Ask A Wench: Writing a Series

Accweddingsmll Anne here with this month's Ask A Wench question, which is from Cynthia Owens (who wins a copy of my Accidental Wedding for her question.)

Cynthia said: 
I'm wondering about authors who write a series of books. Do they have all the stories and characters mapped out in advance? What about the characters' back stories? I would think it would be very difficult sometimes to keep all the potential heroes straight.

Patricia Rice said: See me laughing hysterically! Map out? Moi? RiceAdo

I started the Magic series with two strong characters I knew intimately. I knew they had families with similar idiosyncrasies–the women had psychic gifts and the men were logical. Does that constitute mapping out?

Personalities developed as I wrote. Back story wove itself from their personalities. And at some point I had to start keep tracking of what I'd said about whom and when. Each hero developed full-fledged characters and stories when I wrote their books, using the pieces I'd hinted at earlier. That's about all the planning my pea brain allows!

Magpie Cara Elliott said: Map out characters and stories in advance? The very thought sends shivers of horror quaking down my fingertips. The pencil slips . . . the keyboard slides . . . the page and screen ripple with an ominous blankness . . .

In all seriousness, I am one of those authors who writes in what I call the “magpie” style-that is, I see these lovely, shiny little bits of ideas and madly gather them up. Then once I have them lined up in my nest, I have to decide how to turn them into more than gaudy little baubles! 

I usually have a very specific opening scene in mind (the bauble) And then work out a vague concept of the whole story and what motivates the hero and heroine. From there  . . . well, things just happen. And for me that's part of the magic of creating stories. The plot and the characters take shape as I go along.  When I do a series, (and I've only done trilogies) I will decide on the three main characters and the hero/heroine's  “match” for the first story. The second and third story is usually not even an idea yet, as I need to wait and see how the secondary characters grow, and what personalities they develop.
CaraRogue
Seriously, I really don't know who they are until they start doing things on the page. They often surprise me. I've had a very minor character step up and turn out to be the hero of a future book when I never imagined he would play more than a bit part. But as I said, that's the fun for me. My brain simply doesn't work in a way where I can carefully draft out a whole book or-heaven forbid-a whole series. My editor knows by now that my rough outlines are done more for mirth than for any useful information.

PutneyLady Mary Jo Putney said this:
There may be writers who have everything mapped out in advance, but I'm not one of them.  <G>  Generally I start with a defined group, but interesting characters wonder on the stage and I don't want to let them go.  

For example, in my last book (Never Less Than a Lady) I wanted my heroine to meet a man she'd met before, Will Masterson, but Will was an army officer in Spain and she wasn't likely to run into him in Edinburgh.  So I invented a much less respectable and far less legitimate half-brother to startle Julia.  I liked him so much that he's the hero of my next book, Nowhere Near Respectable.  

This happens to me regularly. So far, I haven't had much trouble keeping my characters straight since to me, they're very real and very distinct.  But someday I might hit the tipping point and have to start some more organized way of keeping track! 

Nicola Cornick said:I'm getting better at planning a series in advance but I'm still not exactly organised! When I first started writing it wasn't unknown that I would write a stand alone book and only when it was finished would I decide I'd like to write a story for the secondary characters. My editor got pretty fed up with that.

Cornicktrilogy
 These days I do at least start off with a group of characters and a theme that binds them all together. For my Scandalous Women of the Ton series I knew who the first three heroines would be and I knew that the series was all about women who did not fit the mores of the time, whether it was because they travelled or worked for a living or had five husbands! But I'm never going to be the sort of writer who has it all planned in advance, and to be honest I enjoy it when characters develop and demand their own story, and when new ideas come along and I go off at a tangent!

Jo Beverley said:  Like Mary Jo, I don't plot out a series. Heck, I barely plot out a book! I've done series from the beginning, however. I adored Georgette Heyer and re-read her books all the time, and it frustrated me that there are so few links between the books. These people were moving in a small world and should know one another. JoBevArranged

So, in my first books, the traditional Regencies, I wove from story to story with fairly loose connections. 
This instinct (or is it an addiction?) goes back, because when writing my first Company of Rogues book in 1977  I created a group of friends for Nicholas because he needed them. But almost immediately realized I could write stories about the rest. That took another decade because of kids and life stuff like that, and completing the main series took another 15 years or more. Those original guys are some of my oldest friends.
C5276w Lord Wraybourne's Betrothed hardcover front cover
A few years after publishing the first Rogues book, my Georgian family series came to live in my head, based on a more traditional form — a family. Having a perverse streak, I kicked the norm by starting with the youngest and saving the oldest, Rothgar, for last.
As for keeping track, Heyer had more sense than me. It's hard work, especially with so many books in each World. I'm going to write more about this whole subject in my Friday blog.

Joanna Bourne said: What's written in the pages of any book is only part of the whole story.  There's worlds of delving and spinning, working and loving going on outside the scenes that land in Chapters One to Thirty-two.  I think we all feel these stories buzzing and nudging at the edges of books, begging to be told. JoBourneForbidden

It happens like this . . .  I'll be writing along and I get interested in a minor character.  What shapes him?  What's his family?  What happens to him after the Happily Ever After?

Before you can say 'sequel bait', I start seeing the secondary character doing absolutely fascinating stuff.  And it's pop goes the weasel and there's the next manuscript.

I didn't actually plan to write a series.  I sort of fell into it.

 
Anne here again. Fascinating how similar we are, isn't it? However, there is no one way to approach a series; some writers I know of do plot out a series with spreadsheets and all manner of tracking devices. We just aren't them.

My first editor at Mills and Boon wasn't interested in me writing series, even though some minor characters called to me, but when I sold The Perfect Rake to Berkley, my editor there simply assumed it was the first book in a series. That hadn't even occurred to me, so like Joanna, I fell into it.

Perfect Rake However even though I now try to plan out a series, I'm not good at keeping to the plan— so far I've written a four book trilogy, and a five book quartet, which (fingers crossed) might even run to six books.

The Accidental Wedding wasn't supposed to be part of the series I'm currently writing. The story just came to me, and it wasn't about the hero I'd planned to write about next, but a brother of one of the four, who was supposed to be a minor character. Luckily my editor liked the sound of it and gave me the go-ahead to write it.

It's not hard to keep the heroes straight because they all have different characters and different stories when they first come to me. For me, a harder thing is finding them the right heroine. And to have the heroes-in-waiting not upstaging the hero of the current book. 

As for backstory, etc, a character springs to life in my mind (often quite insistently) and a story starts spinning, and I find myself asking questions about who s/he is and why does s/he think like that. Asking myself the right questions reveals more and more about them. It's a bit like archeology — it's all there, somewhere in my brain, but I discover it in the writing.

So there you are, probably more than you wanted to know about how we wenches approach the writing of a series. Thanks to all who contributed their thoughts.

My question to you is, what do you like best (or least) about series, and do you have any special favorites? What's a series book that hasn't been written that you would love to see written? (I want Eric's story from Elizabeth Lowell – and yes I know she wrote about his descendant but it's not the same!)

150 thoughts on “Ask A Wench: Writing a Series”

  1. If I’m honest, my preference is for standalones; I think often they are stronger books. It must be difficult to make each book in a series equally engaging, and I often feel that one book will be a standout and the others anywhere from somewhat less interesting to outright meh.
    What I hate about series books is that by the time Book 3 comes out I have pretty much forgotten who was who and who did what from Books 1 and 2 and I don’t want to take the time to go back & reread them.
    Another thing I hate about series books is that characters from Books 1 – 5 will be shoehorned into Book 6 in some sort of Big Reunion. They won’t have any story reason for being there — they’re just there to tell the reader that they now have X number of children yet they still have the hots for each other. I have read comments from readers who just love that sort of thing, but I find it tremendously boring, particularly because, as I said, by that time I’ve forgotten a lot about them, and also because in the subsequent books they’re seen from the outside, whereas in their own books they were seen from the inside, and so they don’t even seem to be the same people as they were in their own books, which I don’t remember in detail anyway. So to me the Big Reunion is a waste of pages that could be better used telling the present story.
    I understand that publishers love series as they’re pre-sold; avid readers will want to buy the whole series and read it in order. I wish we could go back to the days of Georgette Heyer, Paula Allardyce, Elsie Lee, et al, who did not do series books and therefore each book was its own little polished gem.

    Reply
  2. If I’m honest, my preference is for standalones; I think often they are stronger books. It must be difficult to make each book in a series equally engaging, and I often feel that one book will be a standout and the others anywhere from somewhat less interesting to outright meh.
    What I hate about series books is that by the time Book 3 comes out I have pretty much forgotten who was who and who did what from Books 1 and 2 and I don’t want to take the time to go back & reread them.
    Another thing I hate about series books is that characters from Books 1 – 5 will be shoehorned into Book 6 in some sort of Big Reunion. They won’t have any story reason for being there — they’re just there to tell the reader that they now have X number of children yet they still have the hots for each other. I have read comments from readers who just love that sort of thing, but I find it tremendously boring, particularly because, as I said, by that time I’ve forgotten a lot about them, and also because in the subsequent books they’re seen from the outside, whereas in their own books they were seen from the inside, and so they don’t even seem to be the same people as they were in their own books, which I don’t remember in detail anyway. So to me the Big Reunion is a waste of pages that could be better used telling the present story.
    I understand that publishers love series as they’re pre-sold; avid readers will want to buy the whole series and read it in order. I wish we could go back to the days of Georgette Heyer, Paula Allardyce, Elsie Lee, et al, who did not do series books and therefore each book was its own little polished gem.

    Reply
  3. If I’m honest, my preference is for standalones; I think often they are stronger books. It must be difficult to make each book in a series equally engaging, and I often feel that one book will be a standout and the others anywhere from somewhat less interesting to outright meh.
    What I hate about series books is that by the time Book 3 comes out I have pretty much forgotten who was who and who did what from Books 1 and 2 and I don’t want to take the time to go back & reread them.
    Another thing I hate about series books is that characters from Books 1 – 5 will be shoehorned into Book 6 in some sort of Big Reunion. They won’t have any story reason for being there — they’re just there to tell the reader that they now have X number of children yet they still have the hots for each other. I have read comments from readers who just love that sort of thing, but I find it tremendously boring, particularly because, as I said, by that time I’ve forgotten a lot about them, and also because in the subsequent books they’re seen from the outside, whereas in their own books they were seen from the inside, and so they don’t even seem to be the same people as they were in their own books, which I don’t remember in detail anyway. So to me the Big Reunion is a waste of pages that could be better used telling the present story.
    I understand that publishers love series as they’re pre-sold; avid readers will want to buy the whole series and read it in order. I wish we could go back to the days of Georgette Heyer, Paula Allardyce, Elsie Lee, et al, who did not do series books and therefore each book was its own little polished gem.

    Reply
  4. If I’m honest, my preference is for standalones; I think often they are stronger books. It must be difficult to make each book in a series equally engaging, and I often feel that one book will be a standout and the others anywhere from somewhat less interesting to outright meh.
    What I hate about series books is that by the time Book 3 comes out I have pretty much forgotten who was who and who did what from Books 1 and 2 and I don’t want to take the time to go back & reread them.
    Another thing I hate about series books is that characters from Books 1 – 5 will be shoehorned into Book 6 in some sort of Big Reunion. They won’t have any story reason for being there — they’re just there to tell the reader that they now have X number of children yet they still have the hots for each other. I have read comments from readers who just love that sort of thing, but I find it tremendously boring, particularly because, as I said, by that time I’ve forgotten a lot about them, and also because in the subsequent books they’re seen from the outside, whereas in their own books they were seen from the inside, and so they don’t even seem to be the same people as they were in their own books, which I don’t remember in detail anyway. So to me the Big Reunion is a waste of pages that could be better used telling the present story.
    I understand that publishers love series as they’re pre-sold; avid readers will want to buy the whole series and read it in order. I wish we could go back to the days of Georgette Heyer, Paula Allardyce, Elsie Lee, et al, who did not do series books and therefore each book was its own little polished gem.

