Tag Archives: series

Getting Serious…

 

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Dimension Norraena: Discovery has been published. It is the second book of the trilogy.  I love how it looks and I’m happy with the over-all improvement in my writing which among other refinements, is shorter as a result of my toning down my verbosity. It’s really easy when you are writing the way you talk, to add a lot of unnecessary words to your sentences. The feedback I’ve had on the first book in the series has not been a complaint about length (or actually anything else) however realization about your prospective readers comes with some surprises.

I gave books to a number of friends and family. I mentioned off hand that if they felt like writing a review or making some comments to please do so on Amazon. People who were close to me I actually asked to write a review. It was my understanding that you need a huge amount of reviews for Amazon to take any note of you at all. I asked one of my brothers and my son if they wanted to read my accomplishment . The first question from both was: “How many pages does it have?” Their responses were less than exciting. When I think of how many books I gave to people who were really positive about my writing and often very encouraging, and how few I think have actually read it, or not bothered to write a review-it’s disappointing.

It takes a lot of effort, energy and time to write a book. If you are not doing it for yourself as well, you may not get the acknowledgment, praise, appreciation or just enjoyment that you hoped for.
On the positive side- good reviews are refreshing and that brings me to my blog at this point on promotion. Ay yi yi…

I’ve heard so many authors talk about hating to promote- just wanting to write. You have to love the idea, I think, to get some mileage on your sales chart. It’s difficult because the product is in essence about selling yourself. You have to get others to believe that what you have to say is either of value to them or of interest. And let’s face it- there’s a world full of other authors saying the same thing about their work. Of course your slant on whatever you are offering is unique. So it is worthy of promoting. It’s still a chore, isn’t it? Which brings me to my long delay in doing it myself.

In the reviews, both written and given to me verbally, I frequently heard, “When will the next one be out?” I gave them a possible time frame, but I was off by three or more. It dawned on me that it was a long time to have to remember what happened before, once the new book was available. I realized that having a closer target date for the last book in the trilogy might be my best time to really start promoting. In fact I immediately began thinking about packaging the three books to promote together at one time. Granted some people don’t buy three books at a time of a book that has sold less than a million copies. ;{) So- I’m ready to get going. I’ve taken a class or two on ways to do this. I’m not just jumping off a bridge into frigid water. Given that writing here a whole lot more often, and figuring out how to get all the widgets working to get more exposure is one of the first things I need to attend to. . . well. . . get ready.
I’m holding myself accountable.

Writing a Trilogy

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The second book in the Dimension Norræna trilogy is in print. Today is the first day that I am starting to put my promotion plans into action. Step 1 involves updating my blog, the website, Facebook pages and starting the Amazon adventure. At the same time I keep writing every morning and adding chapters to the third book.

I thought since I followed the 90 Day Novel outline for the first and mostly for second book that I’d do it that way for the third. Not so easy. Some of the suggestions and advice I have come across in writing the last book bear taking a look at.

