I just had to tell them what each book is about.  After reading your comments, I realize that they should know where I"m going with her and why.   They probably don't care if I have an overall arch.  It's not required.  So no harm no fowl.  Right?  I'm thinking WRONG!  My overall arch could be the one piece of compelling info that would draw them in.  I guess, I'm answering my question as I continue to write this post.  So, now I'm asking for confirmation.  You know what it takes keep a query to one page - blood, sweat, and lots of frustration.  It's even harder when your having to get info about three books and character development and evolution into one query.  Now I have to find room to add info about the arch.  I already did something I'm not supposed to -- changed the font size to 11 to get it all to fit.  Here's another question.  In your opinion, would it be OK for my query to be longer . . . say 1.5 pages because it is about three books and contains necessary front and back series plot information and now ARCH info?  :girl     :EmoticonHelp2:

Thank you in advance for your time and assistance.
Carole

Offline Verla Kay

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #45 on: January 21, 2006, 09:28 AM »
You might want to make your query just one page long, then add four more pages, three of them for a summary of each individual book that is already done, and the fourth page for a listing of future book titles and a one-liner about what each book will be about.  Your query could talk about the over-all theme, story line, story arch, etc.

But wait until Linda Joy chimes in on this.  She's the expert on series books.  I do know some of her series proposals have been as long as 15 pages long (or more.) 
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Offline LindaJoy

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #46 on: January 21, 2006, 06:39 PM »
I've already shared an email with Carole. 

And Kim--that's so great!  Can't wait to hear more!  LJS
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Offline G.R.

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #47 on: April 02, 2006, 02:19 PM »
I know Lyra writes a couple of series for Llewellyn and that Jeff is working with WotC for Dragonlance... any other series writers out there?  If I could do anything, it would be MG and YA series, but since that's a pretty daunting place to start, I'm taking it one step at a time.

Still... I love series books... even as a kid, I was the series kind of girl.  
I grew up reading everything from the Berenstein Bears and the Boxcar Children, to the Babysitters' Club and the  Sweet Valley High series.

Being new, I am sure I will have more questions than any one person would care to answer, but I guess we all have to start somewhere. I am obviously new to this and have posted in the introductory thread under "Writing" if you would like to know more about my background.

Here is my dilemma: (background) My dad and I have been working on a series of short stories in the style of the Curious George and Clifford The Big Red Dog books. Like those series, this one centers around an animal who has a series of misadventures.

The way we've been going about it, though, the animal isn't the only focus; we also work on developing the family that owns him. We shift points of view between the animal, the family members, and other characters.

This series of short stories could be turned into one large book with a little additional work, or split up into three shorter books about four chapters long each, but were actually written as 10 individual stand-alone stories.

I'm wondering what would be the best approach -- although I must say we prefer the stories as stand-alone tales (as I said, similar to the Curious George and Clifford series).
« Last Edit: April 02, 2006, 08:31 PM by G.R. »
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Offline LindaJoy

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #48 on: April 03, 2006, 06:24 PM »
Stand-alones are probably the best way to go.  But some books, like some of Beverly Cleary's, have episodic chapters where each chapter is like a short story.  I'm not sure this style of writing is something editors want, but the Newbery Honor by Richard Peck (A Long Way From Chicago) was also written in chapters that were each short stories that built up to tell one big story.

Study the books you like to read and note which publishers write your favorite books.  Then study the Children's Writers and Illustrator's Market for submission guidelines.  Good luck!
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Offline G.R.

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #49 on: April 04, 2006, 07:59 PM »
Quote
Stand-alones are probably the best way to go.

 :yup All right.

Quote
Study the books you like to read and note which publishers write your favorite books.  Then study the Children's Writers and Illustrator's Market for submission guidelines.  Good luck!
Thank you! :)

Earlier today, the two of us actually talked about going to the library sometime next week and looking at some additional children's books. And we already have our own copy of the 2006 Children's Writers and Illustrator's Market (which is where I found out about this site).