    Reply
  5. If I’m honest, my preference is for standalones; I think often they are stronger books. It must be difficult to make each book in a series equally engaging, and I often feel that one book will be a standout and the others anywhere from somewhat less interesting to outright meh.
    What I hate about series books is that by the time Book 3 comes out I have pretty much forgotten who was who and who did what from Books 1 and 2 and I don’t want to take the time to go back & reread them.
    Another thing I hate about series books is that characters from Books 1 – 5 will be shoehorned into Book 6 in some sort of Big Reunion. They won’t have any story reason for being there — they’re just there to tell the reader that they now have X number of children yet they still have the hots for each other. I have read comments from readers who just love that sort of thing, but I find it tremendously boring, particularly because, as I said, by that time I’ve forgotten a lot about them, and also because in the subsequent books they’re seen from the outside, whereas in their own books they were seen from the inside, and so they don’t even seem to be the same people as they were in their own books, which I don’t remember in detail anyway. So to me the Big Reunion is a waste of pages that could be better used telling the present story.
    I understand that publishers love series as they’re pre-sold; avid readers will want to buy the whole series and read it in order. I wish we could go back to the days of Georgette Heyer, Paula Allardyce, Elsie Lee, et al, who did not do series books and therefore each book was its own little polished gem.

    Reply
  6. Janice, in some ways I agree with you. I have ideas for stories that aren’t part of any series and they keep whispering at me to write them. Maybe one day I’ll be able to.
    I’ll plead guilty to bringing characters from previous books back into the end of stories, partly because I know so many readers do love it, but I do try to ensure they don’t dominate too much and they have a god reason to be there. It’s usually a wedding or a christening, in which case it’s justified… I hope.
    As for couples who still have the hots for each other even though they have children, it happens. My own parents were a very loving and affectionate couple and as a teenager (and I have siblings 10 years older than me) my friends were often embarrassed to come across my parents having a quiet smooch in the kitchen or the garden.

    Reply
  7. Janice, in some ways I agree with you. I have ideas for stories that aren’t part of any series and they keep whispering at me to write them. Maybe one day I’ll be able to.
    I’ll plead guilty to bringing characters from previous books back into the end of stories, partly because I know so many readers do love it, but I do try to ensure they don’t dominate too much and they have a god reason to be there. It’s usually a wedding or a christening, in which case it’s justified… I hope.
    As for couples who still have the hots for each other even though they have children, it happens. My own parents were a very loving and affectionate couple and as a teenager (and I have siblings 10 years older than me) my friends were often embarrassed to come across my parents having a quiet smooch in the kitchen or the garden.

    Reply
  8. Janice, in some ways I agree with you. I have ideas for stories that aren’t part of any series and they keep whispering at me to write them. Maybe one day I’ll be able to.
    I’ll plead guilty to bringing characters from previous books back into the end of stories, partly because I know so many readers do love it, but I do try to ensure they don’t dominate too much and they have a god reason to be there. It’s usually a wedding or a christening, in which case it’s justified… I hope.
    As for couples who still have the hots for each other even though they have children, it happens. My own parents were a very loving and affectionate couple and as a teenager (and I have siblings 10 years older than me) my friends were often embarrassed to come across my parents having a quiet smooch in the kitchen or the garden.

    Reply
  9. Janice, in some ways I agree with you. I have ideas for stories that aren’t part of any series and they keep whispering at me to write them. Maybe one day I’ll be able to.
    I’ll plead guilty to bringing characters from previous books back into the end of stories, partly because I know so many readers do love it, but I do try to ensure they don’t dominate too much and they have a god reason to be there. It’s usually a wedding or a christening, in which case it’s justified… I hope.
    As for couples who still have the hots for each other even though they have children, it happens. My own parents were a very loving and affectionate couple and as a teenager (and I have siblings 10 years older than me) my friends were often embarrassed to come across my parents having a quiet smooch in the kitchen or the garden.

    Reply
  10. Janice, in some ways I agree with you. I have ideas for stories that aren’t part of any series and they keep whispering at me to write them. Maybe one day I’ll be able to.
    I’ll plead guilty to bringing characters from previous books back into the end of stories, partly because I know so many readers do love it, but I do try to ensure they don’t dominate too much and they have a god reason to be there. It’s usually a wedding or a christening, in which case it’s justified… I hope.
    As for couples who still have the hots for each other even though they have children, it happens. My own parents were a very loving and affectionate couple and as a teenager (and I have siblings 10 years older than me) my friends were often embarrassed to come across my parents having a quiet smooch in the kitchen or the garden.

    Reply
  11. My preference is also for standalone books. Having one hero and one heroine center stage and then sending them off into a happily ever after at the end and closing the book with a satisfied sigh is pretty much perfect for me.
    Not to say that I don’t read linked books as well. I love Mary Jo’s Fallen Angels, Joanna’s Spymaster books, and Jo’s Mallorens. I find those story worlds feel right for me as a reader, with characters consistent- and consistently changing- throughout.
    My very favorite type of series would be generational. Instead of three friends, for example, the protagonists would be mother/daughter/granddaughter, going through different eras, the protagonists of previous books going through different life stages. Not often seen these days, but things go in cycles, so who knows?

    Reply
  12. My preference is also for standalone books. Having one hero and one heroine center stage and then sending them off into a happily ever after at the end and closing the book with a satisfied sigh is pretty much perfect for me.
    Not to say that I don’t read linked books as well. I love Mary Jo’s Fallen Angels, Joanna’s Spymaster books, and Jo’s Mallorens. I find those story worlds feel right for me as a reader, with characters consistent- and consistently changing- throughout.
    My very favorite type of series would be generational. Instead of three friends, for example, the protagonists would be mother/daughter/granddaughter, going through different eras, the protagonists of previous books going through different life stages. Not often seen these days, but things go in cycles, so who knows?

    Reply
  13. My preference is also for standalone books. Having one hero and one heroine center stage and then sending them off into a happily ever after at the end and closing the book with a satisfied sigh is pretty much perfect for me.
    Not to say that I don’t read linked books as well. I love Mary Jo’s Fallen Angels, Joanna’s Spymaster books, and Jo’s Mallorens. I find those story worlds feel right for me as a reader, with characters consistent- and consistently changing- throughout.
    My very favorite type of series would be generational. Instead of three friends, for example, the protagonists would be mother/daughter/granddaughter, going through different eras, the protagonists of previous books going through different life stages. Not often seen these days, but things go in cycles, so who knows?

    Reply
  14. My preference is also for standalone books. Having one hero and one heroine center stage and then sending them off into a happily ever after at the end and closing the book with a satisfied sigh is pretty much perfect for me.
    Not to say that I don’t read linked books as well. I love Mary Jo’s Fallen Angels, Joanna’s Spymaster books, and Jo’s Mallorens. I find those story worlds feel right for me as a reader, with characters consistent- and consistently changing- throughout.
    My very favorite type of series would be generational. Instead of three friends, for example, the protagonists would be mother/daughter/granddaughter, going through different eras, the protagonists of previous books going through different life stages. Not often seen these days, but things go in cycles, so who knows?

    Reply
  15. My preference is also for standalone books. Having one hero and one heroine center stage and then sending them off into a happily ever after at the end and closing the book with a satisfied sigh is pretty much perfect for me.
    Not to say that I don’t read linked books as well. I love Mary Jo’s Fallen Angels, Joanna’s Spymaster books, and Jo’s Mallorens. I find those story worlds feel right for me as a reader, with characters consistent- and consistently changing- throughout.
    My very favorite type of series would be generational. Instead of three friends, for example, the protagonists would be mother/daughter/granddaughter, going through different eras, the protagonists of previous books going through different life stages. Not often seen these days, but things go in cycles, so who knows?

    Reply
  16. I love series books, but like Janice I also tend to forget the folks in Book 1 by the time Book 3 comes out – that’s why my “keeper” pile is so big (and filled with books from Anne, Mary Jo, Jo and Joanna!!)
    One of my critique partners is currently on Book 12 of her vampire series. She didn’t deliberately plan it that way, but she created a wonderful world with very interesting uh…people. She now has a “bible” to keep track of everyone and also feels the need to bring folks back in from time to time because her readers demand it. Luckily, another critique partner is wonderful at “continuity” and she catches every blip that might interrupt the flow and send the readers off screaming at a mistake.

    Reply
  17. I love series books, but like Janice I also tend to forget the folks in Book 1 by the time Book 3 comes out – that’s why my “keeper” pile is so big (and filled with books from Anne, Mary Jo, Jo and Joanna!!)
    One of my critique partners is currently on Book 12 of her vampire series. She didn’t deliberately plan it that way, but she created a wonderful world with very interesting uh…people. She now has a “bible” to keep track of everyone and also feels the need to bring folks back in from time to time because her readers demand it. Luckily, another critique partner is wonderful at “continuity” and she catches every blip that might interrupt the flow and send the readers off screaming at a mistake.

    Reply
  18. I love series books, but like Janice I also tend to forget the folks in Book 1 by the time Book 3 comes out – that’s why my “keeper” pile is so big (and filled with books from Anne, Mary Jo, Jo and Joanna!!)
    One of my critique partners is currently on Book 12 of her vampire series. She didn’t deliberately plan it that way, but she created a wonderful world with very interesting uh…people. She now has a “bible” to keep track of everyone and also feels the need to bring folks back in from time to time because her readers demand it. Luckily, another critique partner is wonderful at “continuity” and she catches every blip that might interrupt the flow and send the readers off screaming at a mistake.

    Reply
  19. I love series books, but like Janice I also tend to forget the folks in Book 1 by the time Book 3 comes out – that’s why my “keeper” pile is so big (and filled with books from Anne, Mary Jo, Jo and Joanna!!)
    One of my critique partners is currently on Book 12 of her vampire series. She didn’t deliberately plan it that way, but she created a wonderful world with very interesting uh…people. She now has a “bible” to keep track of everyone and also feels the need to bring folks back in from time to time because her readers demand it. Luckily, another critique partner is wonderful at “continuity” and she catches every blip that might interrupt the flow and send the readers off screaming at a mistake.

    Reply
  20. I love series books, but like Janice I also tend to forget the folks in Book 1 by the time Book 3 comes out – that’s why my “keeper” pile is so big (and filled with books from Anne, Mary Jo, Jo and Joanna!!)
    One of my critique partners is currently on Book 12 of her vampire series. She didn’t deliberately plan it that way, but she created a wonderful world with very interesting uh…people. She now has a “bible” to keep track of everyone and also feels the need to bring folks back in from time to time because her readers demand it. Luckily, another critique partner is wonderful at “continuity” and she catches every blip that might interrupt the flow and send the readers off screaming at a mistake.

    Reply
  21. This was very interesting to read — I just assumed authors of multi-book series had detailed plotting down to the page! I do love a good series — there’s something so comforting about revisiting these familiar characters. Still, I hate when the characters lose their oomph and sort of just go through the same motions book by book, or just have the same fight/quibble/challenge. Then it’s too much like real life!

    Reply
  22. This was very interesting to read — I just assumed authors of multi-book series had detailed plotting down to the page! I do love a good series — there’s something so comforting about revisiting these familiar characters. Still, I hate when the characters lose their oomph and sort of just go through the same motions book by book, or just have the same fight/quibble/challenge. Then it’s too much like real life!

    Reply
  23. This was very interesting to read — I just assumed authors of multi-book series had detailed plotting down to the page! I do love a good series — there’s something so comforting about revisiting these familiar characters. Still, I hate when the characters lose their oomph and sort of just go through the same motions book by book, or just have the same fight/quibble/challenge. Then it’s too much like real life!

    Reply
  24. This was very interesting to read — I just assumed authors of multi-book series had detailed plotting down to the page! I do love a good series — there’s something so comforting about revisiting these familiar characters. Still, I hate when the characters lose their oomph and sort of just go through the same motions book by book, or just have the same fight/quibble/challenge. Then it’s too much like real life!

    Reply
  25. This was very interesting to read — I just assumed authors of multi-book series had detailed plotting down to the page! I do love a good series — there’s something so comforting about revisiting these familiar characters. Still, I hate when the characters lose their oomph and sort of just go through the same motions book by book, or just have the same fight/quibble/challenge. Then it’s too much like real life!