  1. Keep your characters traits the same through all three books. Sounds easy, but it’s not difficult to put a character in a scene, behaving a certain way that just isn’t a part of the character’s nature. I haven’t had a problem with that, although my main character, the hero so to speak, is on a learning curve so the arc of the story requires her to develop abilities and skills that she never had to begin with.
  2. Know your ending. That’s a big one for me because I didn’t have a clue about my ending in either of the first two books and now in chapter 27 or so, I finally am glimpsing final possibilities for book 3.
  3. Keeping a bible of your series. I hadn’t heard of this until recently (apparently lots of others have). So as a novice I have blithely proceeded without doing this. But I think it’s a great idea. I might do it now. (Okay a little late in the game) but it’s a good way to learn. A series bible is used to keep track of your characters. Their ages, birthdays, appearances, wants and fears, strengths and weaknesses, habits, favorite food, physical aspects, etc. It’s so time consuming to have to scan pages looking back for some information you can’t remember like what color eyes your character had and now you need that or in my case remember the spelling of a foreign name or place. A much easier way is to fact-check your series bible while doing your copy-edits.
  4. In the first book, which has its own beginning, middle and ending, you are building the start of the total story. Each book after has to build bigger. The final book needs to have something grander, larger, more life changing than what the first story was about. Since I don’t have the ending complete in my mind, I have found it more difficult to be satisfied with the ideas I’ve come up with. Are they big enough? Splashy enough? I’m honing in on what will happen, but it’s definitely not fine-tuned yet.
  5. Although Book 2 is a bridge to the last book, and springs from the first book, it can’t be all set-up and planning for the third book. It needs some power of its own. The hero might have a dark time, some suffering, some points of no return— even if he, himself is unaware that this is what is happening. He has to overcome what’s in his way. This sets up the final book more effectively, prepares the reader to want to know what is yet to come.
  6. Dangling threads: Your whole book might be done and you love it, think you’ve covered all the bases when your editor says: “You need to probably consider answering this thread you have that you did nothing with. You can’t just tease the reader and then not follow through.” Now you have to go back and re-write- maybe change aspects of your plot or find a way to paint yourself out of that pocket or eliminate the thread completely and re-write what you thought was a done deal.
  7. You’re coming to the conclusion of the entire story in the third book. Adding a lot of new characters, or new sub-plots makes the story more complicated. If you have secrets, hopefully they were alluded to—thrown in the first two books so that they lead into the answers in the third and final book. Technically, the word is if you did the first two books right everything is in place to tie up the story in book 3. Then again if you have a twist or more than one, more detail may be required. But the reality is, this is the conclusion and you are wrapping things up, putting the book to bed. Of course— like me— you might have crazy thoughts like what if this becomes a longer series. Ummm—maybe not.

When this is all done and I can make a set out of the three books, I’ll be thrilled. And I plan to celebrate—have a little party, but not without some regrets that it is done—that I have to leave my friends and their world. That will be a little sad. Guess I better start thinking about what I want to write next.

SERIES CONSIDERATIONS

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Writing a series brought in a whole new set of questions as I began the second book and  they continue with the third. The first thought that came to mind for me was how to provide back story for readers who started with the second book and not bore to death those who read in consecutive order. What’s too little and what’s too much? I knew the second book had to stand alone by itself, but there had to be balance between the two with regard to the back story. Finding ways to accomplish this through the words of characters rather than telling the reader this information is a challenge that had to be observed. Having my critique group read it helped, as their questions for clarity, not always remembering info from the first book, made me re-write sections in the second book.

In the third book — writing now — I find that I’m including characters from the first book, that I didn’t use in the second. My feelings are that it will pull all three books together even more. Then again, I was very tempted to leave the same characters out of the third that I left out in the second, but this was not something that would work for my story line. In my story the antagonist changes. He’s still in book 2, but incapacitated, so a new antagonist joins a weaker one established at the end of the first book. In book 3, well – we’ll see how that develops.

Checking facts: I couldn’t remember everything I researched and used especially cities or names from the other dimension. At times I thought I’d mentioned something previously and hadn’t or did and guessed I didn’t. So checking back to be sure is must. In my case, using a different language for the Norraenders caused me to memorize a number of the words and I found myself using them more in the second book requiring me to add translations indirectly. I added a glossary to both the first and second books which helped to save time when I was stumped on spelling or meaning in the second book.

Timeframe: It’s difficult, I found, to manage the scale of time. How many days does it cover or is it hours? My books encompass a year. I had to make sure the seasons, holidays, weather worked as Skye moved between the dimensions. She had restraints to protect her health imposed on her as well. This meant watching the days and dates closely. Did the action Skye was experiencing match the time frame for the action with the other characters? This also actually added to my story as I was able to use holidays in the plot. But if instead of a trilogy, this became a longer series, I’d have to consider time even more. Maybe time would barely be alluded to. Because this series is a thriller, there is always a need to keep the pace going. Consequently each ending has to spur the reader on in a ticking clock mode to get into the next book. Time is a variable that one needs to keep a watch on. ;{)

Finally there is the promotional question of book covers once the trilogy is completed. One school of thought is to match them – have similar colors, slightly different design or even the same. I think this is the prevailing thought, however my covers are different from one another. About the only similarity is greenery. Maybe when packaged together I’ll opt for redoing the covers. I haven’t looked into branding yet. At some point I’ll likely need to consider a strategy for that, too.

I know there’s a lot more to consider and I’m learning as I go. I’m just getting started on promotion and advertising. As I continue with book 3 my focus on the above and more that I learn will be of paramount importance.