Are You Writing A Series? Avoid These Common Mistakes

By on December 2, 2016

Writing a fiction series is an exciting venture for any writer to undertake. However, it is not a straightforward task and to get it right requires a great deal of foresight and careful planning. Perhaps even more so than a single novel, writing a fiction series requires you to research and plan your stories, as well as remember every detail about characters, their actions and the histories to keep your stories consistent.

It is no wonder that is is easy to make mistakes when writing a fiction series. Here are 5 of the most common ones to avoid.
You are inconsistent

When a character in a previous novel is broken hearted and swears never to be involved in another relationship again, but then in the next one falls head over heels quite quickly and never mentions or thinks about their ex or unrequited love ever again, readers will pick up on this. It is so easy to get lost in each story that you forget details of previous ones that contradict what is currently happening. Knowing your characters inside out is crucial when it comes to writing a fiction series, as well as keeping a record of everything they say and do. Having an eagle eye when it comes to editing will help pull out anything that doesn’t fit well with your characters due to their actions in previous books. However, the best way to avoid this is by planning your series in advance. If you have all your stories plotted from the outset, then you are far less likely to fall into this trap.

2. You change the premise of the story

Whatever you establish in the first book of the series has to stick throughout. If a ghost character can only be seen by people with a ‘gift’ in book one, they can’t suddenly be seen by everyone they reveal themselves to in book two. Sometimes authors can write themselves into a corner where their story just won’t work if they don’t change something already previously established. This is why careful and thorough plotting is absolutely crucial in or order to make your series work.

3. You can’t keep up with the technical details

Every writer wants to build an exciting and unique world as the setting for their stories. This is true in every book, though particularly so in science fiction or fantasy books. Not only remembering but also keeping up with the evolving details of the world you create can be tricky. This is also true of more practical things such as street and house names, business names, or even details such as your characters age can change from book to book if you don’t pay attention. Again these are things readers will pick up on so it is all about being thorough and continuously checking and cross checking your story that will make all the difference - and your readers will appreciate it too.

4. You have problems with continuity

Writing a fiction series requires you to ensure that your story flows from one book to the next. If you aren't careful, you can find that your characters celebrate Christmas twice in 6 months or that summer turns to winter with no autumn. Creating a timeline to refer to can be helpful with this. Note significant events that take place throughout your stories, and you’ll be far less likely to make continuity errors.

5. You forget to resolve particular threads of your story

Your last book left your readers on a cliffhanger waiting to find out what the ending to the story of a particular character is. When they get to the next one that story is all but forgotten or simply resolved with no specific explanation. Remember to end and explain everything that happens, leaving too many unanswered questions will make your readers feel short-changed, and they’ll be so much less likely to buy your next book.

Writing a fiction series is all about being thorough and consistent. If you can do this, you’ll keep your readers from losing interest and be far more able to craft an engaging, engrossing set of novels.

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