    Reply
  26. This has been a great week for me – first tickets to see “Lord of the Dance” in April, and now winning a book from one of my favorite authors (thanks, Anne!).
    I’ve always loved series books, from the time I devoured the Nancy Drew mysteries. I love revisiting characters from other books and finding what happened after their “happily ever after.” But the best series are also stand-alones.
    I asked this question partly because I’m in the midst of a 5-book (as yet uncontracted) series. I’ve written first drafts of three of them, and I’m struggling with the plot of the fourth. However, the fifth has nothing but the hero and a little bit of his backstory. I’m hoping he’ll tell me his story by the time I’ve finished Book Four!
    I keep a bible of my main characters, which I add to whenever I learn new facts about them. I find it helps to keep everyone straight, yet I still find myself making mistakes with some facts, so it’s good to have something to fall back on.

    Reply
  27. This has been a great week for me – first tickets to see “Lord of the Dance” in April, and now winning a book from one of my favorite authors (thanks, Anne!).
    I’ve always loved series books, from the time I devoured the Nancy Drew mysteries. I love revisiting characters from other books and finding what happened after their “happily ever after.” But the best series are also stand-alones.
    I asked this question partly because I’m in the midst of a 5-book (as yet uncontracted) series. I’ve written first drafts of three of them, and I’m struggling with the plot of the fourth. However, the fifth has nothing but the hero and a little bit of his backstory. I’m hoping he’ll tell me his story by the time I’ve finished Book Four!
    I keep a bible of my main characters, which I add to whenever I learn new facts about them. I find it helps to keep everyone straight, yet I still find myself making mistakes with some facts, so it’s good to have something to fall back on.

    Reply
  28. This has been a great week for me – first tickets to see “Lord of the Dance” in April, and now winning a book from one of my favorite authors (thanks, Anne!).
    I’ve always loved series books, from the time I devoured the Nancy Drew mysteries. I love revisiting characters from other books and finding what happened after their “happily ever after.” But the best series are also stand-alones.
    I asked this question partly because I’m in the midst of a 5-book (as yet uncontracted) series. I’ve written first drafts of three of them, and I’m struggling with the plot of the fourth. However, the fifth has nothing but the hero and a little bit of his backstory. I’m hoping he’ll tell me his story by the time I’ve finished Book Four!
    I keep a bible of my main characters, which I add to whenever I learn new facts about them. I find it helps to keep everyone straight, yet I still find myself making mistakes with some facts, so it’s good to have something to fall back on.

    Reply
  29. This has been a great week for me – first tickets to see “Lord of the Dance” in April, and now winning a book from one of my favorite authors (thanks, Anne!).
    I’ve always loved series books, from the time I devoured the Nancy Drew mysteries. I love revisiting characters from other books and finding what happened after their “happily ever after.” But the best series are also stand-alones.
    I asked this question partly because I’m in the midst of a 5-book (as yet uncontracted) series. I’ve written first drafts of three of them, and I’m struggling with the plot of the fourth. However, the fifth has nothing but the hero and a little bit of his backstory. I’m hoping he’ll tell me his story by the time I’ve finished Book Four!
    I keep a bible of my main characters, which I add to whenever I learn new facts about them. I find it helps to keep everyone straight, yet I still find myself making mistakes with some facts, so it’s good to have something to fall back on.

    Reply
  30. This has been a great week for me – first tickets to see “Lord of the Dance” in April, and now winning a book from one of my favorite authors (thanks, Anne!).
    I’ve always loved series books, from the time I devoured the Nancy Drew mysteries. I love revisiting characters from other books and finding what happened after their “happily ever after.” But the best series are also stand-alones.
    I asked this question partly because I’m in the midst of a 5-book (as yet uncontracted) series. I’ve written first drafts of three of them, and I’m struggling with the plot of the fourth. However, the fifth has nothing but the hero and a little bit of his backstory. I’m hoping he’ll tell me his story by the time I’ve finished Book Four!
    I keep a bible of my main characters, which I add to whenever I learn new facts about them. I find it helps to keep everyone straight, yet I still find myself making mistakes with some facts, so it’s good to have something to fall back on.

    Reply
  31. Anna, that’s an interesting idea about the three generations — it’s not often done, is it? In fact I can’t remember reading one, (though I’m sure the minute I post this I’ll remember half a dozen. LOL).
    I imagine, though, if the series were successful, readers would be clamoring for the next generation, and the next just as they do for the next book in a series of linked characters. I am forever getting requests for the stories of some minor characters — even for the “full” story of the secondary romance that sometimes takes place in a book.

    Reply
  32. Anna, that’s an interesting idea about the three generations — it’s not often done, is it? In fact I can’t remember reading one, (though I’m sure the minute I post this I’ll remember half a dozen. LOL).
    I imagine, though, if the series were successful, readers would be clamoring for the next generation, and the next just as they do for the next book in a series of linked characters. I am forever getting requests for the stories of some minor characters — even for the “full” story of the secondary romance that sometimes takes place in a book.

    Reply
  33. Anna, that’s an interesting idea about the three generations — it’s not often done, is it? In fact I can’t remember reading one, (though I’m sure the minute I post this I’ll remember half a dozen. LOL).
    I imagine, though, if the series were successful, readers would be clamoring for the next generation, and the next just as they do for the next book in a series of linked characters. I am forever getting requests for the stories of some minor characters — even for the “full” story of the secondary romance that sometimes takes place in a book.

    Reply
  34. Anna, that’s an interesting idea about the three generations — it’s not often done, is it? In fact I can’t remember reading one, (though I’m sure the minute I post this I’ll remember half a dozen. LOL).
    I imagine, though, if the series were successful, readers would be clamoring for the next generation, and the next just as they do for the next book in a series of linked characters. I am forever getting requests for the stories of some minor characters — even for the “full” story of the secondary romance that sometimes takes place in a book.

    Reply
  35. Anna, that’s an interesting idea about the three generations — it’s not often done, is it? In fact I can’t remember reading one, (though I’m sure the minute I post this I’ll remember half a dozen. LOL).
    I imagine, though, if the series were successful, readers would be clamoring for the next generation, and the next just as they do for the next book in a series of linked characters. I am forever getting requests for the stories of some minor characters — even for the “full” story of the secondary romance that sometimes takes place in a book.

    Reply
  36. MJ, when I’m about to start a new book in a series, I go through the previous manuscripts in the series and do a name search for the characters’ names, and cut and paste anything relevant into a document. That way I refresh myself about them.
    But even though I write in series, I try to write stand alone books, so there’s not a lot of overlap. Mainly that’s because I hate it when I pick up a book and there’s a lot of space dedicated to catching up the reader on previous books or characters that are peripheral to the current book. So I hope that readers can pick up any of my books in any order and still have an enjoyable read without feeling that they should have read the previous books. I think most of the wenches do that, actually. I know I’ve read many of them out of order and it’s made no difference to my enjoyment.

    Reply
  37. MJ, when I’m about to start a new book in a series, I go through the previous manuscripts in the series and do a name search for the characters’ names, and cut and paste anything relevant into a document. That way I refresh myself about them.
    But even though I write in series, I try to write stand alone books, so there’s not a lot of overlap. Mainly that’s because I hate it when I pick up a book and there’s a lot of space dedicated to catching up the reader on previous books or characters that are peripheral to the current book. So I hope that readers can pick up any of my books in any order and still have an enjoyable read without feeling that they should have read the previous books. I think most of the wenches do that, actually. I know I’ve read many of them out of order and it’s made no difference to my enjoyment.

    Reply
  38. MJ, when I’m about to start a new book in a series, I go through the previous manuscripts in the series and do a name search for the characters’ names, and cut and paste anything relevant into a document. That way I refresh myself about them.
    But even though I write in series, I try to write stand alone books, so there’s not a lot of overlap. Mainly that’s because I hate it when I pick up a book and there’s a lot of space dedicated to catching up the reader on previous books or characters that are peripheral to the current book. So I hope that readers can pick up any of my books in any order and still have an enjoyable read without feeling that they should have read the previous books. I think most of the wenches do that, actually. I know I’ve read many of them out of order and it’s made no difference to my enjoyment.

    Reply
  39. MJ, when I’m about to start a new book in a series, I go through the previous manuscripts in the series and do a name search for the characters’ names, and cut and paste anything relevant into a document. That way I refresh myself about them.
    But even though I write in series, I try to write stand alone books, so there’s not a lot of overlap. Mainly that’s because I hate it when I pick up a book and there’s a lot of space dedicated to catching up the reader on previous books or characters that are peripheral to the current book. So I hope that readers can pick up any of my books in any order and still have an enjoyable read without feeling that they should have read the previous books. I think most of the wenches do that, actually. I know I’ve read many of them out of order and it’s made no difference to my enjoyment.

    Reply
  40. MJ, when I’m about to start a new book in a series, I go through the previous manuscripts in the series and do a name search for the characters’ names, and cut and paste anything relevant into a document. That way I refresh myself about them.
    But even though I write in series, I try to write stand alone books, so there’s not a lot of overlap. Mainly that’s because I hate it when I pick up a book and there’s a lot of space dedicated to catching up the reader on previous books or characters that are peripheral to the current book. So I hope that readers can pick up any of my books in any order and still have an enjoyable read without feeling that they should have read the previous books. I think most of the wenches do that, actually. I know I’ve read many of them out of order and it’s made no difference to my enjoyment.

    Reply
  41. Cynthia, best of luck with your series. I have an idea for my next series, and I’m going to attempt pre-planning it a bit more. And I’m going back to the trilogy idea.
    I do know a bestselling multipublished writer famous for her linked books and she keeps spreadsheets and family trees and detailed “bibles” and all sorts. We all have to work out what works for us. Too much pre-planning gives me a “hemmed-in” feeling, and I’m just as likely to bypass a plan as to follow it.

    Reply
  42. Cynthia, best of luck with your series. I have an idea for my next series, and I’m going to attempt pre-planning it a bit more. And I’m going back to the trilogy idea.
    I do know a bestselling multipublished writer famous for her linked books and she keeps spreadsheets and family trees and detailed “bibles” and all sorts. We all have to work out what works for us. Too much pre-planning gives me a “hemmed-in” feeling, and I’m just as likely to bypass a plan as to follow it.

    Reply
  43. Cynthia, best of luck with your series. I have an idea for my next series, and I’m going to attempt pre-planning it a bit more. And I’m going back to the trilogy idea.
    I do know a bestselling multipublished writer famous for her linked books and she keeps spreadsheets and family trees and detailed “bibles” and all sorts. We all have to work out what works for us. Too much pre-planning gives me a “hemmed-in” feeling, and I’m just as likely to bypass a plan as to follow it.

    Reply
  44. Cynthia, best of luck with your series. I have an idea for my next series, and I’m going to attempt pre-planning it a bit more. And I’m going back to the trilogy idea.
    I do know a bestselling multipublished writer famous for her linked books and she keeps spreadsheets and family trees and detailed “bibles” and all sorts. We all have to work out what works for us. Too much pre-planning gives me a “hemmed-in” feeling, and I’m just as likely to bypass a plan as to follow it.

    Reply
  45. Cynthia, best of luck with your series. I have an idea for my next series, and I’m going to attempt pre-planning it a bit more. And I’m going back to the trilogy idea.
    I do know a bestselling multipublished writer famous for her linked books and she keeps spreadsheets and family trees and detailed “bibles” and all sorts. We all have to work out what works for us. Too much pre-planning gives me a “hemmed-in” feeling, and I’m just as likely to bypass a plan as to follow it.

    Reply
  46. It’s hard to make books in a series truly ‘standalone’. We know so much about the characters and what’s happened to them elsewhere. Then to write as if we were just this moment meeting them . . .
    I’ll admit I’m a spreadsheet kinda person. I do have a list of where everyone was and what they were doing for all the years I write in.
    I’d lose track. I mean, I can’t remember where *I* was and what I was doing at 26.

    Reply
  47. It’s hard to make books in a series truly ‘standalone’. We know so much about the characters and what’s happened to them elsewhere. Then to write as if we were just this moment meeting them . . .
    I’ll admit I’m a spreadsheet kinda person. I do have a list of where everyone was and what they were doing for all the years I write in.
    I’d lose track. I mean, I can’t remember where *I* was and what I was doing at 26.

    Reply
  48. It’s hard to make books in a series truly ‘standalone’. We know so much about the characters and what’s happened to them elsewhere. Then to write as if we were just this moment meeting them . . .
    I’ll admit I’m a spreadsheet kinda person. I do have a list of where everyone was and what they were doing for all the years I write in.
    I’d lose track. I mean, I can’t remember where *I* was and what I was doing at 26.

