Writing a Series? These Links Might Help (Penny Rader)

Totally forgot today was May 31st!  On the 31st of the months I try to share links to articles I've found that might be helpful to someone out there besides just me. And since I'm trying to plan and write a series, I trolled the internet for a bit of help.

Here are a few snippets of what I found. I hope you'll see something that'll make you want to click through and read the articles I found and perhaps find something helpful for your writing process.

The Continuity Challenge (Debby Giusti)

Steeple Hill Assistant Editor Emily Rodmell was in charge of the project, and I applaud her patience in keeping us on track and ensuring each book fit into the overall vision for the series. Shortly after she invited us to take part in the continuity, Emily sent out the “bible,” a 31-page, single-spaced outline for the series. Packed with information, it included an overview of the stories as well as the major threads, settings and brief character descriptions. The continuity elements and teasers needed in each book were part of the bible, as well.

Creating a “Series Bible” (Dame Jenna)

My preference is to work on my Series Bible when I’m in the proof-reading stage of a manuscript’s life cycle.  …  On a table right beside me are a handful of worksheets that are what I need to later create my “formal” Series Bible. The worksheets I have are: Recurring Places, Major Characters, Minor Characters (these being the “mentioned once and never heard from again” set, and Recurring Characters (these being secondary/minor characters who I know for sure are going to appear again). … As I read through the proofs, I jot down notes on my worksheets.

Easy Tips For Creating a Book or Series Bible (Angelique Armae)

…steps to creating a “Book Bible’ – a binder for keeping track of important threads that weave your work into a marvelous book

1. Gather supplies
2. Included contents

  • Characters
  • World
  • Clothing/Accessories
  • Research
  • Glossary

How to Write the First Book of a Series (H.V. Long)

H.V. discusses:
Planned versus Unplanned Series
Questions to Answer for Any Series
Series Bible
Types of Series

 Kate Douglas on Ending a Series

On ending a series:  It doesn’t kill the characters, but it can be hell on authors.

The Series Bible (Nathan Bransford)

The Series Bible is a lifesaver when your brain has reached capacity.
Worlds/Planets/Lands/Classrooms, etc.
Rules of Law
Any backstory that happens off the page
Inventions/Special Powers
Anything else you need to remember forever

Series Business – Three Types of Series (Misty Evans)


Tips for Building a Series (Mima)

 In this post, I’m going to give you some tips, but these are tips directed at creating a very particular kind of series: a dynamic one. This is my mantra: Thou Shalt Not Be Repetitive. Here’s my recipe: It’s two parts common sense, one part restraint, and one part layering.

Why the Word "SERIES" Should Be on Every Writer's Tongue... And How to Get There With Minimal Blood Loss! (Tina Radcliffe)

1. Find a series-oriented author you love
2. Copy them (not blatantly)
3. Don’t box yourself in


Have any tips you care to share?  What works or doesn't work for you?

P.S.  I apologize for the odd formatting.  Blogger seems to have it in for me.


Rose Anderson said...

Great post. I use MS Office One Note to keep track of "bible" pages. It helps.
Best luck,


Rox Delaney said...

I'm going to bookmark them all. :)

The eighth book in my (Harlequin American) series, set in Desperation, OK, became available today, but I can honestly say I hadn't planned a series. Two connected books, yes. But a series? Not hardly.

I had to find my own way to keep track of everything, and it's worked pretty well. Each book has its own notebook for notes, character profiles, a calendar created just for that story, a list of major characters (and children), and a list of all characters on scene and/or mentioned. Oh, and photos and house plans, so I can move them around. There's also one extra notebook where I keep duplicates those lists and an ongoing calendar, so I can drag out only one when needed, instead of seven.

It's worked well. No bible, because I hadn't planned for this to happen. But I have friends who have written many books for continuities, so I'm familiar with them, if ever needed.

Would I ever do another series? In a heartbeat. Why? Because it's fun and readers love them. In fact, I have four different series in mind right now, although not all for HAR. ;)

My editor now has the proposal for books 9 & 10, because I want to wrap up things before going on to something new. Whether those see the light of day--or the printing press--or not, depends on if she likes them better than others I've sent. Time will tell.

Still, I'm ALWAYS open for new ideas to help with just about anything. My patched-together-as I-went way currently works well, but it's also seen major tweaks over the past 5 years.

Thanks, Penny! I always love your end-of-the-month links. ☺

Penny Rader said...

I haven't used One Note, Rose. How does it work?

Penny Rader said...

Rox, congrats on your new release. I will look for it the next time I am out. Thanks so much for sharing your method. I can't wait to read your future series.

Melissa Robbins said...

These are great, Penny.

Joan Vincent said...

Great links Penny. I wish I had started a series Bible for the Honour series. I attended a session on creating one at RT and you've covered all that and more!

Penny Rader said...

Just came across another article on this subject: 7 Ways to Write a Stand-Alone Book (with Series Potential) by Brian Clems

Penny Rader said...

Here's another one: Tips for a Series Bible by Jemi Frazier

Penny Rader said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Penny Rader said...

Thanks, Melissa. I wish you all the best with your series.

Penny Rader said...

Joan, if you're continuing with your series, it's not too late to create a series bible. I know your time is kind of tied up right now, but perhaps you could find a volunteer or two to help you out.