I started WMG Publishing‘s Teams in Fiction online workshop last week, and had a eureka moment!
I’m planning on writing a series set in the same world as my short story “The City Trees,” my soon-to-be-released novel Entangled by Midsummer, and The Lady of Winter, which is the story I talked about outlining in my last post. This series will contain five novels, each with a different protagonist – but they’ll all be related.
Having a different main character in each novel isn’t out of the ordinary, but when I’ve thought about the series – which is not anywhere close to being outlined, it’s just kind of a jumble in my head past the start of the second book – I’ve felt that there was something missing. Which makes total sense since I haven’t had the time to really think though everything. 🙂 Occasionally I’ll jot down notes, but that’s all I can fit in at the moment.
Right now the plan is to have the characters be loosely related – for example Giulia, the protagonist in “The City Trees,” has a cousin who’s a side character in book 1. But in watching one of the videos from the Teams class I realized that the piece I’ve felt was lacking is how the characters tie in with each other across the five books.
To explain what a ‘team’ is, think of a television show that you like and how there’s one central character and other side/helper characters. One of my favorite examples of a team that’s put together fantastically well is in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. This show is based off a series of books by Kerry Greenwood. A while back I bought the first few books just to study how she pulled off creating such a strong and interesting team so quickly.
In my series, my plan was to have a ‘team’ in each book, but what I now think I need to add is a way to connect those teams, or at least some of their members, across the entire series. That way it will tie all of the stories together, and should make the series as a whole stronger.
I have no idea how to accomplish this, of course. 🙂 I’ve got most of book 1 worked out, and I’ve written the first seven chapters, but I only have a rough sketch for the start of book 2, and the tiniest sliver of a plan for books 3-5. So there’s clearly quite a bit left to do! But now I have a better sense of what I want to accomplish, so that’s going to help when I get back to this project.
And don’t hold your breath waiting for these novels to come out… I want to have at least a first draft completed for all five books before publishing the first one. That way I won’t be on book 4 and thing OMG, why didn’t I do X in book 1?!?
What I will continue to do is write shorter related stories, like “The City Trees,” or stories in the same world that are complete in themselves, like The Lady of Winter. So there will be little bits available over the next year. 🙂