    Reply
  49. It’s hard to make books in a series truly ‘standalone’. We know so much about the characters and what’s happened to them elsewhere. Then to write as if we were just this moment meeting them . . .
    I’ll admit I’m a spreadsheet kinda person. I do have a list of where everyone was and what they were doing for all the years I write in.
    I’d lose track. I mean, I can’t remember where *I* was and what I was doing at 26.

    Reply
  50. It’s hard to make books in a series truly ‘standalone’. We know so much about the characters and what’s happened to them elsewhere. Then to write as if we were just this moment meeting them . . .
    I’ll admit I’m a spreadsheet kinda person. I do have a list of where everyone was and what they were doing for all the years I write in.
    I’d lose track. I mean, I can’t remember where *I* was and what I was doing at 26.

    Reply
  51. Jo here. It’s easier to write stand-alones, but I’ve been addicted to world building from the first.
    About generational series. Never going to come from me, because I don’t want my characters growing old and dying. I’m a fantasy person that way.
    It’s a bit tricky, because some of my Mallorens could be around 50-60 years on in the Regency, and as I put Rothgar and some of the Regency characters in Marlborough Square, they might even be neighbours, But they’re not going to meet. Cyn Malloren at eighty? No.
    Nor are the children of my Rogues going to turn up as Victorians. I don’t want to go anywhere near the “Vile Victorians.”
    We all have our quirks!
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  52. Jo here. It’s easier to write stand-alones, but I’ve been addicted to world building from the first.
    About generational series. Never going to come from me, because I don’t want my characters growing old and dying. I’m a fantasy person that way.
    It’s a bit tricky, because some of my Mallorens could be around 50-60 years on in the Regency, and as I put Rothgar and some of the Regency characters in Marlborough Square, they might even be neighbours, But they’re not going to meet. Cyn Malloren at eighty? No.
    Nor are the children of my Rogues going to turn up as Victorians. I don’t want to go anywhere near the “Vile Victorians.”
    We all have our quirks!
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  53. Jo here. It’s easier to write stand-alones, but I’ve been addicted to world building from the first.
    About generational series. Never going to come from me, because I don’t want my characters growing old and dying. I’m a fantasy person that way.
    It’s a bit tricky, because some of my Mallorens could be around 50-60 years on in the Regency, and as I put Rothgar and some of the Regency characters in Marlborough Square, they might even be neighbours, But they’re not going to meet. Cyn Malloren at eighty? No.
    Nor are the children of my Rogues going to turn up as Victorians. I don’t want to go anywhere near the “Vile Victorians.”
    We all have our quirks!
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  54. Jo here. It’s easier to write stand-alones, but I’ve been addicted to world building from the first.
    About generational series. Never going to come from me, because I don’t want my characters growing old and dying. I’m a fantasy person that way.
    It’s a bit tricky, because some of my Mallorens could be around 50-60 years on in the Regency, and as I put Rothgar and some of the Regency characters in Marlborough Square, they might even be neighbours, But they’re not going to meet. Cyn Malloren at eighty? No.
    Nor are the children of my Rogues going to turn up as Victorians. I don’t want to go anywhere near the “Vile Victorians.”
    We all have our quirks!
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  55. Jo here. It’s easier to write stand-alones, but I’ve been addicted to world building from the first.
    About generational series. Never going to come from me, because I don’t want my characters growing old and dying. I’m a fantasy person that way.
    It’s a bit tricky, because some of my Mallorens could be around 50-60 years on in the Regency, and as I put Rothgar and some of the Regency characters in Marlborough Square, they might even be neighbours, But they’re not going to meet. Cyn Malloren at eighty? No.
    Nor are the children of my Rogues going to turn up as Victorians. I don’t want to go anywhere near the “Vile Victorians.”
    We all have our quirks!
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  56. Joanna, if I knew how to use or make a spreadsheet, I’d probably use one too, but I don’t, so I muddle along. I have a file for every book, and as I said, do a refresher with a search of previous documents.
    It helps capture the tone, as well as facts: for instance, these are a few references to or about the hero I’m currently writing:
    “He is sitting outside on a rather good chestnut, looking handsome, brooding as usual, along with that lovely Ramsey boy and the other one–you know, what’s his name?–the one the girls all sigh after. Divinely handsome with a fatally attractive air of tragedy.”
    “Luke Ripton,” said Gabriel, trying not to smile.
    “That’s it, the Ripton boy.
    *****
    “It’s Luke,” Harry said. “You know he doesn’t care if he lives or dies.
    *****
    Harry had called Luke their ‘fallen angel’ and when she saw his face, she understood why. He was darkly beautiful and somehow tragic-looking, with dark eyes and cheekbones a woman would weep for. His thick dark hair was tousled, and he wore his neck cloth carelessly knotted. He seemed full of restless energy, for he moved the whole time, snapping his whip against his boots, pacing back and forth as they talked and punctuating his sentences with lively gestures.
    *****
    “Stormy dreams, this fellow has. Might as well share a bed with a wild beast.”

    Reply
  57. Joanna, if I knew how to use or make a spreadsheet, I’d probably use one too, but I don’t, so I muddle along. I have a file for every book, and as I said, do a refresher with a search of previous documents.
    It helps capture the tone, as well as facts: for instance, these are a few references to or about the hero I’m currently writing:
    “He is sitting outside on a rather good chestnut, looking handsome, brooding as usual, along with that lovely Ramsey boy and the other one–you know, what’s his name?–the one the girls all sigh after. Divinely handsome with a fatally attractive air of tragedy.”
    “Luke Ripton,” said Gabriel, trying not to smile.
    “That’s it, the Ripton boy.
    *****
    “It’s Luke,” Harry said. “You know he doesn’t care if he lives or dies.
    *****
    Harry had called Luke their ‘fallen angel’ and when she saw his face, she understood why. He was darkly beautiful and somehow tragic-looking, with dark eyes and cheekbones a woman would weep for. His thick dark hair was tousled, and he wore his neck cloth carelessly knotted. He seemed full of restless energy, for he moved the whole time, snapping his whip against his boots, pacing back and forth as they talked and punctuating his sentences with lively gestures.
    *****
    “Stormy dreams, this fellow has. Might as well share a bed with a wild beast.”

    Reply
  58. Joanna, if I knew how to use or make a spreadsheet, I’d probably use one too, but I don’t, so I muddle along. I have a file for every book, and as I said, do a refresher with a search of previous documents.
    It helps capture the tone, as well as facts: for instance, these are a few references to or about the hero I’m currently writing:
    “He is sitting outside on a rather good chestnut, looking handsome, brooding as usual, along with that lovely Ramsey boy and the other one–you know, what’s his name?–the one the girls all sigh after. Divinely handsome with a fatally attractive air of tragedy.”
    “Luke Ripton,” said Gabriel, trying not to smile.
    “That’s it, the Ripton boy.
    *****
    “It’s Luke,” Harry said. “You know he doesn’t care if he lives or dies.
    *****
    Harry had called Luke their ‘fallen angel’ and when she saw his face, she understood why. He was darkly beautiful and somehow tragic-looking, with dark eyes and cheekbones a woman would weep for. His thick dark hair was tousled, and he wore his neck cloth carelessly knotted. He seemed full of restless energy, for he moved the whole time, snapping his whip against his boots, pacing back and forth as they talked and punctuating his sentences with lively gestures.
    *****
    “Stormy dreams, this fellow has. Might as well share a bed with a wild beast.”

    Reply
  59. Joanna, if I knew how to use or make a spreadsheet, I’d probably use one too, but I don’t, so I muddle along. I have a file for every book, and as I said, do a refresher with a search of previous documents.
    It helps capture the tone, as well as facts: for instance, these are a few references to or about the hero I’m currently writing:
    “He is sitting outside on a rather good chestnut, looking handsome, brooding as usual, along with that lovely Ramsey boy and the other one–you know, what’s his name?–the one the girls all sigh after. Divinely handsome with a fatally attractive air of tragedy.”
    “Luke Ripton,” said Gabriel, trying not to smile.
    “That’s it, the Ripton boy.
    *****
    “It’s Luke,” Harry said. “You know he doesn’t care if he lives or dies.
    *****
    Harry had called Luke their ‘fallen angel’ and when she saw his face, she understood why. He was darkly beautiful and somehow tragic-looking, with dark eyes and cheekbones a woman would weep for. His thick dark hair was tousled, and he wore his neck cloth carelessly knotted. He seemed full of restless energy, for he moved the whole time, snapping his whip against his boots, pacing back and forth as they talked and punctuating his sentences with lively gestures.
    *****
    “Stormy dreams, this fellow has. Might as well share a bed with a wild beast.”

    Reply
  60. Joanna, if I knew how to use or make a spreadsheet, I’d probably use one too, but I don’t, so I muddle along. I have a file for every book, and as I said, do a refresher with a search of previous documents.
    It helps capture the tone, as well as facts: for instance, these are a few references to or about the hero I’m currently writing:
    “He is sitting outside on a rather good chestnut, looking handsome, brooding as usual, along with that lovely Ramsey boy and the other one–you know, what’s his name?–the one the girls all sigh after. Divinely handsome with a fatally attractive air of tragedy.”
    “Luke Ripton,” said Gabriel, trying not to smile.
    “That’s it, the Ripton boy.
    *****
    “It’s Luke,” Harry said. “You know he doesn’t care if he lives or dies.
    *****
    Harry had called Luke their ‘fallen angel’ and when she saw his face, she understood why. He was darkly beautiful and somehow tragic-looking, with dark eyes and cheekbones a woman would weep for. His thick dark hair was tousled, and he wore his neck cloth carelessly knotted. He seemed full of restless energy, for he moved the whole time, snapping his whip against his boots, pacing back and forth as they talked and punctuating his sentences with lively gestures.
    *****
    “Stormy dreams, this fellow has. Might as well share a bed with a wild beast.”

    Reply
  61. Jo, I feel much the same about watching beloved characters grow old. I didn’t like that aspect of things in Heyer’s INFAMOUS ARMY where we met up with a number of characters many years down the track, and where the heroine was the granddaughter of the couple in These Old Shades.

    Reply
  62. Jo, I feel much the same about watching beloved characters grow old. I didn’t like that aspect of things in Heyer’s INFAMOUS ARMY where we met up with a number of characters many years down the track, and where the heroine was the granddaughter of the couple in These Old Shades.

    Reply
  63. Jo, I feel much the same about watching beloved characters grow old. I didn’t like that aspect of things in Heyer’s INFAMOUS ARMY where we met up with a number of characters many years down the track, and where the heroine was the granddaughter of the couple in These Old Shades.

    Reply
  64. Jo, I feel much the same about watching beloved characters grow old. I didn’t like that aspect of things in Heyer’s INFAMOUS ARMY where we met up with a number of characters many years down the track, and where the heroine was the granddaughter of the couple in These Old Shades.

    Reply
  65. Jo, I feel much the same about watching beloved characters grow old. I didn’t like that aspect of things in Heyer’s INFAMOUS ARMY where we met up with a number of characters many years down the track, and where the heroine was the granddaughter of the couple in These Old Shades.

    Reply
  66. Anne 🙂 Of course they still have the hots for each other; that goes without saying. In a romance we assume they’ll live happily ever after and that the physical aspect will be an important part of their happy relationship. So I don’t need to be told in Book 5 that the hero and heroine of Book 1 are still at it like rabbits because I would assume that anyway 🙂
    And no, a wedding or a christening is not enough for me 🙂 I would prefer they show up casually and go away again immediately, like the heroine of Mary Balogh’s Red Rose, who is mentioned as one of the performers at an evening party — a sort of Easter Egg for those who know the book, without throwing those who don’t out of the present book — or they have some very important part in the present story. Anything in between just annoys me. I feel I’m expected to go, awww, isn’t that sweet, when what I really want to do is say go away, let the current story progress; you had your day in the spotlight and encores are superfluous.
    But I suspect that’s just me.

    Reply
  67. Anne 🙂 Of course they still have the hots for each other; that goes without saying. In a romance we assume they’ll live happily ever after and that the physical aspect will be an important part of their happy relationship. So I don’t need to be told in Book 5 that the hero and heroine of Book 1 are still at it like rabbits because I would assume that anyway 🙂
    And no, a wedding or a christening is not enough for me 🙂 I would prefer they show up casually and go away again immediately, like the heroine of Mary Balogh’s Red Rose, who is mentioned as one of the performers at an evening party — a sort of Easter Egg for those who know the book, without throwing those who don’t out of the present book — or they have some very important part in the present story. Anything in between just annoys me. I feel I’m expected to go, awww, isn’t that sweet, when what I really want to do is say go away, let the current story progress; you had your day in the spotlight and encores are superfluous.
    But I suspect that’s just me.

