Updated: Feb 27
Today, I'm happy to have Maria DeVivo, author of the DAWN OF THE BLOOD WITCH series give us some advice on how to write a series. Maria has extensive experience in writing series, such as the bestselling and award-winning series THE COAL ELF CHRONICLES, the YA psychological horror series THE ALTERED EXPERIENCE, and the NA Urban Fantasy series THE AESTRANGEL TRINITY. Thank you, Maria and Bewitching Book Tours for this guest post!
How to Write a Series: Some tips and tricks
Writing is hard. Writing a series is harder. There are many working parts that go into writing series. I only operate at the “series” level because there’s always too much in my head that would never fill just one novel. All of my works have been trilogies (The Coal Elf Chronicles, The Altered Experience, The Aestrangel Trinity) and I am currently working on a 10 book saga that is so expansive that it’s sometimes hard to keep track of everything. So here is my top 5 list of how to flesh everything out.
Know Your Characters: When writing a series, you will need to create a cast of characters that readers can follow through the entire series. Be sure to give each character unique traits and qualities that will make them stand out. I always say that it all boils down to character. There could be the best story, the best world, the best concept, but if the characters are not “real” or at least “relatable,” it will fall flat for me. Realistic and believable dialog is KEY! Listen to how people speak. That’s a good place to start.
Establish a Story Arc: Establishing a story arc is important when writing a series. This will give each book a beginning, middle, and end that will carry throughout the entire series. On a side-note: I actually go so far as to structure the beats of every chapter in terms of “3’s” (maybe because I’m slightly obsessed with trilogies). Each of my chapters has a beginning, middle, and end – as does each book, and the overall series.
Create a World: When writing a series, it’s important to create a world that readers can immerse themselves in and become familiar with. This will help readers to become invested in the characters and storyline. I often find when you add realistic elements, it grounds the reader and gives them a better connection to your story. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing fantasy, either. World-building is crucial. Make sure if you’re writing fantasy that you define and create the rules of how the world works. Things need to make sense even when they don’t.
Stay Consistent: Consistency is key when writing a series. Make sure to keep track of details such as characters, plot points, and settings, so that you don’t confuse readers or contradict yourself in future books. Things like physical descriptions and character personalities are key. You don’t want a character to say or do something that is completely ‘unlike’ them in the last novel, nor do you want to talk about Sallie’s blue eyes in book one only to become green by the end!
Build Suspense: Suspense is essential in any book series. Be sure to keep readers engaged by creating cliffhangers, plot twists, and unanswered questions that will keep readers wanting more. Typically, in the case of a trilogy, the end of the second book serves as the “cliffhanger” moment, but you should still have “edge of your seat” moments from chapter to chapter.
Thank you Maria for this wonderful advice. We can't wait to get started on our own series! Maria's new series DAWN OF THE BLACK WITCH is available now. Find all the details and links below.