« Last Edit: April 04, 2006, 08:05 PM by G.R. »
"This is your life and you be what you want to be.
Just don't hurt nobody, 'less of course they ask you."

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Offline missy t

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #50 on: April 05, 2006, 01:56 PM »
i sometimes wonder why editors are so leery of writers mentioning that the manuscript they're subbing is the first in a series.  as a kid, i liked series books and back then (and even now!) after i finish a book, i often wonder what will happen to the characters next and wish the author would write something else about those same characters (not necessarily continuing the story from the first book, but just letting us hang out with the characters again).  do you think it's because of financial reasons that publishers prefer (or at least say they prefer) standalones?

Offline C.K.

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #51 on: April 05, 2006, 01:58 PM »
A few years ago an English agent told me that many British publishers had recently gotten burned making deals for series. I guess they want to wait and see how the first book does before jumping in with both feet.
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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #52 on: April 17, 2006, 12:40 PM »
I'm a series author!  :dancing: It was pitched as YA, but Dutton wants to release it as MG.

Offline LindaJoy

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #53 on: April 20, 2006, 08:22 PM »
So tell us about your series, Heather?  How many books will you have in your series?  Is it fantasy? Mystery? Contemporary?

Congrats on the sale!!!
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Christine Norris

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #54 on: June 12, 2006, 05:59 AM »
I'm in the middle of writing a series. The first book is scheduled to come out next year, and the second is going through it's last round of polish before the publisher gets it. I picture another three books, maybe four. The main theme is that there is a big underground library, and some very special books that hide mythical items. Getting into the books is the biggest challenge - the first two were easy to do, the third I have a good idea what's going to drive them in again.
There's also going to be a subplot, that's just emerging in the second book and will make a bigger appearance in book 3. By the last book it's going to be a Lara Croft meets The DaVinci Code kind of deal. At least that's what's in my head right now,.

I love writing series, because I like being able to revist characters that I already know pretty well.

HeatherBrewer

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #55 on: September 01, 2006, 09:26 AM »
So tell us about your series, Heather?  How many books will you have in your series?  Is it fantasy? Mystery? Contemporary?

Congrats on the sale!!!

Thanks! (Oh geez, how did I miss this for so long?? :eh:) My series is called "The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod", with the first book titled "Eighth Grade Bites". It's about a teenage vampire that has to keep his secret (that he's a vampire) from everyone but his aunt and his best friend. But then, of course, bad, bad things happen and someone learns Vlad's secret....not to mention he's failing Math.

The first book is due out August 2007 from Dutton/Penguin!

Offline jgurtler

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #56 on: September 01, 2006, 12:45 PM »

Sounds like a great book!

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HeatherBrewer

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #57 on: September 01, 2006, 06:06 PM »
Sounds like a great book!

Janet G

Thanks, Janet!

Offline JustinDono

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #58 on: February 11, 2007, 12:02 PM »
I'm writing a short series of books (four).  Unconventional epic fantasy for middlegrade/YA crowd.  Starts off relatively child-like and "matures" as it goes on and the characters age.  The books cannot stand alone.  maybe the first one could, but the next volumes rely on information found in previous ones.  Unlike some short series books, none of mine have any "To be continued" type endings.  each book has a beginning, middle, and end.  I've read some books where they leave off at a cliff hanger and i think that's kind of cheap, unless you're working on a serial. 

Offline Jen

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Re: Any Series writers out there?
« Reply #59 on: February 11, 2007, 12:34 PM »
Wow.  I keep stumbling across threads that I started over three years ago- so much has changed!  I'm so grateful to have had this board all of this time.  And now I can actually partake of the giving of advice, since I'm writing series for Delacorte.  Anyway, I recently blogged about my experience writing sequels (and how different writing sequels to three different books in three different kinds of series have been) here:

http://jenlyn-b.livejournal.com/100588.html

... and thought it might be food for thought!