    Reply
  68. Anne 🙂 Of course they still have the hots for each other; that goes without saying. In a romance we assume they’ll live happily ever after and that the physical aspect will be an important part of their happy relationship. So I don’t need to be told in Book 5 that the hero and heroine of Book 1 are still at it like rabbits because I would assume that anyway 🙂
    And no, a wedding or a christening is not enough for me 🙂 I would prefer they show up casually and go away again immediately, like the heroine of Mary Balogh’s Red Rose, who is mentioned as one of the performers at an evening party — a sort of Easter Egg for those who know the book, without throwing those who don’t out of the present book — or they have some very important part in the present story. Anything in between just annoys me. I feel I’m expected to go, awww, isn’t that sweet, when what I really want to do is say go away, let the current story progress; you had your day in the spotlight and encores are superfluous.
    But I suspect that’s just me.

    Reply
  69. Anne 🙂 Of course they still have the hots for each other; that goes without saying. In a romance we assume they’ll live happily ever after and that the physical aspect will be an important part of their happy relationship. So I don’t need to be told in Book 5 that the hero and heroine of Book 1 are still at it like rabbits because I would assume that anyway 🙂
    And no, a wedding or a christening is not enough for me 🙂 I would prefer they show up casually and go away again immediately, like the heroine of Mary Balogh’s Red Rose, who is mentioned as one of the performers at an evening party — a sort of Easter Egg for those who know the book, without throwing those who don’t out of the present book — or they have some very important part in the present story. Anything in between just annoys me. I feel I’m expected to go, awww, isn’t that sweet, when what I really want to do is say go away, let the current story progress; you had your day in the spotlight and encores are superfluous.
    But I suspect that’s just me.

    Reply
  70. Anne 🙂 Of course they still have the hots for each other; that goes without saying. In a romance we assume they’ll live happily ever after and that the physical aspect will be an important part of their happy relationship. So I don’t need to be told in Book 5 that the hero and heroine of Book 1 are still at it like rabbits because I would assume that anyway 🙂
    And no, a wedding or a christening is not enough for me 🙂 I would prefer they show up casually and go away again immediately, like the heroine of Mary Balogh’s Red Rose, who is mentioned as one of the performers at an evening party — a sort of Easter Egg for those who know the book, without throwing those who don’t out of the present book — or they have some very important part in the present story. Anything in between just annoys me. I feel I’m expected to go, awww, isn’t that sweet, when what I really want to do is say go away, let the current story progress; you had your day in the spotlight and encores are superfluous.
    But I suspect that’s just me.

    Reply
  71. Actually I suspect it’s not just you, Janice. I suspect it all depends on how it’s handled. Sometimes as a reader I enjoy catching up with other characters, and other times I find myself telling the book to get on with it! (LOL. Yes, madwoman who talks to books here.)
    I love your easter egg analogy. I did that in a book, had the heroine briefly meet Great Uncle Oswald (from the previous series) at a ball, and some readers did write and say how much they enjoyed it.
    It’s a balancing act for authors — we have the impossible task of trying to please everyone, but really, we can only follow our instincts and write to please ourselves, otherwise we’d go crazy.

    Reply
  72. Actually I suspect it’s not just you, Janice. I suspect it all depends on how it’s handled. Sometimes as a reader I enjoy catching up with other characters, and other times I find myself telling the book to get on with it! (LOL. Yes, madwoman who talks to books here.)
    I love your easter egg analogy. I did that in a book, had the heroine briefly meet Great Uncle Oswald (from the previous series) at a ball, and some readers did write and say how much they enjoyed it.
    It’s a balancing act for authors — we have the impossible task of trying to please everyone, but really, we can only follow our instincts and write to please ourselves, otherwise we’d go crazy.

    Reply
  73. Actually I suspect it’s not just you, Janice. I suspect it all depends on how it’s handled. Sometimes as a reader I enjoy catching up with other characters, and other times I find myself telling the book to get on with it! (LOL. Yes, madwoman who talks to books here.)
    I love your easter egg analogy. I did that in a book, had the heroine briefly meet Great Uncle Oswald (from the previous series) at a ball, and some readers did write and say how much they enjoyed it.
    It’s a balancing act for authors — we have the impossible task of trying to please everyone, but really, we can only follow our instincts and write to please ourselves, otherwise we’d go crazy.

    Reply
  74. Actually I suspect it’s not just you, Janice. I suspect it all depends on how it’s handled. Sometimes as a reader I enjoy catching up with other characters, and other times I find myself telling the book to get on with it! (LOL. Yes, madwoman who talks to books here.)
    I love your easter egg analogy. I did that in a book, had the heroine briefly meet Great Uncle Oswald (from the previous series) at a ball, and some readers did write and say how much they enjoyed it.
    It’s a balancing act for authors — we have the impossible task of trying to please everyone, but really, we can only follow our instincts and write to please ourselves, otherwise we’d go crazy.

    Reply
  75. Actually I suspect it’s not just you, Janice. I suspect it all depends on how it’s handled. Sometimes as a reader I enjoy catching up with other characters, and other times I find myself telling the book to get on with it! (LOL. Yes, madwoman who talks to books here.)
    I love your easter egg analogy. I did that in a book, had the heroine briefly meet Great Uncle Oswald (from the previous series) at a ball, and some readers did write and say how much they enjoyed it.
    It’s a balancing act for authors — we have the impossible task of trying to please everyone, but really, we can only follow our instincts and write to please ourselves, otherwise we’d go crazy.

    Reply
  76. I have utterly no memory so I sympathize with readers struggling to remember characters in a book from a year before. I try to write my books so one doesn’t have to know who the characters are–they’re his brother, her sister, whatever. If you want to know more about the secondary characters, excellent, but it’s not necessary. I think part of the series thing is that once we spend all the time building a world, we want to linger there a while longer, and it certainly makes it easier to write the next chapter!

    Reply
  77. I have utterly no memory so I sympathize with readers struggling to remember characters in a book from a year before. I try to write my books so one doesn’t have to know who the characters are–they’re his brother, her sister, whatever. If you want to know more about the secondary characters, excellent, but it’s not necessary. I think part of the series thing is that once we spend all the time building a world, we want to linger there a while longer, and it certainly makes it easier to write the next chapter!

    Reply
  78. I have utterly no memory so I sympathize with readers struggling to remember characters in a book from a year before. I try to write my books so one doesn’t have to know who the characters are–they’re his brother, her sister, whatever. If you want to know more about the secondary characters, excellent, but it’s not necessary. I think part of the series thing is that once we spend all the time building a world, we want to linger there a while longer, and it certainly makes it easier to write the next chapter!

    Reply
  79. I have utterly no memory so I sympathize with readers struggling to remember characters in a book from a year before. I try to write my books so one doesn’t have to know who the characters are–they’re his brother, her sister, whatever. If you want to know more about the secondary characters, excellent, but it’s not necessary. I think part of the series thing is that once we spend all the time building a world, we want to linger there a while longer, and it certainly makes it easier to write the next chapter!

    Reply
  80. I have utterly no memory so I sympathize with readers struggling to remember characters in a book from a year before. I try to write my books so one doesn’t have to know who the characters are–they’re his brother, her sister, whatever. If you want to know more about the secondary characters, excellent, but it’s not necessary. I think part of the series thing is that once we spend all the time building a world, we want to linger there a while longer, and it certainly makes it easier to write the next chapter!

    Reply
  81. Like Jo, I was building series from the beginning because I became so interested in the secondary guys. (It’s almost always the guys…) But my rule of thumb is that if a former hero or heroine shows up, they have to a reason that fits the plot. Otherwise they just get out of hand.
    I’m not a fan of multi-generational AT ALL. It’s much easier to characters of one generation because one can vary the tortures better. *g*

    Reply
  82. Like Jo, I was building series from the beginning because I became so interested in the secondary guys. (It’s almost always the guys…) But my rule of thumb is that if a former hero or heroine shows up, they have to a reason that fits the plot. Otherwise they just get out of hand.
    I’m not a fan of multi-generational AT ALL. It’s much easier to characters of one generation because one can vary the tortures better. *g*

    Reply
  83. Like Jo, I was building series from the beginning because I became so interested in the secondary guys. (It’s almost always the guys…) But my rule of thumb is that if a former hero or heroine shows up, they have to a reason that fits the plot. Otherwise they just get out of hand.
    I’m not a fan of multi-generational AT ALL. It’s much easier to characters of one generation because one can vary the tortures better. *g*

    Reply
  84. Like Jo, I was building series from the beginning because I became so interested in the secondary guys. (It’s almost always the guys…) But my rule of thumb is that if a former hero or heroine shows up, they have to a reason that fits the plot. Otherwise they just get out of hand.
    I’m not a fan of multi-generational AT ALL. It’s much easier to characters of one generation because one can vary the tortures better. *g*

    Reply
  85. Like Jo, I was building series from the beginning because I became so interested in the secondary guys. (It’s almost always the guys…) But my rule of thumb is that if a former hero or heroine shows up, they have to a reason that fits the plot. Otherwise they just get out of hand.
    I’m not a fan of multi-generational AT ALL. It’s much easier to characters of one generation because one can vary the tortures better. *g*

    Reply
  86. I’m okay with not remembering previous characters. If I love the series enough, I’ll read it again and again and about the 8th or 9th time, I’ll finally get the “aha” moment where someone in the book clicks and I remember them from the book before.
    I inhaled Victoria Holt and those were all standalones, so I didn’t think much about series. At least not romance. I read a lot of ‘women’s mysteries’ where they centered on one main character or a couple for several books and though I enjoyed them, I always felt there was just one little thing missing.
    I understand now though. The first real romance series I read, it all fell together. I had to have that HEA. It was good that characters from previous books were revisited, but the main characters had to have that HEA.
    Now, I’m in the midst of two different series that I’m penning. One is Regency Paranormal and one Contemporary Paranormal. I didn’t set out to do more than one story. Didn’t turn out that way though because as I wrote the first, I clearly saw the H and Hn of the second and so on. So now, I keep a journal for each story, but I wish I knew spreadsheets. I don’t. It’s a wonder I can add…
    No one may ever see my stories except me, but I can’t stand the inconsistencies so either way, I have to keep track somehow. I wish I was more of a planner and not a pantser though. It would make keeping track of the details so much easier.

    Reply
  87. I’m okay with not remembering previous characters. If I love the series enough, I’ll read it again and again and about the 8th or 9th time, I’ll finally get the “aha” moment where someone in the book clicks and I remember them from the book before.
    I inhaled Victoria Holt and those were all standalones, so I didn’t think much about series. At least not romance. I read a lot of ‘women’s mysteries’ where they centered on one main character or a couple for several books and though I enjoyed them, I always felt there was just one little thing missing.
    I understand now though. The first real romance series I read, it all fell together. I had to have that HEA. It was good that characters from previous books were revisited, but the main characters had to have that HEA.
    Now, I’m in the midst of two different series that I’m penning. One is Regency Paranormal and one Contemporary Paranormal. I didn’t set out to do more than one story. Didn’t turn out that way though because as I wrote the first, I clearly saw the H and Hn of the second and so on. So now, I keep a journal for each story, but I wish I knew spreadsheets. I don’t. It’s a wonder I can add…
    No one may ever see my stories except me, but I can’t stand the inconsistencies so either way, I have to keep track somehow. I wish I was more of a planner and not a pantser though. It would make keeping track of the details so much easier.

    Reply
  88. I’m okay with not remembering previous characters. If I love the series enough, I’ll read it again and again and about the 8th or 9th time, I’ll finally get the “aha” moment where someone in the book clicks and I remember them from the book before.
    I inhaled Victoria Holt and those were all standalones, so I didn’t think much about series. At least not romance. I read a lot of ‘women’s mysteries’ where they centered on one main character or a couple for several books and though I enjoyed them, I always felt there was just one little thing missing.
    I understand now though. The first real romance series I read, it all fell together. I had to have that HEA. It was good that characters from previous books were revisited, but the main characters had to have that HEA.
    Now, I’m in the midst of two different series that I’m penning. One is Regency Paranormal and one Contemporary Paranormal. I didn’t set out to do more than one story. Didn’t turn out that way though because as I wrote the first, I clearly saw the H and Hn of the second and so on. So now, I keep a journal for each story, but I wish I knew spreadsheets. I don’t. It’s a wonder I can add…
    No one may ever see my stories except me, but I can’t stand the inconsistencies so either way, I have to keep track somehow. I wish I was more of a planner and not a pantser though. It would make keeping track of the details so much easier.

    Reply
  89. I’m okay with not remembering previous characters. If I love the series enough, I’ll read it again and again and about the 8th or 9th time, I’ll finally get the “aha” moment where someone in the book clicks and I remember them from the book before.
    I inhaled Victoria Holt and those were all standalones, so I didn’t think much about series. At least not romance. I read a lot of ‘women’s mysteries’ where they centered on one main character or a couple for several books and though I enjoyed them, I always felt there was just one little thing missing.
    I understand now though. The first real romance series I read, it all fell together. I had to have that HEA. It was good that characters from previous books were revisited, but the main characters had to have that HEA.
    Now, I’m in the midst of two different series that I’m penning. One is Regency Paranormal and one Contemporary Paranormal. I didn’t set out to do more than one story. Didn’t turn out that way though because as I wrote the first, I clearly saw the H and Hn of the second and so on. So now, I keep a journal for each story, but I wish I knew spreadsheets. I don’t. It’s a wonder I can add…
    No one may ever see my stories except me, but I can’t stand the inconsistencies so either way, I have to keep track somehow. I wish I was more of a planner and not a pantser though. It would make keeping track of the details so much easier.

    Reply
  90. I’m okay with not remembering previous characters. If I love the series enough, I’ll read it again and again and about the 8th or 9th time, I’ll finally get the “aha” moment where someone in the book clicks and I remember them from the book before.
    I inhaled Victoria Holt and those were all standalones, so I didn’t think much about series. At least not romance. I read a lot of ‘women’s mysteries’ where they centered on one main character or a couple for several books and though I enjoyed them, I always felt there was just one little thing missing.
    I understand now though. The first real romance series I read, it all fell together. I had to have that HEA. It was good that characters from previous books were revisited, but the main characters had to have that HEA.
    Now, I’m in the midst of two different series that I’m penning. One is Regency Paranormal and one Contemporary Paranormal. I didn’t set out to do more than one story. Didn’t turn out that way though because as I wrote the first, I clearly saw the H and Hn of the second and so on. So now, I keep a journal for each story, but I wish I knew spreadsheets. I don’t. It’s a wonder I can add…
    No one may ever see my stories except me, but I can’t stand the inconsistencies so either way, I have to keep track somehow. I wish I was more of a planner and not a pantser though. It would make keeping track of the details so much easier.

    Reply
  91. Thank you for this wonderful insight into series writing. Great information here!
    I do enjoy books in a series. I love the continuity and having the chance to look in on favorite characters from previous books.
    My one caveat is, the books have to be of the same quality. Should the quality begin to wane I tend to get very discouraged about the entire series. (I will say no Wench has EVER disappointed me!)
    Stand alones work for me as well. Sometimes a story is so complete in and of itself that to go further would be sacrilege.

    Reply
  92. Thank you for this wonderful insight into series writing. Great information here!
    I do enjoy books in a series. I love the continuity and having the chance to look in on favorite characters from previous books.
    My one caveat is, the books have to be of the same quality. Should the quality begin to wane I tend to get very discouraged about the entire series. (I will say no Wench has EVER disappointed me!)
    Stand alones work for me as well. Sometimes a story is so complete in and of itself that to go further would be sacrilege.

    Reply
  93. Thank you for this wonderful insight into series writing. Great information here!
    I do enjoy books in a series. I love the continuity and having the chance to look in on favorite characters from previous books.
    My one caveat is, the books have to be of the same quality. Should the quality begin to wane I tend to get very discouraged about the entire series. (I will say no Wench has EVER disappointed me!)
    Stand alones work for me as well. Sometimes a story is so complete in and of itself that to go further would be sacrilege.

    Reply
  94. Thank you for this wonderful insight into series writing. Great information here!
    I do enjoy books in a series. I love the continuity and having the chance to look in on favorite characters from previous books.
    My one caveat is, the books have to be of the same quality. Should the quality begin to wane I tend to get very discouraged about the entire series. (I will say no Wench has EVER disappointed me!)
    Stand alones work for me as well. Sometimes a story is so complete in and of itself that to go further would be sacrilege.

    Reply
  95. Thank you for this wonderful insight into series writing. Great information here!
    I do enjoy books in a series. I love the continuity and having the chance to look in on favorite characters from previous books.
    My one caveat is, the books have to be of the same quality. Should the quality begin to wane I tend to get very discouraged about the entire series. (I will say no Wench has EVER disappointed me!)
    Stand alones work for me as well. Sometimes a story is so complete in and of itself that to go further would be sacrilege.

    Reply
  96. I love series books. That’s why I’m hooked on several of the authors here 🙂 I will often go back and re-read the entire series before the next one comes out. Not that I have to, just that I enjoy the characters so much.
    The one thing that has irritated me in a series I followed for a while is that every story was basically the same story-line for the characters. Their situation was different each time, but the heroes in particular went through the same difficulties. Amazing to me how many of the books in that series I read before I finally gave up on it. (the author was not one of the Word Wenches.)
    I actually enjoyed having the characters from other stories re-appear in An Infamous Army. But then, the Avon’s transition from hero in These Old Shades to father in Devil’s Cub to grandfather in An Infamous Army really fit his character. I agree with Jo – much harder to see Cyn as a grandfather!

    Reply
  97. I love series books. That’s why I’m hooked on several of the authors here 🙂 I will often go back and re-read the entire series before the next one comes out. Not that I have to, just that I enjoy the characters so much.
    The one thing that has irritated me in a series I followed for a while is that every story was basically the same story-line for the characters. Their situation was different each time, but the heroes in particular went through the same difficulties. Amazing to me how many of the books in that series I read before I finally gave up on it. (the author was not one of the Word Wenches.)
    I actually enjoyed having the characters from other stories re-appear in An Infamous Army. But then, the Avon’s transition from hero in These Old Shades to father in Devil’s Cub to grandfather in An Infamous Army really fit his character. I agree with Jo – much harder to see Cyn as a grandfather!

    Reply
  98. I love series books. That’s why I’m hooked on several of the authors here 🙂 I will often go back and re-read the entire series before the next one comes out. Not that I have to, just that I enjoy the characters so much.
    The one thing that has irritated me in a series I followed for a while is that every story was basically the same story-line for the characters. Their situation was different each time, but the heroes in particular went through the same difficulties. Amazing to me how many of the books in that series I read before I finally gave up on it. (the author was not one of the Word Wenches.)
    I actually enjoyed having the characters from other stories re-appear in An Infamous Army. But then, the Avon’s transition from hero in These Old Shades to father in Devil’s Cub to grandfather in An Infamous Army really fit his character. I agree with Jo – much harder to see Cyn as a grandfather!

    Reply
  99. I love series books. That’s why I’m hooked on several of the authors here 🙂 I will often go back and re-read the entire series before the next one comes out. Not that I have to, just that I enjoy the characters so much.
    The one thing that has irritated me in a series I followed for a while is that every story was basically the same story-line for the characters. Their situation was different each time, but the heroes in particular went through the same difficulties. Amazing to me how many of the books in that series I read before I finally gave up on it. (the author was not one of the Word Wenches.)
    I actually enjoyed having the characters from other stories re-appear in An Infamous Army. But then, the Avon’s transition from hero in These Old Shades to father in Devil’s Cub to grandfather in An Infamous Army really fit his character. I agree with Jo – much harder to see Cyn as a grandfather!

    Reply
  100. I love series books. That’s why I’m hooked on several of the authors here 🙂 I will often go back and re-read the entire series before the next one comes out. Not that I have to, just that I enjoy the characters so much.
    The one thing that has irritated me in a series I followed for a while is that every story was basically the same story-line for the characters. Their situation was different each time, but the heroes in particular went through the same difficulties. Amazing to me how many of the books in that series I read before I finally gave up on it. (the author was not one of the Word Wenches.)
    I actually enjoyed having the characters from other stories re-appear in An Infamous Army. But then, the Avon’s transition from hero in These Old Shades to father in Devil’s Cub to grandfather in An Infamous Army really fit his character. I agree with Jo – much harder to see Cyn as a grandfather!

    Reply
  101. I grew up reading series. Anne Shirley, Betsy Ray,Laura Ingalls, Penny and Tippy Parish–I loved them all. When I began reading adult books, some of the first I read were series that my mother loved such as Mazo de la Roche’s Jalna books, Elizabeth Goudge’s Eliots of Damerosehay, and D. E. Stevenson’s books with all sorts of connections. While I certainly have favorite books that are stand-alones, most of the books on my keeper shelves (books I reread) and most of those I buy each month are part of a series. I like revisiting a familiar world where characters I loved in earlier books reappear. I like seeing the HEA continued.
    I do think some series go on too long. Later books can seem to be merely retellings of earlier stories. On the other hand, some of the series I love most move far beyond the usual trilogy or quartet– Jo’s Rogues and Mallorens, Mary Jo’s Fallen Angels, Loretta Chase’s Carsingtons, Eloisa James’s Desperate Duchesses, Julia Quinn’s Bridgertons, Nora Roberts’s MacGregors, Robyn Carr’s Virgin River books. And, Anne, I was one of those readers who, from the first Devil Riders book, hoped the stories of Nash and Marcus would be part of the series. What can I say? I’m a series addict.

    Reply
  102. I grew up reading series. Anne Shirley, Betsy Ray,Laura Ingalls, Penny and Tippy Parish–I loved them all. When I began reading adult books, some of the first I read were series that my mother loved such as Mazo de la Roche’s Jalna books, Elizabeth Goudge’s Eliots of Damerosehay, and D. E. Stevenson’s books with all sorts of connections. While I certainly have favorite books that are stand-alones, most of the books on my keeper shelves (books I reread) and most of those I buy each month are part of a series. I like revisiting a familiar world where characters I loved in earlier books reappear. I like seeing the HEA continued.
    I do think some series go on too long. Later books can seem to be merely retellings of earlier stories. On the other hand, some of the series I love most move far beyond the usual trilogy or quartet– Jo’s Rogues and Mallorens, Mary Jo’s Fallen Angels, Loretta Chase’s Carsingtons, Eloisa James’s Desperate Duchesses, Julia Quinn’s Bridgertons, Nora Roberts’s MacGregors, Robyn Carr’s Virgin River books. And, Anne, I was one of those readers who, from the first Devil Riders book, hoped the stories of Nash and Marcus would be part of the series. What can I say? I’m a series addict.

    Reply
  103. I grew up reading series. Anne Shirley, Betsy Ray,Laura Ingalls, Penny and Tippy Parish–I loved them all. When I began reading adult books, some of the first I read were series that my mother loved such as Mazo de la Roche’s Jalna books, Elizabeth Goudge’s Eliots of Damerosehay, and D. E. Stevenson’s books with all sorts of connections. While I certainly have favorite books that are stand-alones, most of the books on my keeper shelves (books I reread) and most of those I buy each month are part of a series. I like revisiting a familiar world where characters I loved in earlier books reappear. I like seeing the HEA continued.
    I do think some series go on too long. Later books can seem to be merely retellings of earlier stories. On the other hand, some of the series I love most move far beyond the usual trilogy or quartet– Jo’s Rogues and Mallorens, Mary Jo’s Fallen Angels, Loretta Chase’s Carsingtons, Eloisa James’s Desperate Duchesses, Julia Quinn’s Bridgertons, Nora Roberts’s MacGregors, Robyn Carr’s Virgin River books. And, Anne, I was one of those readers who, from the first Devil Riders book, hoped the stories of Nash and Marcus would be part of the series. What can I say? I’m a series addict.

    Reply
  104. I grew up reading series. Anne Shirley, Betsy Ray,Laura Ingalls, Penny and Tippy Parish–I loved them all. When I began reading adult books, some of the first I read were series that my mother loved such as Mazo de la Roche’s Jalna books, Elizabeth Goudge’s Eliots of Damerosehay, and D. E. Stevenson’s books with all sorts of connections. While I certainly have favorite books that are stand-alones, most of the books on my keeper shelves (books I reread) and most of those I buy each month are part of a series. I like revisiting a familiar world where characters I loved in earlier books reappear. I like seeing the HEA continued.
    I do think some series go on too long. Later books can seem to be merely retellings of earlier stories. On the other hand, some of the series I love most move far beyond the usual trilogy or quartet– Jo’s Rogues and Mallorens, Mary Jo’s Fallen Angels, Loretta Chase’s Carsingtons, Eloisa James’s Desperate Duchesses, Julia Quinn’s Bridgertons, Nora Roberts’s MacGregors, Robyn Carr’s Virgin River books. And, Anne, I was one of those readers who, from the first Devil Riders book, hoped the stories of Nash and Marcus would be part of the series. What can I say? I’m a series addict.

    Reply
  105. I grew up reading series. Anne Shirley, Betsy Ray,Laura Ingalls, Penny and Tippy Parish–I loved them all. When I began reading adult books, some of the first I read were series that my mother loved such as Mazo de la Roche’s Jalna books, Elizabeth Goudge’s Eliots of Damerosehay, and D. E. Stevenson’s books with all sorts of connections. While I certainly have favorite books that are stand-alones, most of the books on my keeper shelves (books I reread) and most of those I buy each month are part of a series. I like revisiting a familiar world where characters I loved in earlier books reappear. I like seeing the HEA continued.
    I do think some series go on too long. Later books can seem to be merely retellings of earlier stories. On the other hand, some of the series I love most move far beyond the usual trilogy or quartet– Jo’s Rogues and Mallorens, Mary Jo’s Fallen Angels, Loretta Chase’s Carsingtons, Eloisa James’s Desperate Duchesses, Julia Quinn’s Bridgertons, Nora Roberts’s MacGregors, Robyn Carr’s Virgin River books. And, Anne, I was one of those readers who, from the first Devil Riders book, hoped the stories of Nash and Marcus would be part of the series. What can I say? I’m a series addict.

    Reply
  106. Several thoughts:
    I can see the Bureau of Labor Statistics developing a new career category: consultant responsible for creation of continuity spreadsheets for authors. (I may even volunteer, as I’m quite good with spreadsheets and it sounds like a dream job.)
    I like series, but there are times my interest flags or I’m simply more interested in particular H/H than in others — not a criticism of the writing, just a comment on my own particular quirks. For example, I liked many of Jo’s Company of Rogue books. I’m sure, however, that I missed important details of some of the books because I was on the lookout for references to Beth and Lucien, my favorite couple in the series. It’s a bit like being at a party and unfairly (and rudely) missing what someone is saying because you’re on the lookout for that certain someone.
    As for multigenerational series, Anne Stuart’s latest trilogy is about 3 generations of a single family. And there used to be lots of women’s fiction sagas that began with the heroine as a girl or young woman and then followed her through marriage (possibly several), motherhood, and on to matriarch of several generations.

    Reply
  107. Several thoughts:
    I can see the Bureau of Labor Statistics developing a new career category: consultant responsible for creation of continuity spreadsheets for authors. (I may even volunteer, as I’m quite good with spreadsheets and it sounds like a dream job.)
    I like series, but there are times my interest flags or I’m simply more interested in particular H/H than in others — not a criticism of the writing, just a comment on my own particular quirks. For example, I liked many of Jo’s Company of Rogue books. I’m sure, however, that I missed important details of some of the books because I was on the lookout for references to Beth and Lucien, my favorite couple in the series. It’s a bit like being at a party and unfairly (and rudely) missing what someone is saying because you’re on the lookout for that certain someone.
    As for multigenerational series, Anne Stuart’s latest trilogy is about 3 generations of a single family. And there used to be lots of women’s fiction sagas that began with the heroine as a girl or young woman and then followed her through marriage (possibly several), motherhood, and on to matriarch of several generations.

    Reply
  108. Several thoughts:
    I can see the Bureau of Labor Statistics developing a new career category: consultant responsible for creation of continuity spreadsheets for authors. (I may even volunteer, as I’m quite good with spreadsheets and it sounds like a dream job.)
    I like series, but there are times my interest flags or I’m simply more interested in particular H/H than in others — not a criticism of the writing, just a comment on my own particular quirks. For example, I liked many of Jo’s Company of Rogue books. I’m sure, however, that I missed important details of some of the books because I was on the lookout for references to Beth and Lucien, my favorite couple in the series. It’s a bit like being at a party and unfairly (and rudely) missing what someone is saying because you’re on the lookout for that certain someone.
    As for multigenerational series, Anne Stuart’s latest trilogy is about 3 generations of a single family. And there used to be lots of women’s fiction sagas that began with the heroine as a girl or young woman and then followed her through marriage (possibly several), motherhood, and on to matriarch of several generations.

    Reply
  109. Several thoughts:
    I can see the Bureau of Labor Statistics developing a new career category: consultant responsible for creation of continuity spreadsheets for authors. (I may even volunteer, as I’m quite good with spreadsheets and it sounds like a dream job.)
    I like series, but there are times my interest flags or I’m simply more interested in particular H/H than in others — not a criticism of the writing, just a comment on my own particular quirks. For example, I liked many of Jo’s Company of Rogue books. I’m sure, however, that I missed important details of some of the books because I was on the lookout for references to Beth and Lucien, my favorite couple in the series. It’s a bit like being at a party and unfairly (and rudely) missing what someone is saying because you’re on the lookout for that certain someone.
    As for multigenerational series, Anne Stuart’s latest trilogy is about 3 generations of a single family. And there used to be lots of women’s fiction sagas that began with the heroine as a girl or young woman and then followed her through marriage (possibly several), motherhood, and on to matriarch of several generations.

    Reply
  110. Several thoughts:
    I can see the Bureau of Labor Statistics developing a new career category: consultant responsible for creation of continuity spreadsheets for authors. (I may even volunteer, as I’m quite good with spreadsheets and it sounds like a dream job.)
    I like series, but there are times my interest flags or I’m simply more interested in particular H/H than in others — not a criticism of the writing, just a comment on my own particular quirks. For example, I liked many of Jo’s Company of Rogue books. I’m sure, however, that I missed important details of some of the books because I was on the lookout for references to Beth and Lucien, my favorite couple in the series. It’s a bit like being at a party and unfairly (and rudely) missing what someone is saying because you’re on the lookout for that certain someone.
    As for multigenerational series, Anne Stuart’s latest trilogy is about 3 generations of a single family. And there used to be lots of women’s fiction sagas that began with the heroine as a girl or young woman and then followed her through marriage (possibly several), motherhood, and on to matriarch of several generations.

    Reply
  111. Susan, that’s interesting about Beth and Lucien. They do turn up a lot, and I think it’s because their story continues. I’m going to talk more about it in tomorrow’s blog, because this one started thoughts. Your comment started more!
    Jo

    Reply
  112. Susan, that’s interesting about Beth and Lucien. They do turn up a lot, and I think it’s because their story continues. I’m going to talk more about it in tomorrow’s blog, because this one started thoughts. Your comment started more!
    Jo

    Reply
  113. Susan, that’s interesting about Beth and Lucien. They do turn up a lot, and I think it’s because their story continues. I’m going to talk more about it in tomorrow’s blog, because this one started thoughts. Your comment started more!
    Jo

    Reply
  114. Susan, that’s interesting about Beth and Lucien. They do turn up a lot, and I think it’s because their story continues. I’m going to talk more about it in tomorrow’s blog, because this one started thoughts. Your comment started more!
    Jo

    Reply
  115. Susan, that’s interesting about Beth and Lucien. They do turn up a lot, and I think it’s because their story continues. I’m going to talk more about it in tomorrow’s blog, because this one started thoughts. Your comment started more!
    Jo

    Reply
  116. Mary Jo, I agree about the returning characters having to fit the plot.
    Theo, it’s magic, I think, when a secondary character in one book draws you in and starts haunting you to write their book. For me, that’s the best kind of series. I suspect it is the way all “fly into the mist writers” work best.

    Reply
  117. Mary Jo, I agree about the returning characters having to fit the plot.
    Theo, it’s magic, I think, when a secondary character in one book draws you in and starts haunting you to write their book. For me, that’s the best kind of series. I suspect it is the way all “fly into the mist writers” work best.

    Reply
  118. Mary Jo, I agree about the returning characters having to fit the plot.
    Theo, it’s magic, I think, when a secondary character in one book draws you in and starts haunting you to write their book. For me, that’s the best kind of series. I suspect it is the way all “fly into the mist writers” work best.

    Reply
  119. Mary Jo, I agree about the returning characters having to fit the plot.
    Theo, it’s magic, I think, when a secondary character in one book draws you in and starts haunting you to write their book. For me, that’s the best kind of series. I suspect it is the way all “fly into the mist writers” work best.

    Reply
  120. Mary Jo, I agree about the returning characters having to fit the plot.
    Theo, it’s magic, I think, when a secondary character in one book draws you in and starts haunting you to write their book. For me, that’s the best kind of series. I suspect it is the way all “fly into the mist writers” work best.

    Reply
  121. I believe Patricia (Rice) has the right of it. Series are fine as long as each book can be read separately and, preferably, out of order. The Easter egg idea is a good one as there’s really no need for the big family get-together scene and it does stop the story cold. Sorry, but it’s true. Okay, some fans may enjoy the update but, even for them, it will take some effort to mentally bring back previous books, sort everyone out and, when picking up the story again afterwards, the mood is often broken. I’d rather see the big family scene as an epilogue after the main story arch of the book is finished, to be read or not as the reader prefers.

    Reply
  122. I believe Patricia (Rice) has the right of it. Series are fine as long as each book can be read separately and, preferably, out of order. The Easter egg idea is a good one as there’s really no need for the big family get-together scene and it does stop the story cold. Sorry, but it’s true. Okay, some fans may enjoy the update but, even for them, it will take some effort to mentally bring back previous books, sort everyone out and, when picking up the story again afterwards, the mood is often broken. I’d rather see the big family scene as an epilogue after the main story arch of the book is finished, to be read or not as the reader prefers.

    Reply
  123. I believe Patricia (Rice) has the right of it. Series are fine as long as each book can be read separately and, preferably, out of order. The Easter egg idea is a good one as there’s really no need for the big family get-together scene and it does stop the story cold. Sorry, but it’s true. Okay, some fans may enjoy the update but, even for them, it will take some effort to mentally bring back previous books, sort everyone out and, when picking up the story again afterwards, the mood is often broken. I’d rather see the big family scene as an epilogue after the main story arch of the book is finished, to be read or not as the reader prefers.

    Reply
  124. I believe Patricia (Rice) has the right of it. Series are fine as long as each book can be read separately and, preferably, out of order. The Easter egg idea is a good one as there’s really no need for the big family get-together scene and it does stop the story cold. Sorry, but it’s true. Okay, some fans may enjoy the update but, even for them, it will take some effort to mentally bring back previous books, sort everyone out and, when picking up the story again afterwards, the mood is often broken. I’d rather see the big family scene as an epilogue after the main story arch of the book is finished, to be read or not as the reader prefers.

    Reply
  125. I believe Patricia (Rice) has the right of it. Series are fine as long as each book can be read separately and, preferably, out of order. The Easter egg idea is a good one as there’s really no need for the big family get-together scene and it does stop the story cold. Sorry, but it’s true. Okay, some fans may enjoy the update but, even for them, it will take some effort to mentally bring back previous books, sort everyone out and, when picking up the story again afterwards, the mood is often broken. I’d rather see the big family scene as an epilogue after the main story arch of the book is finished, to be read or not as the reader prefers.

    Reply
  126. Louisa, I think every author probably tries to make each book the best it can be, but sometimes life gets in the way. I don’t mind an occasional less-than-stellar book from an author who usually delivers. Even Heyer had a few duds.
    Julie, I also love to reread favorite series. Often when I read the latest, it sends me back to the earlier ones.
    I didn’t mind — in fact I loved seeing Justin and Leonie as parents in Devil’s Cub, it was the frail grandfather look I didn’t enjoy in Infamous Army. Imminent mortality and all that. I want my fictional heroes to live forever.

    Reply
  127. Louisa, I think every author probably tries to make each book the best it can be, but sometimes life gets in the way. I don’t mind an occasional less-than-stellar book from an author who usually delivers. Even Heyer had a few duds.
    Julie, I also love to reread favorite series. Often when I read the latest, it sends me back to the earlier ones.
    I didn’t mind — in fact I loved seeing Justin and Leonie as parents in Devil’s Cub, it was the frail grandfather look I didn’t enjoy in Infamous Army. Imminent mortality and all that. I want my fictional heroes to live forever.

    Reply
  128. Louisa, I think every author probably tries to make each book the best it can be, but sometimes life gets in the way. I don’t mind an occasional less-than-stellar book from an author who usually delivers. Even Heyer had a few duds.
    Julie, I also love to reread favorite series. Often when I read the latest, it sends me back to the earlier ones.
    I didn’t mind — in fact I loved seeing Justin and Leonie as parents in Devil’s Cub, it was the frail grandfather look I didn’t enjoy in Infamous Army. Imminent mortality and all that. I want my fictional heroes to live forever.

    Reply
  129. Louisa, I think every author probably tries to make each book the best it can be, but sometimes life gets in the way. I don’t mind an occasional less-than-stellar book from an author who usually delivers. Even Heyer had a few duds.
    Julie, I also love to reread favorite series. Often when I read the latest, it sends me back to the earlier ones.
    I didn’t mind — in fact I loved seeing Justin and Leonie as parents in Devil’s Cub, it was the frail grandfather look I didn’t enjoy in Infamous Army. Imminent mortality and all that. I want my fictional heroes to live forever.

    Reply
  130. Louisa, I think every author probably tries to make each book the best it can be, but sometimes life gets in the way. I don’t mind an occasional less-than-stellar book from an author who usually delivers. Even Heyer had a few duds.
    Julie, I also love to reread favorite series. Often when I read the latest, it sends me back to the earlier ones.
    I didn’t mind — in fact I loved seeing Justin and Leonie as parents in Devil’s Cub, it was the frail grandfather look I didn’t enjoy in Infamous Army. Imminent mortality and all that. I want my fictional heroes to live forever.

    Reply
  131. Janga, that’s so interesting. I’ve always suspected it was my childhood addiction to Enid Blyton that made me love series books — and genre fiction for that matter.
    One of the attractions is returning to the world you enjoyed so much, and to the characters you enjoyed.
    Susan/DC, I’d love a spreadsheet lesson. Actually, I might suggest it as a workshop at one of the writing conferences I attend.
    Yvonne, thanks for your views on the family scene. I know when I come across them in other books, if it fits with the story, I enjoy it, otherwise I skip over them. There really is no way a writer can please everyone, so we’ll each have to go on doing whatever feels right for the book at the time.

    Reply
  132. Janga, that’s so interesting. I’ve always suspected it was my childhood addiction to Enid Blyton that made me love series books — and genre fiction for that matter.
    One of the attractions is returning to the world you enjoyed so much, and to the characters you enjoyed.
    Susan/DC, I’d love a spreadsheet lesson. Actually, I might suggest it as a workshop at one of the writing conferences I attend.
    Yvonne, thanks for your views on the family scene. I know when I come across them in other books, if it fits with the story, I enjoy it, otherwise I skip over them. There really is no way a writer can please everyone, so we’ll each have to go on doing whatever feels right for the book at the time.

    Reply
  133. Janga, that’s so interesting. I’ve always suspected it was my childhood addiction to Enid Blyton that made me love series books — and genre fiction for that matter.
    One of the attractions is returning to the world you enjoyed so much, and to the characters you enjoyed.
    Susan/DC, I’d love a spreadsheet lesson. Actually, I might suggest it as a workshop at one of the writing conferences I attend.
    Yvonne, thanks for your views on the family scene. I know when I come across them in other books, if it fits with the story, I enjoy it, otherwise I skip over them. There really is no way a writer can please everyone, so we’ll each have to go on doing whatever feels right for the book at the time.

    Reply
  134. Janga, that’s so interesting. I’ve always suspected it was my childhood addiction to Enid Blyton that made me love series books — and genre fiction for that matter.
    One of the attractions is returning to the world you enjoyed so much, and to the characters you enjoyed.
    Susan/DC, I’d love a spreadsheet lesson. Actually, I might suggest it as a workshop at one of the writing conferences I attend.
    Yvonne, thanks for your views on the family scene. I know when I come across them in other books, if it fits with the story, I enjoy it, otherwise I skip over them. There really is no way a writer can please everyone, so we’ll each have to go on doing whatever feels right for the book at the time.

    Reply
  135. Janga, that’s so interesting. I’ve always suspected it was my childhood addiction to Enid Blyton that made me love series books — and genre fiction for that matter.
    One of the attractions is returning to the world you enjoyed so much, and to the characters you enjoyed.
    Susan/DC, I’d love a spreadsheet lesson. Actually, I might suggest it as a workshop at one of the writing conferences I attend.
    Yvonne, thanks for your views on the family scene. I know when I come across them in other books, if it fits with the story, I enjoy it, otherwise I skip over them. There really is no way a writer can please everyone, so we’ll each have to go on doing whatever feels right for the book at the time.

    Reply
  136. There is nothing more satisfying than reading a good book and finding that there are 20 more chances to visit the characters again! That happened to me with Jo’s Rogues. I had read Devilish and found out it was the last in a series and the first two books were out of print so I bought “An Arranged Marriage” and then worked my way through the series systematically. The same is true of Anne’s two series, Mary Balogh’s and Stephanie Lauren’s many.
    I too cut my teeth on Enid Blyton and like Anne, it fostered a love of continuity.
    I adored re-visting the aging dukes in Georgette Heyer’s only series,especially Justin as a frail old man in “The Devil’s Cub”.
    So please keep connecting books and weaving those clever sub plots. BUT… put them out a little faster please, I find myself waiting very impatiently for the next Anne or Jo so I can find out who’s done what in the past few months!

    Reply
  137. There is nothing more satisfying than reading a good book and finding that there are 20 more chances to visit the characters again! That happened to me with Jo’s Rogues. I had read Devilish and found out it was the last in a series and the first two books were out of print so I bought “An Arranged Marriage” and then worked my way through the series systematically. The same is true of Anne’s two series, Mary Balogh’s and Stephanie Lauren’s many.
    I too cut my teeth on Enid Blyton and like Anne, it fostered a love of continuity.
    I adored re-visting the aging dukes in Georgette Heyer’s only series,especially Justin as a frail old man in “The Devil’s Cub”.
    So please keep connecting books and weaving those clever sub plots. BUT… put them out a little faster please, I find myself waiting very impatiently for the next Anne or Jo so I can find out who’s done what in the past few months!

    Reply
  138. There is nothing more satisfying than reading a good book and finding that there are 20 more chances to visit the characters again! That happened to me with Jo’s Rogues. I had read Devilish and found out it was the last in a series and the first two books were out of print so I bought “An Arranged Marriage” and then worked my way through the series systematically. The same is true of Anne’s two series, Mary Balogh’s and Stephanie Lauren’s many.
    I too cut my teeth on Enid Blyton and like Anne, it fostered a love of continuity.
    I adored re-visting the aging dukes in Georgette Heyer’s only series,especially Justin as a frail old man in “The Devil’s Cub”.
    So please keep connecting books and weaving those clever sub plots. BUT… put them out a little faster please, I find myself waiting very impatiently for the next Anne or Jo so I can find out who’s done what in the past few months!

    Reply
  139. There is nothing more satisfying than reading a good book and finding that there are 20 more chances to visit the characters again! That happened to me with Jo’s Rogues. I had read Devilish and found out it was the last in a series and the first two books were out of print so I bought “An Arranged Marriage” and then worked my way through the series systematically. The same is true of Anne’s two series, Mary Balogh’s and Stephanie Lauren’s many.
    I too cut my teeth on Enid Blyton and like Anne, it fostered a love of continuity.
    I adored re-visting the aging dukes in Georgette Heyer’s only series,especially Justin as a frail old man in “The Devil’s Cub”.
    So please keep connecting books and weaving those clever sub plots. BUT… put them out a little faster please, I find myself waiting very impatiently for the next Anne or Jo so I can find out who’s done what in the past few months!

    Reply
  140. There is nothing more satisfying than reading a good book and finding that there are 20 more chances to visit the characters again! That happened to me with Jo’s Rogues. I had read Devilish and found out it was the last in a series and the first two books were out of print so I bought “An Arranged Marriage” and then worked my way through the series systematically. The same is true of Anne’s two series, Mary Balogh’s and Stephanie Lauren’s many.
    I too cut my teeth on Enid Blyton and like Anne, it fostered a love of continuity.
    I adored re-visting the aging dukes in Georgette Heyer’s only series,especially Justin as a frail old man in “The Devil’s Cub”.
    So please keep connecting books and weaving those clever sub plots. BUT… put them out a little faster please, I find myself waiting very impatiently for the next Anne or Jo so I can find out who’s done what in the past few months!

    Reply
  141. You know, Susan/DC, I’m with Anne! You should do a spreadsheet lesson. Or three. I still make most of my forms like that in Word. It would be nice to use the program actually designed for it.
    *how’s that for a really subtle hint?*
    ;o)

    Reply
  142. You know, Susan/DC, I’m with Anne! You should do a spreadsheet lesson. Or three. I still make most of my forms like that in Word. It would be nice to use the program actually designed for it.
    *how’s that for a really subtle hint?*
    ;o)

    Reply
  143. You know, Susan/DC, I’m with Anne! You should do a spreadsheet lesson. Or three. I still make most of my forms like that in Word. It would be nice to use the program actually designed for it.
    *how’s that for a really subtle hint?*
    ;o)

    Reply
  144. You know, Susan/DC, I’m with Anne! You should do a spreadsheet lesson. Or three. I still make most of my forms like that in Word. It would be nice to use the program actually designed for it.
    *how’s that for a really subtle hint?*
    ;o)

    Reply
  145. You know, Susan/DC, I’m with Anne! You should do a spreadsheet lesson. Or three. I still make most of my forms like that in Word. It would be nice to use the program actually designed for it.
    *how’s that for a really subtle hint?*
    ;o)

    Reply
  146. If anyone wants to e-mail me about the kind of information they want to have in a spreadsheet, please feel free to do so. Let me know what version of Excel (assuming that is your spreadsheet software, as Microsoft seems to have cornered the market) you have, as that makes a difference. I might not be able to help with the spreadsheet, but I find that sometimes just talking about an issue with someone else helps clarify, so perhaps you will be able to help yourself.
    My e-mail is citylover202 AT aol DOT com.

    Reply
  147. If anyone wants to e-mail me about the kind of information they want to have in a spreadsheet, please feel free to do so. Let me know what version of Excel (assuming that is your spreadsheet software, as Microsoft seems to have cornered the market) you have, as that makes a difference. I might not be able to help with the spreadsheet, but I find that sometimes just talking about an issue with someone else helps clarify, so perhaps you will be able to help yourself.
    My e-mail is citylover202 AT aol DOT com.

    Reply
  148. If anyone wants to e-mail me about the kind of information they want to have in a spreadsheet, please feel free to do so. Let me know what version of Excel (assuming that is your spreadsheet software, as Microsoft seems to have cornered the market) you have, as that makes a difference. I might not be able to help with the spreadsheet, but I find that sometimes just talking about an issue with someone else helps clarify, so perhaps you will be able to help yourself.
    My e-mail is citylover202 AT aol DOT com.

    Reply
  149. If anyone wants to e-mail me about the kind of information they want to have in a spreadsheet, please feel free to do so. Let me know what version of Excel (assuming that is your spreadsheet software, as Microsoft seems to have cornered the market) you have, as that makes a difference. I might not be able to help with the spreadsheet, but I find that sometimes just talking about an issue with someone else helps clarify, so perhaps you will be able to help yourself.
    My e-mail is citylover202 AT aol DOT com.

    Reply
  150. If anyone wants to e-mail me about the kind of information they want to have in a spreadsheet, please feel free to do so. Let me know what version of Excel (assuming that is your spreadsheet software, as Microsoft seems to have cornered the market) you have, as that makes a difference. I might not be able to help with the spreadsheet, but I find that sometimes just talking about an issue with someone else helps clarify, so perhaps you will be able to help yourself.
    My e-mail is citylover202 AT aol DOT com.

    Reply

Leave a Comment